FLOWERY BRANCH – Buoyed by a victory over the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, the Falcons game against the 0-3 San Francisco 49ers was soldout by Thursday’s 4 p.m. deadline and will not be blocked out local, per league rules.
The game, set for 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome, will be televised on Fox with Dick Stockton handling the play-by-play, Charles Davis and Jim Mora serving as color analysts and Laura Okmin as the sideline reporter.
Local NFL blackouts are triggered when a game does not sell out within 72 hours of kickoff.
There will be at least two blackout this week as San Diego and Oakland failed to sellout. St. Louis asked for a 24-hour extension with the hopes of selling their final 6,000 tickets. Through Week Four there will be at least six blackouts. Last season, there were 22 blackouts league-wide, a five-year high.
In 2007, the Falcons had two games blacked out. A midseason game against San Francisco snapped a streak of 56 consecutive sellouts dating to 2002 and Arthur Blank’s purchase of the franchise. The season finale against Seattle also was blacked out.
Coming off that 4-12 season, the Falcons struggled to sell out games early in 2008. The Falcons’ season opener against Detroit required local sponsors to purchase tickets to ensure the game would be televised locally. The team struggled to sell out its second home game against Kansas City but did so just prior to the deadline.
As the team progressed to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth in 2008, blackouts have not been a serious issue.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank recently addressed the team’s ticket situation in a Q & A with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“We had fairly good renewals this year,” Blank said. “They were not as high as in the past, but they were fairly good. What we are excited about is that we had about 10,000 fans step up and buy new season packages from us. In this situation, we try to be very thoughtful about our ticket prices. About 27 percent of our tickets were held flat. About 15 percent went down. We offered a variety of packages, as many as 10 different packages, that fans could select from. We had different areas and price points that made sense for them and their families.”