Meijer Supermarkets Buys 1,200 Remaining Tickets for Saturday’s Colts Game to Avoid Local Television Blackout
Colts fans in the city of Indianapolis who made the decision not to buy tickets for Saturday's home playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs will for sure be able to watch the game from the comfort of their recliner thanks to supermarket chain, Meijer who saved the day at the last minute by buying the remaining 1,200 tickets. What's more impressive is what they intend to do with them.
NFL policy on blackouts states that a team must sell 85 percent of their tickets for any given home game by 4:30PM local time on Wednesday of that week to avoid a blackout in their market. Teams can request an 24-hour extension if it appears that deadline won't be met. In the case of this Saturday's game at Lucas Oil Stadium, the league granted a second 24-hour extension due to the New Year's Day holiday on Wednesday. Blackout rules only apply to the team's home city, not outlying areas, so we Colts fans here in the Evansville area still would have been able to catch the game regardless of whether or not the deadline had been met.
Why fans have been hesitant to buy tickets for the first home playoff game in Indianapolis since the Peyton Manning era ended nearly two years ago is unclear (the team's one and only playoff game last season was in Baltimore). However you have to think that price is 99.9% of it. Despite the fact that Lucas Oil Stadium is an indoor stadium, weather could also be a factor in this case as the bitter cold winds and snow we're expected to see here in the Evansville area over the weekend has already hit Indy. Having already received six-plus inches of snow, Sunday's forecast calls for more with a high in the lower 20's and a windchill in the negative teens. This of course has a major effect on fans travel plans, which could be prompting more fans to choose to stay home and catch the game on TV.
Up until earlier Friday, just hours before the second deadline extension, that wouldn't have even been an option had Meijer not stepped in. If you're first instinct would be to think they're going to provide them to their employees, you'd be wrong. While that would certainly be a nice gesture, the Michigan-based supermarket chain has opted instead to donate the tickets to members of the military and their families. According to the Indianapolis Colts Facebook page, the Indiana National Guard will handle the distribution of tickets. It's unclear as to whether or not those tickets are available through all National Guard posts in the state or just the Indianapolis posts. You're best bet to find out would be to call the Evansville post at (812) 469-4021 and ask.
If you're not a member of the military, but would still like to go to the game, the visiting Kansas City Chiefs have returned 300 of the tickets they were allotted which are available online through Ticketmaster.