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VIKING GAMES COULD BE BLACKED OUT AS GENERAL MILLS RUNS DRY
Published January 11, 1995
For the last 12 years, every Viking home game in Minneapolis has been on broadcast on local TV due to a unique fund from General Mills. The fund, which guaranteed home games would be televised locally if 90% of the tickets were sold 72 hours before the game, "ran dry last fall." Now the Vikings and local broadcast channels must face the same rules of every other NFL team. At the end of this season, WFTC-TV and KARE-TV teamed with the Vikings to run promotions and ads to get fans to buy tickets, and next fall that strategy will continue. Local TV stations will have to "expend more effort to air home games, and blackouts might be costly to their images and incomes." WTFC GM Rip Riordan said his station is now budgeting money to guarantee local broadcasts of some games next year, as Viking football greatly increased the visibility of the Fox affiliate. Vikings Marketing Dir Kernal Buhler said the team will help the stations identify which home games will be difficult to sell out, and are working on ways to increase sales (Rachel Blount, Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 1/10).