NFC West: TV blackout
This comes as a mild surprise, in my view, given the Rams' poor record and the Arizona Cardinals' 6-17 record over a 23-game period ending in Week 9 this season. Both teams had relatively unattractive opponents in the second half of the season: St. Louis and Cleveland for the Cardinals, and Cincinnati for the Rams.
The Rams have bought out tickets to avoid blackouts. Both teams have required fans buying tickets for marquee matchups to also buy them for less attractive games, a common practice in the NFL.
There have been no blackouts for the Cardinals since University of Phoenix Stadium opened for the 2006 season. The streak appeared to be in some jeopardy after the Cardinals fell to 1-6, particularly with the 1-6 Rams visiting.
Fans purchasing single-game tickets to the recent game against Pittsburgh had to buy Rams tickets as well. The Cardinals have three road games following the St. Louis matchup. They should have no trouble selling enough tickets for the next home game, against Dallas on Dec. 4.
San Francisco, Cleveland and Seattle visit Arizona later in the season
The San Francisco 49ers made no announcement, but when I reached out to them, they said their game against Seattle also sold enough tickets to avoid an NFL blackout locally.
Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick and Laura Okmin will call the Rams' game against Philadelphia for Fox at 1 p.m. ET. They comprise the No. 3 crew as defined by Fox.
Sam Rosen, Chad Pennington and Jody Jackson are calling the Cardinals game against Carolina as part of a revised No. 7 crew for Fox. Rosen's former partner, 49ers preseason analyst Tim Ryan, is working with Chris Myers on the No. 5 crew.
Dick Stockton, John Lynch and Jaime Maggio are calling the 49ers' game against Seattle as part of a revised No. 4 crew.
They made it No. 51 this week despite taking a 3-8 record into their Week 13 home game against the St. Louis Rams.
That seems like a fairly notable achievement given the circumstances: two teams with losing records, Arizona riding a six-game losing streak, a traditionally skeptical fan base and continuing unfavorable economic times.
The Cardinals have two more home games: one against Denver on Dec. 12 and another against Dallas on Christmas. Arizona appears likely to keep alive its streak of non-blackout games though this season.
Arizona's struggles could complicate ticket efforts in 2011. Landing a quarterback to excite the fan base would help.
The Rams initially asked the NFL to extend by 24 hours the usual Thursday blackout deadline, but the team sold enough tickets to get its game against Washington on television in St. Louis. The Cardinals are facing the Oakland Raiders in their home opener.
All 46 preseason, regular-season and postseason Cardinals games at University of Phoenix Stadium have sold enough tickets to avoid a blackout. The term "sellout" is often misleading in these cases because high-priced club seats do not count toward totals required to avoid blackouts.
They opened sales to all others Tuesday.
"Fewer than 2,000" remained by this afternoon, according to a news release from the team.
This information can be spun a few ways. We could say "nearly 2,000" tickets remained to make it sound like the Cardinals were having a hard time sellout out a playoff game.
The game against Green Bay will almost certainly sell out in time to avoid a local television blackout. The fact that tickets remained available after nearly two days of sales suggests the Cardinals can expect to see quite a few Packers fans in attendance.
The team did not immediately sell out playoff games last season.
Arizona previously needed 24-hour extensions to sell tickets in time to avoid local television blackouts. The Vikings have star power, obviously, and I'm sure we'll see quite a few purple jerseys in the stands for this game.
The Cardinals have now sold out all 40 regular-season, postseason and exhibition home games since University of Phoenix Stadium opened for the 2006 season.
"The Rams ownership and organization felt strongly about getting this game on television and allowing our fans who can’t be at the Edward Jones Dome on Sunday to see the continuing growth of our football team. Our last two games against New Orleans and Detroit have been our highest-rated television games of the year to date, so we know that St. Louis is responding to the positive changes occurring within the Rams organization. Unfortunately, we do not anticipate that the Seattle or Houston games will be televised locally, but we remain hopeful that Rams fans will help us sell out our Fan Appreciation Game on January 3 against our long-time rival, the 49ers."
The Rams distributed the tickets to local charities and youth groups. The hope, obviously, is that continued improvement will spur future sellouts. Beating the Cardinals would certainly help.
That means the Cardinals have sold out every home game since opening University of Phoenix Stadium in 2006.
Earlier: Dan Caesar of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has more on local St. Louis viewing preferences.
That means the team has until Friday to sell enough tickets for the game to appear on local television in Arizona.
The Cardinals have sold out every home game since University of Phoenix Stadium opened in 2006.
You know NFL teams are close to selling out when the league agrees to offer 24-hour blackout extensions.
The extensions put pressure on fans to purchase the few remaining tickets. The league generally responds by allowing the games in question to air on local television.
That's what happened Friday, with the Cardinals announcing their Week 8 game against the Panthers will be shown locally on Fox. A blackout would have led the local affiliate to show the Vikings-Packers game locally instead. I've heard from a few people on that subject.
If you're an NFL fan living in the Phoenix area and not planning to attend Panthers-Cardinals, which game would you rather watch?
The NFL granted a 24-hour blackout extension to the Cardinals, giving the team extra time to sell enough tickets for its Week 8 game against Carolina to appear on local television.
The team has experienced the NFL's largest percentage increase in local television viewership from 2008 to this season, but ticket sales for some games have lagged. A rough economy explains part of the problem. The Panthers are not a marquee opponent.
It's tough to blame the Cardinals at this point. They are 4-2 and coming off a road victory over the Giants. They appeared in the Super Bowl last season. Their stadium is terrific.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The Cardinals have had to sweat through a couple blackout extensions this season, but people in Arizona are watching their games one way or another.
Ratings are up 42 percent from this time last year, the largest percentage increase in the NFL, according to the team.
The four broadcasts have generated a 20.3 rating and 38 share. The first four last season generated a 14.3 rating and 30 share.
The team's Super Bowl run could be helping ratings.
Also, the Cardinals have played three of their first four at home this season. They played three of their first four on the road in 2008. Having fewer home games this season would drive up ratings, I suspect, because fans who would have attended a home game would watch on TV instead. Having a Sunday night game against Peyton Manning and the Colts also helped this season.
Phoenix also might arguably be a bit of a bandwagon town, and past Cardinals teams haven't done much to win them over. Fans probably weren't expecting much entering last season, when the team waited until one week before the opener to name Kurt Warner the starter.
The Cardinals sold enough tickets to their home game against the Texans on Sunday to avoid the first local television blackout since University of Phoenix Stadium opened for the 2006 season.
The team does not play another home game until Nov. 1 against Carolina.
The Rams also avoided a blackout for their Week 5 game, against Minnesota. The Seahawks and 49ers were not in danger of blackouts.