The National Football League has extended the deadline for 24 hours to avoid a local television blackout for the Minnesota Vikings' playoff game.
The Vikings announced this afternoon that they have 3,100 tickets remaining to be sold and that the NFL has extended the deadline until 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
If the Minnesota Vikings are unable to sell the remaining tickets for Sunday's home playoff game, a "blackout" preventing televised play of the game would definitely affect the Willmar viewing area.
The Vikings will play the Philadelphia Eagles at 3:30 p.m. in a game that is set to be televised on the FOX network.
Willmar area viewers obtain the FOX network through Minneapolis-based KMSP-TV. Because the channel is headquartered in Minneapolis, Willmar area viewers would be unable to watch the game on television.
Satellite TV users in the region would also likely be blackouted as much of the region falls within the Twin Cities television region.
Viking fans with access to the FOX affiliate from Fargo-Moorhead will see the first-round playoff contest against the Philadelphia Eagles, said Jim Shaw, news director at KVRR-TV, the Fargo-Moorhead FOX TV affiliate.
"It's our expectation that if there was (a blackout), it would not affect us," Shaw said today. "We fully expect to carry the game whether they sell enough tickets or not, whether they decide to black it out or not."
The NFL can decide not to show - or "blackout" - a home game on a team's local television station if they don't sell out the tickets available at the stadium. Blackouts are used to encourage ticket sales.
As of Thursday, the Vikings still had 8,000 tickets remaining for Sunday's game, according to the Star Tribune.
Their deadline to the sell the tickets is 3:30 p.m. today, but the team has hopes that the NFL will grant an extension, as it did for the Arizona vs. Atlanta game, according to the Star Tribune.
The Bemidji Pioneer and The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead contributed to this story.