After concern (and down right nervousness) that the Cincinnati Bengals wouldn't sell out their home playoff game against the San Diego Chargers, which would force a local TV blackout, the Bengals have announced that the game has finally sold out.
The team had some help with local companies, which we'll highlight in a minute. Cincinnati announced the sellout about an hour prior to the 4 p.m. deadline on Friday.
It was clear last week that the team was concerned that Sunday's game wouldn't sell out when they announced that "well over" 10,000 unsold tickets remained on the Thursday after Christmas. The number was closer to 15,000.
The game will be shown live on channel 12 in Cincinnati, channel 7 in Dayton and channel 27 in Lexington (and it will be available via CBSSports.com now too).
The Bengals received a ton of help from local companies. Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati Insurance Company, Cintas, United Dairy Farmers, Liberty Mutual/Safeco, WCPO/Scripps and Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, who have helped provide tickets to military families through the Armed Forces Ticket Association (AFTA).
Cincinnati announced that more than 1,200 tickets were purchased by Kroger, who are planning to distribute them to U.S. Military veterans and active-duty military personnel on Saturday.
P&G and its brands—Tide, Gillette, Cover Girl and Bounty—have stepped up to purchase the remaining available tickets. The tickets will be added to the complimentary tickets Kroger is giving away this weekend to local military families who can attend the game and cheer on the Bengals.
“We are happy to do our part to help sell out the Bengals game and give back to those who have served us through the military,” Matt Hollenkamp, of P&G Sports Marketing, said in a news release.
“On behalf of the entire Bengals organization, I want to thank Procter & Gamble and Kroger for their great leadership, helping the team and Cincinnati region get the game sold out and on television for everyone,” said Katie Blackburn, Bengals executive vice president. “Through the efforts from many of our business partners and fans across the region who stepped forward to buy tickets, our team is sure to have a great homefield advantage Sunday.”
For those of you planning to watch the game on TV in Cincinnati, perhaps buy something from everyone that pitched in this weekend in appreciation for stepping up. And kudos to Jeff Berding, Andrew Brown and the team's staff for getting this done, allowing an entire city to watch their home team possibly break a streak without a postseason win.