Bolts Blackout in Tough Times

Chargers fans worry of more local TV blackouts as games haven't sold out.

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Linebacker Shawne Merriman #56 of the San Diego Chargers paces in the tunnel as he waits to be introduced to the crowd before the game against the Seattle Seahawks on August 15, 2009 at Qualcomm Stadium.

    As Chargers fans poured into Qualcomm Stadium they had mixed feelings about being the only ones to see the preseason game live.

    "I feel fortunate, but you know, I paid a lot of money to go see it," Orange County resident Carol Carter said.

    "The city, the Chargers need to come up with some kind of deal because the fans want to get out here. I hear it all over San Diego, because we have the team to do it."  Marcello Mundo said.

    The one thing stopping him from buying more tickets was the price.

    The NFL requires games to be sold out 72 hours before kickoff to be aired on local TV.  The Chargers have sold out 39 straight regular-season and postseason games.

    Bolts Blackout in Tough Times

    [DGO] Bolts Blackout in Tough Times
    It could be a dark season for cash strapped Chargers fans.

    The Chargers organization said nine upcoming home games have not sold out because of the difficult economy.  Jim Steeg, the Chargers' Chief Operating Officer said the team is doing what it can to sell more tickets. 

    "We've made our payment terms more flexible. We initiated our individual game sale earlier than in the past," Steeg said.

    The organization is also sending email blasts and trying to attract fans from Orange County and Los Angeles.

    Outside the stadium there was disappointment. Chargers fan Chris Simons went to Players Bar to watch them but found out it had been blacked out. 

    "They make it difficult for fans to watch the game, I mean, what are you gonna do?" he said.

    Simons predicts that some home games will be blacked out this year. He expressed interest in going to Qualcomm Stadium to watch the games live, but has cheaper alternatives. 

    "I'm from Orange County originally. So what's to stop me from going home to go watch the game, not spend money at a bar, not put any money back into the local economy because I could drive an hour and a half," he said.

    LaDainian Tomlinson played in an exhibition game for the first time since 2005, carrying four times for 10 yards and catching one pass from Philip Rivers for 8 yards in the Chargers' 20-14 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday night.

    After two series Tomlinson was back on the sideline, where he normally can be found during exhibition games.

    The Seahawks, playing their first game under coach Jim Mora, took advantage of three straight turnovers by Chargers third-string quarterback Charlie Whitehurst in the second half to take control of what had been a ho-hum game. Whitehurst threw two interceptions and lost a fumble, leading to 10 points for Seattle.