Chargers could face 3rd blackout this season

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Chargers announced Tuesday that 12,000 tickets for Sunday’s home game against the Cincinnati Bengals need to be sold to avoid a local television blackout.

If they aren’t sold by early Thursday afternoon, the telecast would be blacked out in Southern California for the second week in a row under National Football League policy. Pricier club level seats are exempted from the NFL’s television rules.

It would be the third time this season local fans would not be able to see a Chargers home game. Interest has waned during a 4-7 season and fan frustration over an off-season decision by team president Dean Spanos to retain coach Norv Turner and general manager A.J. Smith.

Last week’s 16-13 overtime loss to Baltimore and an early season 27-3 setback to Atlanta were also unavailable on local television. Ticket purchases by area companies helped the Chargers avoid a fourth blackout, against Kansas City.

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