SBD/Issue 29/Franchises

Lions Blacked Out In Detroit After Tickets Fail To Sell Out

Lions Unable To Sell Out Game
For First Time In Ford Field History
Sunday's Redskins-Lions game at Ford Field "failed to sell out" by a Thursday deadline, and the game will not be broadcast on local TV in Detroit, marking the "first time since late in the 2001 season" and the first time at Ford Field that a Lions home game has been blacked out, according to Terry Foster of the DETROIT NEWS. No station "whose signal penetrates a 75-mile radius of Detroit may broadcast the game." The Lions, who are 0-6, said that they "sold 1,000 tickets in the 24 hours leading to Thursday's deadline but could not attract a major sponsor to buy the remaining 5,000 tickets." Previous Lions home games this season "avoided blackouts." Furniture store Gardner-White "bought the remaining tickets to ensure a sellout" for the September 14 Packers-Lions game, and fans "bought the final tickets in time" for the October 5 Bears-Lions game. Foster notes Lions fans "might get used to blackouts the rest of this season," as "plenty of seats remain for every game except the Thanksgiving game against the Titans." The last time the Lions failed to sell out a game was a December 30, 2001, game against the Bears at the Pontiac Silverdome (DETROIT NEWS, 10/24).

FANS LOSING HOPE: In Detroit, Nicholas Cotsonika writes while "times are tough, especially in the Detroit area," if the Lions showed something, fans "would pay the high prices for tickets, parking, food and everything else that goes with going to an NFL game." Cotsonika: "It isn't apathy, either. ... There isn't declining interest in the Lions; there's declining interest in spending time and money to watch them in person. It isn't even the losing itself. ... The problem is hope" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 10/24). Lions QB Dan Orlovsky said of the team's failure to sell out Ford Field, "The economic situation's probably not helping it. We haven't done enough on our end to make these fans come out and watch games. And that's a reality." Lions OT Jeff Backus: "Fans come to the game to see a good product, to enjoy themselves and have fun watching a good football game. And we haven't been getting it done" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 10/24). ESPN’s Trevor Matich said of the Lions, “There has only been one constant the entire time and that’s been the owner and at some point, they have got to look at themselves and say, ‘You know, we’re the only constant in decades of futility. Maybe we’re doing something wrong.’ I’m not saying they should sell the team. They want to win, that’s why they make the changes that they do. I respect the fact that they want to win, but somehow some way they’ve got to turn it over to somebody else for the operations because right now they have not found that guy” (“Washington Post Live,” Comcast SportsNet, 10/23).

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