SBD/September 9, 2010/NFL Season Preview

NFL Franchise Notes: Chargers Need To Sell Tix To Avoid Blackouts

Chargers Have About 13,000 Tickets To Sell For Week Two Game, May Face TV Blackout

In San Diego, Kevin Acee reports approximately 13,000 tickets remain for the Chargers' home opener at Qualcomm Stadium against the Jaguars on Sept. 19, "including nearly 11,000 non-premium seats that count toward determining whether a game is blacked out." That is "almost twice as many as anyone can remember the Chargers having less than two weeks before a game," and even "more tickets remain" for the second home game, on Oct. 3 against the Cardinals. The Chargers "do have the option of buying unsold tickets," but Acee reports that option has "not been exercised by the team before and will likely not in the future" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 9/9).

BLANK CHECK: Falcons Owner Arthur Blank discussed '10 ticket sales and said, "We had fairly good renewals this year. They were not as high as in the past, but they were fairly good. What we are excited about is that we had about 10,000 fans step up and buy new season packages from us. In this situation, we try to be very thoughtful about our ticket prices. About 27 percent of our tickets were held flat. About 15 percent went down." The Falcons have publicly expressed their desire to either build a new stadium or renovate Georgia Dome, and Blank said, "We continue to work with the Congress Center about some options that are on their campus. We've got an excellent working relationship with them" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/9).

HAVE YOU DRIVEN A FORD LATELY? In Detroit, Bill Shea noted while the Lions do not disclose specifics on ticket sales, they said that season-ticket sales at Ford Field are up 10% over last year, "with a rush of sales expected before the season begins." Four of the Lions' eight regular-season home games last year were blacked out, but the team "cut prices on 19,000 seats this year" and believes it will "cut the blackouts in half in 2010." Lions VP/Business Operations Bob Raymond added that suite rentals for all 10 home games "are on par with 2009" (CRAIN'S DETROIT BUSINESS, 9/6 issue).

BABY IT'S COLD OUTSIDE: The Bills as of Monday had sold 43,925 season tickets, the "fifth-highest total" since '95 but down 20.5% from last year, when the team "topped the 55,000 mark in back-to-back years for the first time in franchise history." The Bills "increased their ticket prices this year for the first time since 2008," though their tickets are "still the third-least expensive among the NFL's 32 teams." The Bills are sold out for Sunday's home opener against the Dolphins and the Nov. 28 game against the Steelers (BUFFALO NEWS, 9/7).

BOYS WILL BE BOYS: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's David Biderman reports Nielsen this summer "developed a system for ranking the popularity of NFL teams based on each team's local and national TV rankings, how often they're mentioned on the Internet and how many visitors they attract to their official websites." The Cowboys top the report, the Nielsen Sports Media Exposure Index, which is the company's "first attempt to classify pro-football teams in this manner." The following shows the five most- and least-popular NFL teams, according to Nielsen (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 9/9).

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