At around 5:40pm PT yesterday, the San Diego Chargers were granted a 24-hour extension by the NFL to sell the 9,000 or so tickets that remain for Monday night's game against the Indianapolis Colts to avoid a local television blackout.
The Chargers have never been blacked out after receiving the 24-hour extension from the league. I have theorized in the past, and still believe, that these extensions are just a way to sell a few more tickets, with an agreement in place between the league and the Chargers that any tickets remaining at the end of the period will simply be purchased by the team itself.
Many local media members have been warning that this game is going to be blacked out, and even said that 9,000 tickets was going to be too large of a number for the NFL to grant the 24-hour extension (because, seriously, how are they going to sell 9,000 tickets in a single day?). This has simply been the team, sending out scary information through the media to try to scare as many fans into buying tickets as possible to lower their own overhead when they agree to buy whatever is left.
Expect word around 5:40pm PT tonight that the team, along with a few local sponsors and maybe even ESPN, have purchased the remaining tickets to avoid the blackout (as I told you would happen).
Some fans were quick to point out that the rules for a local TV blackout are different for primetime games, and that Los Angeles is not part of the Chargers territory. Only San Diego County would be affected by the blackout, so it doesn't really fall on the advertisers to protect their investment as it falls on the team itself to avoid embarrassment. A blackout on Monday would be the first Monday Night Football game to be blacked out in thirteen years.
The Chargers don't want to be known as the team that has upset their fans to the point of a primetime blackout, even if it's true. Also, the Chargers had their chance to sacrifice some money for the sake of the fanbase, but passed when they decided to keep their sell out percentage at 100%. Other teams, such as the Oakland Raiders, accepted less money from revenue sharing in exchange for lowering their sell out percentage to 85%, making it easier for fans in the bay area to watch every home Raiders game. After being routed by the hated Raiders team last week, do you really think the Chargers want to start the conversation of why the Raiders sacrificed money for the sake of their fans and the Chargers did not?
A team buyout of tickets is coming. The game will not be blacked out. We can stop worrying about being labeled as the worst fanbase in football. (No, none of this is fact, but it is the obvious ending to this "blackout scare".)