Week 3 of the NFL season features a pair of games between undefeated teams. One of those games will be played in San Diego, but it's not the one that can be seen in San Diego because of the blackout.
The game between Chargers and Falcons at Qualcomm Stadium will be blacked out on Sunday. Per NFL policy, games not sold out 72 hours before kickoff will not be seen in local markets. The Chargers are about 9,200 tickets short of a sellout.
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Some argue the Chargers were fighting a tough battle get fans to buy tickets to this game. The Falcons aren’t a marquee team and are from the NFC. And the team is 2–0, but still hasn’t proven itself to fans after a down 2011 season.
In July, the NFL said it was giving teams the option to relax blackout rules, allowing teams lowering the threshold to 85 percent of tickets sold.
“Lowering the benchmark to 85 percent would substantially impact our ticket revenues. A team like the Chargers, whose revenues are already limited by an older, antiquated stadium, can’t afford to lose such an import revenue stream,” Chargers spokesman Bill Johnson tells NBC 7 San Diego.
Johnston says the deal with the league would have cost the team a percentage of ticket revenues in every game, sold out or not.
For the Falcons game, the Bolts have sold about 87 percent of the seats at the Q. Under the relaxed blackout rules the game could have been televised.
However, all 32 NFL franchises had to make a decision on whether or not they'd utilize the new rule before the season started. Only three of them did: Oakland, Tampa Bay and Miami.
Everyone else, Chargers included, said they'll keep the longstanding sellout policy in place. Johnston says the NFL’s blackout policy works and is proven to help sell tickets.
Johnson also points out ticket price has been flat for five years in a row, except for the prices the team lowered on 6,500 seats prior to the 2011 season.
Unfortunately, that’s little consolation to the Chargers faithful unable to be at Qualcomm Stadium Sunday afternoon.