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Bengals granted a 24-hour extension to avoid blackout; to show blacked-out games for free in blacked-out markets

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Not long after we referenced growing support for lifting the NFL's blackout policy, it's being reported that the Cincinnati Bengals were granted a 24-hour extension.

The NFL's decision to extend the Bengals' 24 hours to sell out tickets by 1 p.m. Friday is encouraging news for a team seeking its 45th straight sellout that will keep the game on Channel 12 in Cincinnati, Channel 7 in Dayton, Ohio, and Channel 27 in Lexington, Ky.

Indications are that they are still more than about 4,000 tickets away from a sellout.

"We know it's important to all of our fans to have our games available on live local television," said Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn in a press release. "And of course, we're excited about the prospect of having a full house cheering for us when we take the field against the Broncos, so we are making every effort to reach this goal."

One could argue that the Bengals are closing in on a sellout, or that the league is handing out extensions to all games without a sellout because of the general struggle people may be having in regards to the nation's economy. Either way, the new deadline is Friday at 1 PM. However, even if the game is blacked-out, one reader points out that will show blacked-out games for free inside the local market (viewing area, not Bob's Vegetable Stand).

The league's new NFL Game Rewind package on will make all games available on an on-demand, subscription basis throughout the 2009 regular and postseason. However, games blacked out locally for failing to sell out 72 hours in advance will be available on at no cost in the affected home markets.

These free "re-broadcasts" locally of blacked-out games will be available at beginning at midnight on the day of the game and remain available for 72 hours (except during ESPN Monday Night Football telecasts).

"We understand that the economy is limiting some families and corporations from buying as many game tickets as they had previously," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "These free re-broadcasts on will allow our fans that can't get to a blacked-out game an opportunity to see the entire game."