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Another Local TV Blackout Looms

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The Chargers announced today that they received a 24 hour extensions to sell the remaining 3,900 tickets needed to avoid a blackout for Sunday's game against the Chiefs. It was 2 days ago that the number of tickets needed to be sold stood at 4,600. If the Chargers only sold 700 tickets in 2 days, then what chance do they have to sell the remaining 3,900 in 24 hours? Not a very good one, I would guess.

When one of these blackouts happens there are always plenty of questions about who is affected. 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. If you live in San Diego and think you can avoid the blackout by driving less than 3 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.

Some teams have spent some of their own money to avoid these blackouts. This Miami Herald article talks about the Dolphins recently doing just that. Most believe that the Chargers ownership would not do this and prefer to leave it up to the fan base as to whether or not the game gets shown on local television.