It is official. The game this Sunday against the Broncos in Oakland will be blacked out in local markets due to not selling out prior to today's deadline.
This marks the first time since 2006, when the Raiders took over the ticket sales from Alameda county, that they have failed to sell out a division game.
In week one against the Chargers, the Raiders were given a one day extension and managed to sell-out the stadium in time to avoid a blackout.
This time there was no such extension given and despite the two team's bitter rivalry, they were unable to sell-out prior to the deadline.
The only other team in the NFL to be blacked out locally this weekend is the Detroit Lions in their game against the Redskins. That makes perfect sense considering the Lions have lost 19 straight. Lion fans have little interest in a non-division game against a mediocre Redskins team. And few Redskin fans are likely to want to make the trip to Ford Field to see it either.
The Raiders are a different story though. I mean seriously, after a great week one against the Chargers and coming off a win in Arrowhead against the Chiefs, you would think that the turnout for the hated Broncos would be a no brainer.
This wreaks of recession. A problem of which the NFL has shown little or no sympathy for. Oakland is a small market, blue collar town and even the most diehard fans have to take a long look at their finances and cut extravagances such as game tickets. If it is a choice between putting food on the table and watching a football game, the choice has to be simple. I mean, I have heard of "eating, sleeping, and breathing" your team, but that is not to be taken literally.
In the end though, this will not be seen as an economic problem but rather a Raiders and Lions problem. They will be bunched together like they have for the past couple of seasons. Two lowly franchises who can't find their way back to being competitive. Even though, what is the one city that screams the loudest in this recession? Detroit. As in General Motors. As in government bailouts.
And you know the Lions fans would still be there to watch their terrible team if they could afford it. As would the Raider fans, especially when the Broncos come to town.
Who is going to bail out the fans in this situation? Certainly not the high and mighty NFL.