Chargers game blacked out – NFL upset at local bars for airing game

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First it was the San Diego Padres not selling enough tickets. Now it’s the San Diego Chargers.


After not having a home game blacked out since 2004, the Chargers have had two blacked out so far this season. Why?

Because fans just aren’t buying enough tickets.

According to NFL rules, a game that isn’t sold out 72 hours prior to kickoff isn’t to be televised within the home team’s media market. Not even restaurants or bars are allowed to legally air the game.

But that didn’t stop them.

According to an interview conducted by the The San Diego Union-Tribune, NFL spokesman Dan Masonson said they received reports of bars and restaurants airing San Diego’s game Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. This came after the NFL sent letters to establishments across San Diego, warning that showing the game would be a copyright infringement and a violation of the NFL’s rights. This, according to the NFL, is punishable up to $150,000 plus additional fees.

Despite the game being blacked out, both individuals and bars had access to live streaming of all NFL games on websites such as, and

When asked if McGregor’s Grill and Ale House near Qualcomm Stadium showed the game, part-owner Ian Linekin said it wasn’t worth it.

“Not with a $150,000 penalty hanging over our head,” Linekin said. “That would be stupid.”

“I know that some other bars showed it, but we didn’t. They’re going to get into some trouble.”

While the NFL is cracking down on bars and websites displaying blacked-out games, advantageous Charger fans can rest easy.

According to an interview conducted by 10News with San Diego attorney Dan Gilleon, the NFL would have a hard time targeting individuals viewing blacked-out games for legal action.

“There is no statutory law, there is no act that was ever passed by Congress and there is no case out there where a court has interpreted any of these laws to say that an individual viewer watching a game on YouTube or at a bar is in anyway liable for copyright infringement,” said Gilleon.

San Diego’s next home game will be against the New England Patriots on Oct. 24.

Photo by Dirk Hensen via Flickr


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