The Colts have been granted an extension until 4:30 p.m. ET on Friday to sell roughly 3,000 remaining tickets.
The reasons for these struggles have less to do with fan dedication and more to do with plain, simple economics. Playoff tickets are too expensive, and the odd, archaic deadline and refund rules involved in acquiring them make them even less attractive to purchase, especially in an economy that has so damaged the spending power of the middle class.
Colts.com has published that the team has 4,500 tickets remaining for Saturday's game. Those tickets must be sold by 4:30 p.m. ET today or the game is subject to blackout in the local market.
TV blackouts were common in Indianapolis during the 1990s, back when the football team was consistently bad and before they used the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft on some dude named Manning. To avoid blackouts, local TV stations would buy-up the reaming tickets. It's looking like this will need to happen again if fans want to be able to watch their playoff team on television this weekend.
Colts haven't had TV stations buy tickets to avoid blackouts since the 1990s. Colts and WTHR in constant contact today and tomorrow.— Bob Kravitz (@bkravitz) January 2, 2014
That teams like the Bengals (who need to sell 7,200 tickets by today) and the Packers (who need to sell 5,500) are also struggling suggests that maybe, just maybe, the NFL's ticket pricing isn't all that compatible with small market franchises.
Yes, there are other factors - such as the Nor'easter storm hitting the Midwest & East Coast, the ticket deadline falling so close to New Year's Day, and that some season ticket holders had to purchase TWO playoff tickets just to get a seat for this Saturday - have played a part in this embarrassment for the NFL. However, when it is all said and done, even for the most ardent capitalist dogma followers, when loyal fans simply aren't willing to fork over their green at the asking price, it stands to reason that the seller should re-examine that price.
For many fans, there is the expectation that "some TV station" or "some business" will simply buy up the tickets and guarantee the sell out. Yes, that's possible. Maybe even likely. However, they're missing the bigger picture. Embarrassments like this do not make owners and the media empires that pay them billions happy. In their minds, fans should happily pay for the right to attend playoff games. If they don't, then perhaps the market "isn't viable."
For me, this mindset is crazy.
I never in a million years dreamed the Packers could have a home game blacked out. Really a brave new world for the NFL if that happens.— Bart Hubbuch (@HubbuchNYP) January 2, 2014
I'd love to see an NFL suit question the market viability of Green Bay to a group of Cheeseheads standing in the freezing cold in front of Lambeau Field. In fact, I might be willing to pay playoff-level ticket prices just to see that... but only if I could bring my own beer.
NHC affiliate relations tells WISE TV Colts-Kansas City game Saturday will be blacked out in Fort Wayne without a sellout— Dean Pantazi (@DeanPantaziINC) January 2, 2014