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Bud Light Bailout Stops Jaguars NFL Blackout

Stocks in this article: BUD CBS

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ( MainStreet) -- Call it the Bud Light Bailout.

For the third home game in a row, the Jacksonville Jaguars needed an extension from the NFL after failing to sell all of the tickets for their upcoming home game against the Cincinnati Bengals 72 hours before kickoff. The team and Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD) have teamed up to buy back the more than 3,300 remaining tickets to Sunday's game for 34% of face value and plan to distribute them to fans 21 years of age or older through local charities and radio partners.

For the third home game in a row, the Jacksonville Jaguars needed a ticket-selling extension from the NFL to avoid a home-market TV blackout.

It's pretty clear what's at stake for A-B here. Faltering ticket sales mean less beer sales at the stadium and fewer folks at home watching beer commercials on CBS (CBS). Anheuser-Busch Inbev already paid more than $1 billion to end MolsonCoors' (TAP) eight-year grip on the NFL and become its official beer sponsor for the next six years, then had to shell out even more in Week 3 to buy 1,200 tickets at Bank of America Stadium and keep the Carolina Panthers from being blacked out in their home market.

The question is: Will they be rewarded for their investment? Jacksonville Jaguars fans were pretty upset in 2009 when seven of the team's eight home games were blacked out after fans stayed away en masse as a result of the economic crisis that sent Jacksonville unemployment percentages into the teens. They got so prickly about it that when the city and organization rallied for ticket sales last year, fans responded by selling out the full slate of home games for the Jaguars' 8-8 season.

With Jacksonville unemployment still hovering around 11%, the team foundering at 1-3 and the Jaguars' quarterback questions still lacking answers after quarterbacks Luke McCown and Blaine Gabbert went for two touchdown passes and six interceptions in the past four games, suddenly the Jaguars' ticket situation looks a little more shaky.

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