If most places had weather as gorgeous as San Diego's tends to be around this time of year, with an average high of 74 degrees and still plenty of sunshine, maybe their fans would want to spend less time cooped up in a stadium wearing replica jerseys, too. The problem is that Chargers fans aren't too sure where their team will be from year to year. The Chargers have made it plain they want a new stadium and the NFL's backed their efforts, saying it won't put another Super Bowl in San Diego until they leave Qualcomm (QCOM) Stadium.
San Diego and the Chargers have failed to get business partners to buy into their plans for an $800 million facility amid recent economic instability, but neighboring communities in Chula Vista, Escondido and Oceanside have made plays for the Chargers since. Chula Vista was even so bold as to recommend changing the team name to the Chula Vista Chargers if the city built a stadium for the team. Such instability is no way to fill early season seats, but at least this blackout looks like an anomaly with the Chargers' next home matchups against the Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders in November expected to sell out.
The same can't be said in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Bengals just gave CBS a bit of bad news by failing to sell out Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills and handing fans their sixth-straight home game blackout. Franchise quarterback Carson Palmer's repeated absence and the team's 1-2 record during it certainly haven't helped matter, nor has the excellent memory of the Cincinnati faithful. Last year at this time, Cincinnati fans had both the Cincinnati Reds in baseball's playoffs and a Bengals team with Palmer, star wide recivers Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens and a 2-1 record heading into October.
This year the Pittsburgh Pirates spent more time atop the AL Central than the Reds, who missed the playoffs entirely, and the relatively faceless Bengals' only sign of life thus far has been a season-opening hiccup against the Cleveland Browns and some "extracurricular activity" by the team's starting running back and wide receiver. If you're potential ticket buyer in Cincinnati deciding how best to invest your sports dollar, what a difference a year makes.-- Written by Jason Notte in Boston.
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