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ESPN helps avoid first MNF blackout since 1999 season

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With 9,000 tickets left to sell as of Thursday, there’s no way the Chargers could have avoided a blackout of their game against the Colts without financial assistance.  (Or without buying some of the tickets on their own.)  With no blackout of any Monday Night Football game since the last week of the 1999 season, ESPN stepped up to preserve a streak that predates the movement of MNF to the four-lettter network by seven years.

The Chargers have announced that ESPN and a “consortium” of sponsors have guaranteed the purchase of enough tickets to lift the local blackout.  (We won’t be listing the consortium of sponsors by name, unless they also want to become a consortium of PFT sponsors.)

It means that the tickets were purchased at 34 cents on the dollar.  It also means that the commitment likely was made before the false urgency of a 24-hour extension may have prompted some suckers customers to buy tickets, under the impression that’s the only way they’d see the game.

“ESPN is pleased to have avoided the blackout and we are happy to work with local military and charitable organizations in San Diego to distribute a portion of the tickets to individuals and families who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend the game,” ESPN’s senior director of programming and acquisitions Doug White said.

With ESPN already paying more than $100 million per week to broadcast Monday Night Football, what’s another $500,000 or so to escape the embarrassment of having a supposedly marquee game not televised in its local market?

Of course, it won’t really help ESPN locally, since the game will be broadcast on KUSI-TV in San Diego.  But ESPN has avoided the stigma of having a Monday Night Football game blacked out on its watch.

And the NFL has extended its string of no blackouts in the 2013 season to six weeks, with an asterisk or two.

Or 9,000.

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73 Responses to “ESPN helps avoid first MNF blackout since 1999 season”
  1. wearethesteelers says: Oct 12, 2013 6:15 PM

    With the 32nd pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

    We know what you’re thinking: “uh, how do you expect to make the playoffs, let alone win the SB?”

    Well, we are extremely resilient. If the Pittsburgh has ever proved anything, it’s that. Historically, we are a team that starts slow and finishes like a champion. Our expectations aren’t any different this year. In fact, there is a special atmosphere about this season.

    Therefore, we foresee a 10-2 stretch starting tomorrow.

    Please, mark these words.

  2. classyjacklambert says: Oct 12, 2013 6:18 PM

    Wow… These teams aren’t even bad teams. Amazing.

  3. 619sdfan4life says: Oct 12, 2013 6:19 PM

    As a charger fan this is embarrassing. If we lose the chargers to LA there is no one to blame but us. In addition to the city not building a stadium and the lack of support. We don’t deserve a team when we can sell out a MNF GAME. SMH

  4. kwjsb says: Oct 12, 2013 6:22 PM

    wearethesteelers says: Oct 12, 2013 6:15 PM

    With the 32nd pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select Owen Six.

    ____________________

    Must have done some serious trading down.

  5. spyder9669 says: Oct 12, 2013 6:23 PM

    lol suckers.

  6. sportsmeccabi says: Oct 12, 2013 6:23 PM

    Even the Steelers homer realizes his offensive line sucks.

  7. cutlertomarshall says: Oct 12, 2013 6:24 PM

    I don’t get why my posts that are Pro-bears get censored but that Steelers fan doesn’t?

    This is a joke, right?

  8. stevent92 says: Oct 12, 2013 6:28 PM

    I absolutely LOVE San Diego as a city. The weather, scenery, the beauty, everything but the cost of living.

    However, over the years, it has proven to be an incredibly horrible supporter of its teams, particularly the Chargers. I know the Clippers moved north to L.A. in the 80’s.

    This isn’t to indict San Diegans, as I have no idea why this is. Maybe some locals could enlighten us? Whenever I see a SD game on TV, it appears half of the stadium is visiting fans.

  9. notsobigsam says: Oct 12, 2013 6:30 PM

    Don’t forget, for Charger games, the San Diego market extends into Los Angeles.If the game is blacked out in LA, it’s a significant dilution of viewers (and maybe ad revenues).

  10. classyjacklambert says: Oct 12, 2013 6:31 PM

    Seriously can you stop putting up what wearesteelers writes? It’s annoying and embarrassing to real steelers fans.

  11. doctorrustbelt says: Oct 12, 2013 6:32 PM

    I ain’t gonna lie… if I lived in sunny San Diego… I would only watch about two NFL games a year.

    I’d be on the beach, in the mountains, fishing, biking, hiking, and eating Mexican everyday.

  12. jimbo75025 says: Oct 12, 2013 6:36 PM

    stevent92 says:
    Oct 12, 2013 6:28 PM
    I absolutely LOVE San Diego as a city. The weather, scenery, the beauty, everything but the cost of living.

    This isn’t to indict San Diegans, as I have no idea why this is. Maybe some locals could enlighten us? Whenever I see a SD game on TV, it appears half of the stadium is visiting fans.
    ——–

    You listed some of the key reasons yourself. Great weather and lot of other things to do. San Diego is also more of a transplant city in that most professional types who could afford the tickets are from somewhere else and likely have another team they root for. A lot of the same reasons why multiple LA teams have failed and a new one would likely go belly up after the new car smell wore off.

  13. lance19 says: Oct 12, 2013 6:38 PM

    I know a lot of folks like to just simply
    villify us San Diego fans, without knowing all
    the circumstances about the stadium, city
    finances, etc. (Hell, I tried to buy tickets yesterday
    via TicketMaster for the MNF game, and after 40 minutes on the phone was repeatedly told that the seats I was trying to buy did not exist…grrr)

    Anyway, we got spoiled averaging about 11 wins a year for awhile, and now a less Charger team chose to play their worst game in ages (getting beat up by the Raiders) right before this MNF contest…fan morale is about as low as it’s been in 10 years…we still have some good fans…but zero bandwaggoners right now…

  14. belichickdominatedjoemontana says: Oct 12, 2013 6:39 PM

    I do not want to hear the Chargera complain for years on why they will not be playing another MNF game.

  15. orivar says: Oct 12, 2013 6:43 PM

    “ESPN helps their wallets stay secure since 1999″, is what you meant to headline.

  16. phinfan says: Oct 12, 2013 6:47 PM

    The nfl should apply for assistance to help the middle class afford season tickets.

    But then the government doesnt care about middle class

  17. giahead33 says: Oct 12, 2013 6:54 PM

    The Steelers will start their winning streak of 12-0 starting tomorrow against the so far lucky NY Jets….Leveon Bell will run over the jets defense all day as well as Big Ben carving up the jets secondary!!! GO STEELERS!!!!

  18. autumnwind32 says: Oct 12, 2013 6:55 PM

    @wearethesteelers

    You mean with the 33rd pick in the 2014 draft…….

  19. macker1283 says: Oct 12, 2013 6:56 PM

    The NFL is so stupid to still have this blackout rule. How the heck do you grow interest in a fanbase by blacking out games. I grew up in New England and I didn’t even know what the Patriots or the NFL were until I was 11 years old, because half the Pats games weren’t on TV till 1994 when Kraft bought the team. Thats when I started to watch the game and grow interested in the sport.

  20. stevent92 says: Oct 12, 2013 6:57 PM

    jimbo75025 says:
    Oct 12, 2013 6:36 PM

    You listed some of the key reasons yourself. Great weather and lot of other things to do. San Diego is also more of a transplant city in that most professional types who could afford the tickets are from somewhere else and likely have another team they root for. A lot of the same reasons why multiple LA teams have failed and a new one would likely go belly up after the new car smell wore off.
    ————————————————–

    I hear ya jimbo. We are considering moving to SD in the near-future, but chances are, I would keep my allegiance to the Vikings if I came there. I have heard that from some family that’s moved out there that the generations don’t run super deep in SD, with a lot of people moved there, plus a high % of military folks from all over as well.

    But I would definintely check out some Charger/Padre games. Always liked the Chargers, just wish they could get a new stadium instead of that 1967-model Qualcomm. It served its purpose, but it has outlasted its usefulness.

  21. devildog911 says: Oct 12, 2013 7:00 PM

    I live in San Diego but not a fan. This is the reason why I never liked any San Diego teams growing up. Embarrassing.

    Go Colts!

  22. pthepro49 says: Oct 12, 2013 7:00 PM

    San Diego needs to move to LA. The Charger Fans are the worse in the NFL, and any true fan wouldn’t mind a short trip to LA and watch their team play in what will probably be one of the best stadiums in the NFL

  23. ebmd15 says: Oct 12, 2013 7:01 PM

    I’ve lived in SD all of my life and what makes our city unique is that we have so many transplants from all over the country. It can also get pricey for families who want to go, but cannot. I don’t blame them for putting their money towards necessities. Lots of us would go to the stadium, but I think It would be nice if the Bolts slashed ticket prices since they’ve been putting a defective product on the field lately.

  24. wearethesteelers says: Oct 12, 2013 7:02 PM

    giahead33 says:
    Oct 12, 2013 6:54 PM
    The Steelers will start their winning streak of 12-0 starting tomorrow against the so far lucky NY Jets….Leveon Bell will run over the jets defense all day as well as Big Ben carving up the jets secondary!!! GO STEELERS!!!!
    ____________________________

    Finally, someone with sense!

  25. kepickle says: Oct 12, 2013 7:04 PM

    2014 draft order is
    1.Jacksonville Jaguars
    2.Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    3.Pittsburgh Steelers
    4.Minnesota Vikings
    5.Washington Redskins

  26. redemptionssong says: Oct 12, 2013 7:07 PM

    Thanks ESPN for bailing us out, although it was for the LA market ratings. Now hopefully I will get home in time to watch another 2nd half Chargers collapse. Too

  27. tinbender2000 says: Oct 12, 2013 7:10 PM

    When Disney got greedy and moved MNF from ABC to espn they blacked out everyone in the country who doesn’t have cable or dish, so what’s the big deal?

  28. thestrategyexpert says: Oct 12, 2013 7:10 PM

    Well if you weren’t spending 24 hours a day on the TV you could call and recruit some sponsors!

  29. samquix says: Oct 12, 2013 7:11 PM

    There isn’t one city in America with more transplants than SD. I’m am a local and am very very proud of my city. But let’s speak honestly, this town is roughly 30-40% military. They aren’t Charger fans. That’s why the Q is always, ALWAYS, somewhat filled with other teams fans. No disrespect but how many ppl plan vacations here to see around their team? A lot more than ppl who plan to go to oh I don’t know Cleveland. It’s 65 and sunny in Nov/Dec here. None of my friends and family would plan a vaca during football season to go to a cold weather city. Well go during spring/summer.

    Plus these primetime games as I’ve stated in previous posts start way too early out west. There wouldn’t be as much trouble if the game didn’t start when half the fans are still in the last half hour on a work day.

  30. mackcarrington says: Oct 12, 2013 7:18 PM

    @notsobigsam: Sorry Sam, but the Chargers DO NOT extend into the Los Angeles market. If the game was blacked out in San Diego, it would most certainly be shown on TV in L.A. The NFL , for it’s own selfish purposes, sometimes forces a game into the L.A. market against the wishes of those that live here.But make no mistake, L.A. & S.D. are two distinct and different TV markets. If you doubt me, then come to L.A. and try to watch anything on San Diego TV.

  31. meatball13 says: Oct 12, 2013 7:18 PM

    I am offended that a test pattern with an American Indian in it is being used in the photo spot.

  32. shackdelrio says: Oct 12, 2013 7:29 PM

    But the Jaguars are moving to LA. Oh, ok…

  33. noleitup says: Oct 12, 2013 7:29 PM

    Its funny I dont as many people on here bashing sd fans as much as us tampa fans. At least those guys had Drew Brees and now have Rivers for over the last decade. Our best qb over that time period? Brad Johnson? 37 yr old Jeff Garcia? Freeman before schiano ruined him? That super bowl came with a price. 13 years of mediocrity or less.

  34. Tom says: Oct 12, 2013 7:29 PM

    Gee if only Fox and CBS would caredenough to do the same.

  35. raiders4life says: Oct 12, 2013 7:30 PM

    Let’s move the Chargers to London considering the city of San Diego could careless about the Dolts.

  36. gbfb88 says: Oct 12, 2013 7:36 PM

    Steelers fans are pathetic.

  37. maxkingpin says: Oct 12, 2013 7:47 PM

    Many comment that recent lower W-L, military population and abundance of other pursuits are the reasons for this. I’m sure that all are factors, but San Diego County is over three million people and there are another two million within 1 & 1/2 hour drive.
    Using those numbers, it is really pathetic that 71,294 of those five million, less than 1.5%, couldn’t go to a MNF game.

  38. wearethesteelers says: Oct 12, 2013 7:50 PM

    shackdelrio says:
    Oct 12, 2013 7:29 PM
    But the Jaguars are moving to LA. Oh, ok…
    ____________________________

    No, they’ll just be disbanded.

  39. CowboyErik says: Oct 12, 2013 7:56 PM

    What? 32nd pick? lol, Steelers will be selecting from the top 10

  40. motobus says: Oct 12, 2013 8:07 PM

    Isn’t it against the rules for anyone other than the team to purchase or provide the money to purchase the tickets at 34%? Remember when Chad Johnson wanted to purchase the tickets in Cincy at 34% and he was not allowed to…

  41. tfoltz says: Oct 12, 2013 8:15 PM

    I’m from San Diego, and I don’t go because it’s just too expensive. Simple as that.

  42. mackcarrington says: Oct 12, 2013 8:26 PM

    @foltz: Then maybe you should look into getting a job that pays more money.

    Sincerely,
    Roger Goodell

  43. danieladubay says: Oct 12, 2013 8:35 PM

    Thank you ESPN. The people that run the Chargers are a joke. The blackout would have affected the LA area because the team chooses to impose ‘the local team is 200 miles away’ thing on us. I hate having to watch a Charger game every Sunday because of this. LA is forced to watch bad Charger games because of this stupid rule. This would be fine if they were our local team but no one in LA goes to Charger games. This team needs to just come here. People will fill the stadium.

  44. jdphx says: Oct 12, 2013 8:39 PM

    Hmmm… I wonder what ESPN does with the tix?
    Could be a PR windfall if they gave them to some
    underprivileged kids.

    Something tells me they won’t.
    Care to follow up PFT?

  45. louderthanwords1 says: Oct 12, 2013 8:45 PM

    Tom – Why would Fox or Cbs want to do this? Its not about caring enough. Espn is doing it because otherwise tvs in the san diego market will be black for these few hrs. Fox and Cbs on Sundays will just show a different and usually more competitive game. I’m from Wisconsin but live in Orlando and like many people here I’m happy when Jacksonville or Tampa are blacked out because then we get to see some good games. Espn isn’t doing this out of the goodness of their heart their doing it because they don’t have better option. Fox and Cbs do.

  46. johnnyprc says: Oct 12, 2013 8:45 PM

    How can ESPN make the financial work at “over $100m” per week (per game)??? Even if they got $1m per commercial (which is Superbowl type money) they would just be breaking even with their contract if they had 100 commercials at that rate per night. THAT IS 1.6 Billion a season!!…all for 1 game a week?

    I don’t know about that, I could see $100m+ per season, but not per week.

  47. johnnyprc says: Oct 12, 2013 8:48 PM

    Looked it up – they are paying $1.9 billion a year for 1 game a week. I really don’t see how that works out.

  48. louderthanwords1 says: Oct 12, 2013 8:54 PM

    Jdphx – if you want to know what ESPN is going to do with the tix why don’t you read the whole article instead of asking for a follow up?

  49. onbucky96 says: Oct 12, 2013 9:39 PM

    Stay classy San Diego.

  50. gee59 says: Oct 12, 2013 9:56 PM

    Funny – The Browns are usually one of the worst teams in either league. Their games are ALWAYS sold out with a waiting list to boot.

    Saw more than a few tailgate parties at Brown’s Stadium in the snow for AWAY GAMES.

  51. mrsmell says: Oct 12, 2013 10:01 PM

    If a team like the Giants and Pitt can still put fans in the seats, I just feel bad for those SD players. All those years of LT was wasted on a bunch of badwagons. Its MNF for Tebow’s sake, not many teams experience it.

  52. silvernblak says: Oct 12, 2013 10:09 PM

    Why don’t you get more support? Let’s not forget the name of the city first off “San di-eh go” The Hispanics population has risen there and all us native Californians are being white washed out. Yes, pun intended. What is Hispanics favorite sport? SOCCER!!! CAVRONES! !!!!!! NOT THE NFL! That’s why.

  53. ambitoos says: Oct 12, 2013 10:27 PM

    San Diego is not a sports town. It’s a beach town. There are too many things to do other than football. Beaches, parks, casinos, golf, horse racing, Tijauna, boating, rodeo. Or you can just be a couch potato and watch any game you choose. The Chargers will do well in LA. They have more fans in LA that come to watch the team that represents the city they came from. In San Diego we still have a law that forbids you to hunt jackrabbits from the back of a streetcar. That’s San Diego. Anybody know a good Mayoral candidate?

  54. harrycanyon says: Oct 12, 2013 10:31 PM

    for a team that was so crappy last year, they sure scheduled them for a lot of prime time games this year. This is second MNF for the Chargers this year. Why??????

  55. FlashPatterson says: Oct 12, 2013 10:34 PM

    Lesson learned.. don’t give the Chargers a MNF game. Nobody wants to see that garbage.

  56. asublimeday says: Oct 12, 2013 10:39 PM

    Ah yes, the impoverished San Diego area.

  57. mle5664 says: Oct 12, 2013 10:40 PM

    Maybe they shouldn’t be allowed to play on MNF…

  58. National Fanatic says: Oct 12, 2013 10:53 PM

    The San Diego Chargers have an outstanding fan base, but a 47 year old eye-sore of stadium is nothing but a giant concrete block. It is NOT an attractive stadium.
    The place can hold 85,000 fans if necessary. If you took CenturyLink Field in Seattle, and put it in Mission Valley, it would be sold out for the next 20 years. DESTROY THE Q!

  59. arzcardinals says: Oct 12, 2013 11:15 PM

    Season ticket holders and everyone else who paid full price should pay the $20 it costs for small claims and get their money back. Simply calculate what u paid and the difference on 32 cents on the dollar.
    I wouldn’t hesitate.

  60. Grinds My Gear says: Oct 12, 2013 11:24 PM

    They should have just moved Raiders/Chiefs to MNF. It’s a great rivalry game, and no matter how good or bad either teams are they beat the heck out of each other.

  61. kwickett85 says: Oct 12, 2013 11:28 PM

    And people say the Jaguars should move?

    Charger fans support your team…

  62. channer81 says: Oct 13, 2013 12:23 AM

    I bet a big contributor is that Indy fans don’t travel well. Still no excuse for Charger fans not coming out to this game

  63. granadafan says: Oct 13, 2013 2:54 AM

    Lower the ticket prices!!!!!! End the ancient blackout rule!

  64. commonsensedude says: Oct 13, 2013 4:42 AM

    New rule: never put an NFL team in a city where the strongest competitor for fans’ attention is perfect weather and gorgeous beaches.

  65. joetoronto says: Oct 13, 2013 5:36 AM

    The fact is that when the Chargers were doing well, the place was sold out.

    San Diego is full of fair weather fans and all the excuses in the world won’t change that, it is what it is, one big embarrassment.

  66. akzane says: Oct 13, 2013 7:35 AM

    Better enjoy it! It might be a long time before San Diego gets another Monday night game.

  67. dbfan4ever says: Oct 13, 2013 8:57 AM

    Time to move the Chargers to LA

  68. conniemadagain says: Oct 14, 2013 8:51 AM

    Look, I have been here since the first Charger game in Balboa Stadium and the current ownership is a joke …

    After buying the team, Spanos said he would not embrace the “Powder Blue” because he wanted to create his own identity … what a self righteous moron … You’re from no cal idiot and we had a tradition we were proud of …

    Well, you succeeded in creating your own identity; loser, owner of NO rings …

  69. natelan69 says: Oct 14, 2013 11:54 AM

    mackcarrington says:
    Oct 12, 2013 7:18 PM

    @notsobigsam: Sorry Sam, but the Chargers DO NOT extend into the Los Angeles market. If the game was blacked out in San Diego, it would most certainly be shown on TV in L.A. The NFL , for it’s own selfish purposes, sometimes forces a game into the L.A. market against the wishes of those that live here.But make no mistake, L.A. & S.D. are two distinct and different TV markets. If you doubt me, then come to L.A. and try to watch anything on San Diego TV.
    ————————

    @mackcarrington

    Sorry Mack, but YOU are wrong.

    Sam wasn’t saying that the L.A. and San Diego TV markets are the same. He said that the NFL treats L.A. as the Chargers’ home market, just as it does San Diego.

    That means, when a game would be blacked out in San Diego, it would also be blacked out in L.A.

    And he’s 100% correct.

  70. natelan69 says: Oct 14, 2013 12:13 PM

    kwickett85 says:
    Oct 12, 2013 11:28 PM
    And people say the Jaguars should move?

    Charger fans support your team…

    —————————-

    Jaguars fans, support your tarps!

  71. natelan69 says: Oct 14, 2013 12:15 PM

    mackcarrington says:
    Oct 12, 2013 8:26 PM
    @foltz: Then maybe you should look into getting a job that pays more money.

    Sincerely,
    Roger Goodell

    ——————————————-

    @mackcarrinton

    $50,000 a year in San Diego is basically poverty, unlike whatever hick town you’re from, where $50k a year supports a family of 6 and buys a mansion.

  72. natelan69 says: Oct 14, 2013 12:16 PM

    joetoronto says:
    Oct 13, 2013 5:36 AM
    The fact is that when the Chargers were doing well, the place was sold out.

    San Diego is full of fair weather fans and all the excuses in the world won’t change that, it is what it is, one big embarrassment.

    ———————————-

    How many blacked out games have the Raiders had in the last decade?

  73. Remain Anonymous says: Oct 14, 2013 2:37 PM

    They sold enough to completely fill Oakland (50,000 capacity what a joke…nice tarps), Indy and Soldier Field, Pittsburgh, AZ, Minnesota, Detroit, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, St Louis, Seattle etc…but we have to get shamed nationally by possibly getting a blackout?!?! And Spanos could have lifted blackouts for games filled up at least 85% but didn’t…why not?!?! Qualcomm is a dump. Did you know that 1,000s of seats there are considered obstructed view? sitting field level behind the sidelines is a joke, good luck seeing any game action. There’s so much at play with San Diego and their stadium, and our fans’ so-called “lack of support”. Don’t let facts get in the way, it’s easier to just talk trash and troll the next article

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