Lions officially blacked out for Redskins
ALLEN PARK — A week after getting a last-minute reprieve — when the ticket office sold 4,000 tickets in a 48-hour span to lift the impending blackout for the home opener — selling more than twice that number proved to be too much of a miracle for the Lions to pull off this week.
With more than 10,000 tickets remaining as of Wednesday afternoon, the Lions conceded that they’d not achieved a sellout by Thursday’s 1 p.m. deadline, meaning that Sunday’s game against the Washington Redskins will not be shown on television in the Metro Detroit, Lansing, Toledo and Saginaw/Flint markets. Fox-2 in Detroit will instead air the Vikings-49ers game at 1 p.m.
“I think it’s safe to say at this point that we will be blacked out this weekend,” Lions president Tom Lewand said nearly an hour before the deadline. “I will say this: Our team of salespeople has done a great job, and we’re getting the word out. We’ve advertised more than we ever have before. We’ve had people working the phones, and out there, and obviously did a great job last week, getting the Minnesota game sold out, and the blackout lifted. And it’s our hope that we can continue along those lines. We knew this one would be tough. “We’ve had a lot of challenges, and our focus is trying to sell those games, but the most important focus is trying to win games, and there’s no better way to sell tickets than to win.”
With the Lions (0-2) sitting on a 19-game losing skid, that challenge has been harder and harder to meet. Five of the Lions’ last six home games were blacked out, starting with last year’s contest against the Redskins. That first blackout broke a 50-game streak of sellouts to start the Lions’ tenancy at Ford Field.
“It is on us, because it’s our job to win, and our job to get fans excited, and to give them a reason to come to the game,” said first-year head coach Jim Schwartz. “When we do that, then we won’t have to worry about blackouts, and sellouts or anything. We’ll have to worry about how we’re going to get enough tickets for our friends and families that want to come to the game.”
If you still want to watch the game, it will be available as part of the NFL Game Rewind package on NFL.com, after midnight on Sunday. You can also keep tabs on the game with The Oakland Press' live blog, at www.theoaklandpress.com