(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
The Chargers announced today that they will need to sell 7,200 tickets in order to avoid a local TV blackout for Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins. Last week the Chargers sold 4,600 tickets in a similar timespan in order to avoid a blackout. Not to be too much of a pessimist, but that doesn't sound promising. This should be the last one of these crises for a while, since the Chargers don't have another home game until November 6. Even that game most likely won't bring another one of these posts since that's the game against the defending NFL champion Packers and has been a hot ticket for a while. Nevertheless, that's no solace this week to the many Chargers fans who can't afford to help out with ticket sales week in and week out, plus all the businesses who gain revenue from Chargers viewers.
Here's the info I gave last week about local TV blackouts. The NFL defines a team's market area as "local" if it is within a 75-mile radius of the team's home stadium. Therefore, a blackout affects any market where the terrestrial broadcast signal of an affiliate station - under normal conditions - penetrates into the 75-mile radius. That means that most of Southern California gets blacked for Chargers games since even LA affiliates have a broadcast range that penetrates into that 75 miles radius. That includes trying to use DirecTV's Sunday Ticket package. If you live in San Diego and think you can avoid the blackout by driving less than 4 or so hours in a direction, you are probably wrong. Well, unless the place you are driving is the stadium and you plan to belatedly pick up a ticket.