NEW YORK -- NFL fans whose local teams' games are blacked out will be able to watch replays online for free -- though not until after midnight.
The recession has left several teams in danger of having games blacked out this season, including the Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals this week. The league announced Thursday that home fans will be able to view the delayed broadcasts on NFL.com for 72 hours, except during "Monday Night Football."
A game is not aired in the home market if it does not sell out 72 hours in advance.
"We understand that the economy is limiting some families and corporations from buying as many game tickets as they had previously," commissioner Roger Goodell said in a release.
The Bengals and Cardinals each received 24-hour extensions Thursday as the teams tried to sell out their openers and avoid blackouts. Cincinnati plays the Denver Broncos and Arizona faces the San Francisco 49ers.
The defending NFC champion Cardinals said they had about 1,700 tickets remaining. They have sold out all 34 games played at University of Phoenix Stadium, which opened in 2006. But last January the team needed two extensions from the league to sell out its first home playoff game in Arizona.
The Bengals are coming off a 4-11-1 season that left many fans disgruntled about the direction of the franchise, which has one winning season in the last 18 years. The last time Cincinnati failed to sell out a game was November 2003.