No Sellout for Raiders, So Game Is Blacked Out

Times Staff Writer

The Raiders fell more than 19,000 tickets short of selling out Sunday's 1 p.m. playoff game against the New England Patriots, so it will not be televised locally by Channel 4.

As of 1 p.m. Friday, the deadline for lifting the blackout, the Raiders had sold 73,200 tickets. The capacity at the Coliseum is 92,516.

Al LoCasale, the Raiders' executive assistant, said Friday that there are plans to reduce the capacity of the Coliseum. He said after the Raiders and the Coliseum collect the more than $50 million in damages the courts have ordered the NFL to pay them, a renovation project that could be completed in one off-season should reduce the Coliseum capacity by 10,000 or more seats.

But in the meantime, the Coliseum remains a difficult stadium to sell out.

NBC, in a prepared statement, said: "NBC Sports is extremely disturbed that a major market like L.A. is being deprived of an important divisional playoff game."

The NBC statement also made reference to the network's paying "a significant amount of money" to televise the Raider-New England game. The statement added that when negotiations begin on the next NFL television contract, the issue of blacking out playoff games is something that will have to be addressed.

The current contract will expire after next season.

The other AFC playoff game this weekend, Cleveland at Miami today at 9:30 a.m., came very close to selling out Friday, and even though that was two days after the deadline for lifting the blackout, the NFL granted NBC permission to televise the game in the Miami area.

The Raider game is blacked out within a 75-mile radius of Los Angeles.

John Conte, owner and general manager of NBC affiliate KMIR-TV (36) in Palm Springs, said that his station will carry the Raider game. Channel 36 is available in most Palm Springs hotels on cable via Channel 6. The game also will be carried by NBC stations in San Diego, Bakersfield and San Luis Obispo.

Channel 2 is able to carry today's playoff game between the Rams and Dallas Cowboys at Anaheim at 1 p.m. because owner Georgia Frontiere agreed to buy between 2,000 and 3,000 remaining tickets.

Andi Sporkin, a spokeswoman for Channel 2, said her station would have bought the remaining tickets if Frontiere hadn't.

Because of the Raider blackout, Channel 2 has decided to televise Sunday's USC-Oregon basketball game at the Forum live at 2 p.m. The telecast had been scheduled to be shown on tape-delay at 4 p.m.

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