Surge in ticket sales helps Vikings avoid local TV blackout

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Fans purchased more than 20,000 tickets to Minnesota's playoff game over six days, assuring there will be no local TV blackout when the Vikings host Philadelphia at the Metrodome on Sunday.

The Vikings announced the sales results Saturday afternoon for their wild-card playoff game with the Eagles after moving the remaining 3,100 seats that were still unsold the day before. There were a limited number of tickets remaining for the game, including some returned by the Eagles.

The NFL gave the Vikings two extensions, the second until Saturday -- 24 hours before kickoff -- after they sold about 5,000 seats from Thursday to Friday.

Only about 55 percent of the 55,000 season-ticket holders chose to buy playoff tickets, leaving the large supply. This extended the team's sellout streak to a rather tenuous 115 games. The last blackout was for the Vikings' last game of the 1997 regular season.

Vikings vice president for sales and marketing Steve LaCroix said there was no help from corporate sponsors or the local Fox affiliate, as there has been in the past for regular-season games with a few hundred tickets left to sell.

"It was all the fans. The fans get all the credit," LaCroix said. "We needed that extra time, and the league was very accommodating."

The Eagles ran an ad on their Web site this week, encouraging fans to travel to Minnesota and "paint the Metrodome green."

LaCroix declined to offer an estimate of how many Eagles fans ultimately bought tickets, but said there weren't any "bulk purchases" by businesses in the Philadelphia area. Eagles fans traditionally travel well, so there's sure to be some vocal support for the visiting team on Sunday afternoon.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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