MNF Extends Blackout-Free Streak….Kinda

There hasn't been a local blackout of a Monday Night Football game since 1999, and that wasn't about to change just because the people of San Diego would much rather sit on the beach than watch Mike McCoy try to figure out this whole head coaching thing. Though the fan support wasn't enough to sell out the tickets, even against the upstart Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning Jr, a group of local advertisers and some clever scheming managed to sell enough cheap tickets to ensure the game wouldn't be blacked-out locally.

This raises a number of questions, mainly: If sponsors are allowed to buy up to 9,000 tickets at 34 cents on the dollar, why can't fans? It's safe to assume many of the advertisers paid for their slots in part to attract the local market, so it makes sense that they'd pony up the extra (discounted) cash to ensure their ads were still seen in San Diego, essentially operating on the model local newspapers run (little-to-no cost with ad revenues picking up the tab).

What isn't clear is whether that is a sustainable business model. One would imagine the NFL and advertisers would say it's no, but we do know a few things for sure. One, the NFL ain't struggling for money. Two, prices to attend games keeps rising, from tickets to parking. In the HD era combined with a slow economy, this squeeze is keeping some fans at home. Charging more to advertisers, or selling off discounted tickets when they're clearly worth more to the team than the fans, might be a way to bring them back.

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