Blackout lifted for Colts-Chargers

SAN DIEGO -- The Chargers avoided becoming the first team in more than a decade not to have a "Monday Night Football" home game televised locally in their market.

A day after applying for and receiving a 24-hour extension to try and sell nearly 9,000 tickets, the team announced on Saturday that a group of local sponsors, along with ESPN, guaranteed the purchase of enough tickets to lift the local television blackout for Monday night's game against the Indianapolis Colts at Qualcomm Stadium.

The game kicks off at 8:40 p.m. ET. It will be televised nationally by ESPN, and also will be seen on San Diego's KUSI-TV.

"ESPN is pleased to have avoided the blackout and we are happy to work with local military and charitable organizations in San Diego to distribute a portion of the tickets to individuals and families who otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend the game," said Doug White, ESPN's senior director of programming and acquisitions.

Among the other companies helping buy tickets were two restaurants in which Chargers President Dean Spanos owns stock.

A similar arrangement was necessary last year to avoid a blackout of a game against Kansas City shown on the NFL Network.

According to the Chargers, approximately 8,500 general tickets as well as several hundred club seats remain available.

The last MNF game subjected to a blackout was the final game of the 1999 season, when the Atlanta Falcons hosted the San Francisco 49ers.

The Chargers had four blackouts last year, when they finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the third straight season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.