The Indianapolis Colts avoided a television blackout of their playoff game this weekend by making use of an NFL extension to sell out the tickets, and so did the Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals.
The games were in danger of not being broadcast locally because usually all tickets must be sold at least 72 hours ahead of the game.
In Indianapolis, regional superstore Meijer bought the 1,200 tickets for Saturday afternoon's AFC wild-card game against the Kansas City Chiefs and distributed them to local military families through the Indiana National Guard, Indiana Blue Star Salute, Survivor Outreach Services, and Wish for Our Heroes.
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"Meijer understands just how important it is to support the communities where our customers and team members work and live, and are pleased to offer these playoff tickets to local military families as a way of thanking them for all they do," Meijer co-chairman Doug Meijer said in a statement.
The Bengals, who host the San Diego Chargers, announced that corporate sponsors Kroger and Proctor & Gamble snatched up thousands of tickets on Friday. The team needed to sell about 8,000 tickets as of Thursday afternoon. The donated seats can be redeemed by active and veteran military personnel for free at select Kroger stores Saturday. The sellout was announced less than an hour before the NFL's mandated 4 p.m. ET deadline.
The Packers were saved by corporate partners led by Green Bay-based Associated Bank. The team had 40,000 tickets available at the beginning of the week for the 80,750-seat Lambeau Field. The Packers host the San Francisco 49ers, last year's Super Bowl runner-up.
"That's the way it's supposed to be," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, according to ESPN. "This is Lambeau Field.
Our fans are phenomenal. ... I think it will be a great environment. Our fans always show up. This is the showcase of the NFL, Lambeau Field. That's what you expect, and I'm glad they came through."
"We're very thankful to Packers fans, and our partners led by Associated Bank, for ensuring Sunday's game will be sold out," Packers president Mark Murphy said in a statement. "A unique season and other factors contributed to having tickets available, but with the support of our fans and partners, we're looking forward to a great atmosphere Sunday at Lambeau Field for the playoff game against the 49ers."
The Philadelphia Eagles, who host the New Orleans Saints on Saturday in their first home playoff game since 2010, sold out in three minutes, according to NBC Philadelphia
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