By Frank Lewis
January 3, 2014
PDT Staff Writer
If you’re a Bengals fan and you were trying to find an alternate place to watch the playoff game with San Diego on Sunday because of the NFL blackout, you can watch it from your recliner after all, thanks to the Kroger company.
The organization announced Friday morning, in an effort to assist in reaching a sellout so the game will be televised in local markets, the Cincinnati/Dayton Division of Kroger has purchased a “large quantity” of tickets to Sunday’s playoff game between the Bengals and the San Diego Chargers. The game will be played at 1:05 p.m. at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati. While the Cincinnati-based grocery store chain did not indicate how many tickets it purchased, as of Thursday morning there were 7,200 tickets available, according to the Bengals organization.
Despite the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s recent unanimous vote to eliminate the Sports Blackout Rule, a 1970s-era regulation which allows the NFL to black out broadcasts of a local sports game when the game does not meet a sellout threshold, the game was scheduled to be blacked out due to lack of ticket sales, and that drew an earlier response from U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
Brown had urged the FCC to eliminate the Sports Blackout Rule. And at the urging of Brown, the FCC last year released a petition calling for the agency to open the Sports Blackout Rule for public feedback, which was the first step in repealing the regulation
“While the FCC’s recent unanimous vote to eliminate the Sports Blackout Rule is excellent news for fans and taxpayers across Ohio and across the country, the NFL should do everything it can to ensure that the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday’s playoff game is not blacked out,” Brown said. “This is unacceptable at a time when the price of attending games continues to rise and the economy is not yet where it needs to be. Fans, through local taxes, often help pay for the stadiums. They should be able to cheer on their local teams, especially during the playoffs.”
The fact is, taxpayers were on the hook for $450 million to build Paul Brown Stadium to begin with and the City of Cleveland is being required to contribute $850,000 a year to the repair budget for FirstEnergy Stadium.
With the help of local radio stations in Cincinnati and Dayton, Kroger will distribute the tickets to U.S. Military veterans and active duty service members at several store locations in the area.
“This is an exciting time to be a Bengals fan,” Sukankya Madlinger, president of Kroger’s Cincinnati/Dayton Division, said. “And, Kroger is a huge supporter of the brave men and women who protect and defend our country. Giving them the opportunity to watch the ‘undefeated at home’ Bengals in action is a great way for us to say ‘thank you’ for your brave service.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.