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Colts, Bengals get 24-hour extension to avoid playoff blackout

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

The Colts, who host the Chiefs, will have until 4:30 p.m. Friday to sell 3,000 tickets. And the Bengals, who face the Chargers, will have until 4 p.m. to move 3,5000 tickets.

It's been 12 years since an NFL playoff game was blacked out when the Dolphins failed to sell out against the Ravens. In addition to Indianapolis and Cincinnati, the Green Bay Packers are also facing a blackout.

CBSSports.com analyst and former Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson tweeted earlier this week that he would make up the difference in unsold Bengals tickets.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati-area restauranteur Jeff Ruby has his own blackout-avoidance plan:

Ruby has also challenged other local businesses to do the same.

“It's important for local business leaders to support the Cincinnati Bengals as they play their first Playoff home game so we can leverage the national and local television attention on our city,” Ruby said, via WCPO.com. “I challenge other local CEOs to purchase a block of 100 tickets to share with their employees or non-profits like AFTA so we can avoid the blackout.”

And it appears to be working:

But if tickets remain, not only will the game not be televised locally, it won't be available online either.

"The Cincinnati market will not have access to the online stream Sunday if the game doesn't sell out, according to NFL VP of Communications Brian McCarthy told Cincinnati.com. "The blackout policy applies to online streaming as well."

The reason these games aren't selling out comes down to economics.

"Unlike the regular season when teams can sell the tickets at 34 cents on the dollar to ensure there is no blackout, they must be sold at full price in the playoffs," notes the Indianapolis Star. "The Colts' median ticket price is $146, only the Bengals ($125) are cheaper, according to Vivid Seats. The Saints-Eagles tickets are at $347 and 49ers-Packers at $238."

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