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Vikings face possible blackout; thousands of playoff tickets still up for grabs
New Year's Day, football and JJ's Clubhouse. For Mark Sculati and Jay Griep, it's about as good as it gets.
Already, the two are predicting a big win for the Vikings this Sunday. Not that they'll be in the dome watching it. They -- like so many people -- have their reasons for staying home, instead.
"Everybody's got flat-screened T.V.s. It's so nice watching it from the living room on HDTV rather than going to the dome," said Sculati. "I think the economy, I think that has a lot to do with it, why they aren't selling out," said Griep.
Whatever the reason, as of noon Thursday, the Vikings had eight thousand tickets left to sell for their first playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday. The deadline for selling the remaining tickets is 3:30 p.m. Friday.
"We're cautiously optimistic. We have a lot of work to do in the next 24 hours," said Steve LaCroix, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Minnesota Vikings. LaCroix says the holidays definitely distracted fans -- preventing them from buying playoff tickets.
But he realizes season ticket holders are also not coming through with purchases. At one point, only 55 percent of season ticket holders were buying playoff tickets. Still, he says, that trend is both costly and convenient for fans hoping to score a few good seats.
"Really the post season is where some really special things can happen. Maybe we did qualify for the playoffs on the last day, but we still won the division. Still hosting the first round game," LaCroix said.
Besides taking a toll on the team's morale, if thousands of tickets remain unclaimed, viewers at home could face a blackout. And, LaCroix says, fans at the dome a greenout.
"I know in Philadelphia there's an active movement to get some of their fans to come to the Twin Cities for the weekend. We want to keep it purple and a home field advantage," LaCroix said.
In the past, the T.V. station that broadcasts the game has stepped in at the last minute to buy the remaining unsold tickets. But LaCroix says stations have previously only purchased about a thousand tickets.
On Thursday night, Fox 9 News, which is airing the game on Sunday, did not comment on what the station plans to do.
Meantime, the team hopes fans come forward before anyone else to ensure a home team advantage during the first home playoff game in eight years.
The team is also clarifying a misconception among fans about having to buy all playoff tickets ahead of time. LaCroix says the team has a "Pay As You Play" program which allows the team to charge a fan's credit card only if the team advances.
Fans who buy their tickets by check will need to request a refund from the team, otherwise the money will go toward tickets for next season.
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