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Bengals join Packers, Colts with sellout preventing blackouts

Bloomberg News
January 3, 2014
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All four of the National Football League’s wild-card playoff games will be televised in their host team’s local market after corporate support helped ensure sellouts.

The Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals, each who received a deadline extension to sell out their game and avoid a blackout that would have been mandated by NFL rules, sold all of their tickets with help from corporate sponsors.

Meijer Inc., a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based family-owned retailer, agreed to buy the remaining 1,200 tickets to Saturday’s National Football League playoff game between the Colts and Kansas City Chiefs at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and distribute them to local military families, the team said.

The Packers, who earned the right to host a home playoff game with a come-from-behind win on the last day of the regular season, will have a sellout for its Lambeau Field game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday after fans and a group of corporate partners, led by Green Bay-based Associated Banc-Corp and including local Fox TV affiliates who will show the game, bought the remaining tickets.

“A unique season and other factors contributed to having tickets available, but with the support of our fans and partners, we’re looking forward to a great atmosphere,” Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said in a prepared statement.

Military benefit

After Kroger Co. purchased a “large quantity of tickets,” also to be given to military families, “in an effort to assist in reaching a sellout” for the Bengals’ game against the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, the team completed the task Friday with support from Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co.’s Tide, Gillette, CoverGirl and Bounty brands. Those tickets also will be given to military families, the Bengals said in a news release.

The NFL on Thursday gave the teams an extension to its rule that allows for a blackout in local television markets if games aren’t sold out 72 hours before kickoff. The Philadelphia Eagles’ game Saturday against the New Orleans Saints was the lone first-round matchup sold out.

“We had a Week 17 in which 13 of 16 games had implications on teams making the playoffs,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said by phone Thursday. “Part of the excitement of the NFL is not knowing who’s going to the playoffs. It’s not as if teams knew weeks and months prior and had fans making plans.”

Last blackout

The NFL hasn’t had a postseason game blacked out since Jan. 10, 2002, when the Miami Dolphins hosted the Baltimore Ravens in the opening round. Two regular-season games weren’t shown locally in 2013.

The Bengals, who went 8-0 at home this season in winning the American Football Conference’s North Division title, said Thursday they had more than 7,000 tickets left.

The Colts had received an automatic 24-hour extension for ticket sales because of the New Year’s Day holiday. After getting a second extension from the NFL, the AFC South-champion Colts said yesterday they had fewer than 3,500 tickets available ranging in price from $56 to $155.

“We’re pleased to offer these!” Meijer said on Twitter about buying the remaining Colts tickets. “We understand how important it is to support the communities where our customers & team work and live.”

In Green Bay, the gametime temperature is forecast to be around 2 degrees Fahrenheit (-16 Celsius), with a chance of it being as low as -13 Fahrenheit. In a statement Friday afternoon, the team said Fox affiliates WITI in Milwaukee, WLUK in Green Bay and WFXS in Wausau were among the purchasers of tickets.

The NFL last month said it would strongly oppose a proposal by U.S. regulators to eliminate the blackout rule, which was created almost 40 years ago to promote attendance at games. The league said the rule is important in supporting NFL stadiums and the ability of teams to sell tickets.

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  1. Cramer agrees...says don't buy it and sell it if you own it! Their "pay to play" cost is this issue. As long as they charge customers, they never will attain the critical mass needed to be a successful on company...Jim Cramer quote.

  2. My responses to some of the comments would include the following: 1. Our offer which included the forgiveness of debt (this is an immediate forgiveness and is not "spread over many years")represents debt that due to a reduction of interest rates in the economy arguably represents consideration together with the cash component of our offer that exceeds the $2.1 million apparently offered by another party. 2. The previous $2.1 million cash offer that was turned down by the CRC would have netted the CRC substantially less than $2.1 million. As a result even in hindsight the CRC was wise in turning down that offer. 3. With regard to "concerned Carmelite's" discussion of the previous financing Pedcor gave up $16.5 million in City debt in addition to the conveyance of the garage (appraised at $13 million)in exchange for the $22.5 million cash and debt obligations. The local media never discussed the $16.5 million in debt that we gave up which would show that we gave $29.5 million in value for the $23.5 million. 4.Pedcor would have been much happier if Brian was still operating his Deli and only made this offer as we believe that we can redevelop the building into something that will be better for the City and City Center where both Pedcor the citizens of Carmel have a large investment. Bruce Cordingley, President, Pedcor

  3. I've been looking for news on Corner Bakery, too, but there doesn't seem to be any info out there. I prefer them over Panera and Paradise so can't wait to see where they'll be!

  4. WGN actually is two channels: 1. WGN Chicago, seen only in Chicago (and parts of Canada) - this station is one of the flagship CW affiliates. 2. WGN America - a nationwide cable channel that doesn't carry any CW programming, and doesn't have local affiliates. (In addition, as WGN is owned by Tribune, just like WTTV, WTTK, and WXIN, I can't imagine they would do anything to help WISH.) In Indianapolis, CW programming is already seen on WTTV 4 and WTTK 29, and when CBS takes over those stations' main channels, the CW will move to a sub channel, such as 4.2 or 4.3 and 29.2 or 29.3. TBS is only a cable channel these days and does not affiliate with local stations. WISH could move the MyNetwork affiliation from WNDY 23 to WISH 8, but I am beginning to think they may prefer to put together their own lineup of syndicated programming instead. While much of it would be "reruns" from broadcast or cable, that's pretty much what the MyNetwork does these days anyway. So since WISH has the choice, they may want to customize their lineup by choosing programs that they feel will garner better ratings in this market.

  5. The Pedcor debt is from the CRC paying ~$23M for the Pedcor's parking garage at City Center that is apprased at $13M. Why did we pay over the top money for a private businesses parking? What did we get out of it? Pedcor got free parking for their apartment and business tenants. Pedcor now gets another building for free that taxpayers have ~$3M tied up in. This is NOT a win win for taxpayers. It is just a win for Pedcor who contributes heavily to the Friends of Jim Brainard. The campaign reports are on the Hamilton County website. http://www2.hamiltoncounty.in.gov/publicdocs/Campaign%20Finance%20Images/defaultfiles.asp?ARG1=Campaign Finance Images&ARG2=/Brainard, Jim

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