NFL Tickets: San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders Blacked Out

Elliott PohnlFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2010

NFL Tickets: San Diego Chargers, Oakland Raiders Blacked Out

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    NFL blackouts are rolling in again this season, with both the Chargers and Raiders blacked out in home markets week two.

    After 22 blackouts in 2009, rising ticket prices and the lure of staying home to watch the game in High-Definition coupled with dismal performance of several teams again has fans thinking twice about spending money on NFL tickets this year.

    It's nothing new for the Raiders, who will have Sunday's game against the Rams blacked out. Dating back to last season, Oakland has now had eight-consecutive home games blacked out in the local market.

    Elsewhere, the Chargers home-opener against the Lions won't be televised in the San Diego market.

    The Lions called an audible to avoid a blackout, taking advantage of a 24-hour ticket sales extension to sell 2,000 remaining tickets.

    Here's a look at 10 NFL teams on the cusp of dealing with blackouts throughout the 2010 season.

On the Radar

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    Cincinnati Bengals: Despite the arrival of another star attraction at wide receiver and an impressive 53-straight game sellout streak, the Bengals told USA Today they cannot completely rule out a blackout this season.  In fact, they barely avoided it for Sunday's home-opener against the Ravens.

    Kansas City Chiefs: Another unlikely but possible candidate for blackouts, the Chiefs, sold out renovated Arrowhead Stadium Monday night and dazzled the home crowd. Kansas City is a town of football fanatics and the this year's team is likely to be much better than last year's squad. After just one blackout last season, the Chiefs are hoping to avoid any in 2010.

No. 10: Cleveland Browns

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    Amazingly, Cleveland's mediocre-to-bad teams and a struggling economy haven't produced even a single blackout since 1995. 

    In an effort to avoid a blackout, the Browns were one of the few NFL teams who didn't raise ticket prices this offseason.

    Another season of sub-par results might end the string of televised games later in the season.

No. 9: Arizona Cardinals

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    The Cardinals are extremely close to being sold out, but an underwhelming performance could lead to some blackouts as life after Kurt Warner begins.

    In an effort to avoid blackouts, the Cardinals lowered prices even further on 2,300 of the cheapest seats at University of Phoenix Stadium.

    The move appears to have worked.

No. 8: Carolina Panthers

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    The Panthers had games blacked out in 2009 and as of last week had only sold out two upcoming home games heading into 2010.

    Amazingly, Carolina managed to sellout its home opener this Sunday against Tampa Bay, bringing the grand yearly total to three sellouts.

    The Panthers should be contenders this season and could eventually boast the added attraction of Jimmy Clausen at quarterback, which would help lure the home fans to Bank of America Stadium.

No. 7: Buffalo Bills

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    Much like the Packers in Green Bay, the Bills are a huge attraction in Buffalo no matter how good or bad the product on the field is.

    As of last week, the Bills had sold out only three home games. Buffalo could get blacked out more than once this season.

No. 6: San Diego Chargers

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    The Chargers are without question the best team dealing with blackouts in 2010.

    The most logical explanation for Sunday's home-opener being kept off local television is the visiting team being the Jacksonville Jaguars, who besides Maurice Jones-Drew are completely devoid of major star power.

    Apparently the home fans aren't interesting in seeing the regular-season debut of exciting rookie Ryan Mathews in person.

No. 5: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Like the Cleveland Browns, the Bucs attempted to lesson the chances for blackouts by refraining from raising ticket prices heading into 2010.

    That might not be enough to get fans to fill Raymond James Stadium.

    In last week's win over the Browns, Tampa drew just 47,000 people, a little over 70 percent of the stadium's total capacity.

    It should be more of the same all year long for the rebuilding Bucs.

No. 4: Detroit Lions

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    Despite the prospect of having to watch Shaun Hill at quarterback instead of Matthew Stafford, Lions fans stepped up late this week to ensure the home-opener against the Eagles wouldn't be blacked out.

    The chance to see Michael Vick's talents on display in his first start since 2006 probably had something to do with the late surge in sales.

    The Lions are likely to flirt with blackouts all year long, especially if Stafford is out for an extended duration with a separated shoulder.

No. 3: St. Louis Rams

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    The Rams had three games blacked out last season and could exceed that number this season.

    Despite Sam Bradford making his rookie debut last week against the Cardinals, the Rams drew just over 52,000 fans to bring the Jones Dome to 80 percent capacity.

    That's not good, and it's probably only going to get worse as the year progresses and the losses pile up.

No. 2: Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Praise the Lord for Tim Tebow.

    The Jaguars drew over 63,000 fans in the home-opener, as Jacksonville's native son returned home last Sunday, filling Jacksonville Municipal Stadium to nearly 95 percent capacity.

    Things are only going to go downhill from here.

    After seven blackouts last season, the Jags slashed prices in the upper-deck this year in an effort to curb plummeting attendance.

    The move isn't likely to make much of a difference in the long run.

No. 1: Oakland Raiders

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    It's difficult to believe fans don't want to turn out in droves to watch the epic Raiders-Rams clash Sunday in Oakland.

    Then again, maybe it isn't.

    The Raiders have suffered as an organization in recent years. Although Al Davis still has plenty of support in some circles, there is no question results on the field need to come before the fans return.

    With a legitimate starting quarterback and a bruising, talented defense, this could be the year things turn around.

    Raiders fans have certainly heard that before.