Packers Playoff Game Blacked Out In Green Bay?

Green Bay Packers

As of this moment, there seems to be a possibility that Sunday’s playoff game against San Francisco could be blacked out in Green Bay:

GREEN BAY — The prospect of the Green Bay Packers not selling out a home playoff game seems unthinkable.

Yet as of late Wednesday afternoon, there were around 7,500 tickets remaining for Sunday’s wild-card game between the Packers and San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field.

NFL rules stipulate that if the game isn’t sold out by 3:40 p.m. today, or 72 hours prior to kickoff, there will be a television blackout in local markets, including Green Bay/Fox Cities, Milwaukee and Wausau. The Packers could ask for a deadline extension, and it’s believed the league would grant that request.

Packers director of public affairs Aaron Popkey said the organization remains “optimistic” the game will sell out and a TV blackout can be averted. It’s possible a corporate sponsor could step forward and buy the remaining tickets.

Even if that occurs, it’s baffling the Packers would have to go down to the wire to sell out the most important game of the season.

How could a franchise so rich in playoff tradition, with such a hardy fan base, find itself in a predicament usually reserved for NFL teams far less popular and successful?

Not counting games involving replacement players in 1987, the last time a Packers home game didn’t sell out was in January 1983 when they hosted the St. Louis Cardinals in a first-round playoff game and many disgruntled fans were turned off by a strike-shortened season.

“I’m not concerned about it,” said Packers coach Mike McCarthy at his Wednesday press conference about the lack of a sellout. “Lambeau Field, I fully expect and have great confidence that it will be an incredible environment come Sunday. We have great fans. These are the games our fans live for, so I really have no concern about it at all. I have confidence that whatever needs to be done will be done.”

One reason that ticket sales might be slow is that it’s expected to be bitterly cold, as low as 6 degrees, in Green Bay on Sunday and many fans would no doubt prefer to watch the game at home where its warm. In the end, McCarthy is probably right that the Packers will be able to pull off a sell-out, even if it means getting an extension from the NFL and/or a corporate sponsor stepping in and buying up the remaining tickets, something that has happened in similar situations in the past. If nothing else, though, events like this demonstrates the stupidity of blackout rules, as I argued last month.

H/T: Althouse 

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Environment, Sports, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Alright, which excuse would you like first?

    1) It’s going to be cold.

    Who cares. These are people whose grandparents frozen their asses off in the Ice Bowl. Sure, we’ve been feminized over the years, but the idea that folks wouldn’t dare it isn’t too outlandish.

    2) Football is better on TV.

    Thank you Hi-Def. Thank you instant replay. Thank you Laz-E-Boy, and thank you indoor plumbing.

    3) They added 10,000 new seats at Lambeau.

    Do the math.

    4) Blame Packers’ management.

    For reasons no one is explaining up in Green Bay, this was the first year the Packers changed the rules on season ticket holders reserving playoff tickets. In the past, if the team didn’t host a home playoff game and season ticket holders forked out the cash for tickets, that money was either refunded to the buyers (minus $3 for a H&P charge) or it could be credited to the next year’s season tickets.

    That isn’t happening this year. Instead, the team said it will keep the entire amount and credit it for 2014 season tickets. Add that insult to the injury of the playoff invoices coming out right after the blowout against the Lions on Thanksgiving and many season ticket holders balked at buying when they got first dibs at playoff tickets.

    While the practice is common throughout sports, it is relatively new in Green Bay, shocking and angering a lot of fans.

    That being said, I believe the game will be a sellout.

  2. wr says:

    @Kevin Binversie: “Sure, we’ve been feminized over the years, but the idea that folks wouldn’t dare it isn’t too outlandish.”

    Because choosing not to sit in 6 degree weather to watch a football game is a girly thing?

    How much of your life do you spend doing stupid things just to prove to yourself you’re not gay?

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Damn! I missed my chance to watch an NFL playoff game in Green Bay. Guess I can’t cross that off the ol’ bucket list! (seriously, what could be more cool than that? Watching the Cubs win the World Series at Wrigley Field is the best I can come up with)

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @wr: Lighten up man. Not everything is a threat to your masculinity. You’re a man. We get it. We’re OK with it even if you won’t base jump into Sotano de las Golandrinas. Or as the Dude said in reply to the question of “What makes a man?”

    “Ummm…. sure. That and a pair of testicles.”

  5. An Interested Party says:

    Not everything is a threat to your masculinity.

    And not everything that is considered weak should also be considered feminine…

  6. dazedandconfused says:

    …as low as 6 degrees,

    The current forecast for Sunday is a high of 1 degree, low of minus 17. Windy too. There should probably be a minus in front of that 6.

    Minus 6 and windy? I wonder if the league has any limit. If not, perhaps there should be.

  7. grumpy realist says:

    Um, considering that we’re supposed to be hitting -8 F as the high on Monday in Chicago…..I can understand why people might not be buying tickets for an outdoors stadium in Wisconsin the day before.

  8. Andre Kenji says:


    Because choosing not to sit in 6 degree weather to watch a football game is a girly thing?

    Watching a sports where there is plenty of direct physical contact between a large number of men.

  9. ernieyeball says:

    @Andre Kenji: Yes. And they slap each other on the ass all the time.

  10. Perhaps I should have made a “In 50 Years We’ll All Be Chicks” reference instead for humor with point 1)…