CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati restaurateur Jeff Ruby announced Thursday that he is supporting the Cincinnati Bengals push to sellout Sunday's playoff game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium by purchasing a block of 100 tickets as part of a local business challenge.
Ruby will donate the entire block of tickets to the AFTA Cincinnati (Armed Forces Ticket Association) so military families can attend the game.
"It's important for local business leaders to support the Cincinnati Bengals as they play their first playoff home game so we can leverage the national and local television attention on our city," said Ruby, founder of Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment. "I challenge other local CEOs to purchase a block of 100 tickets to share with their employees or non-profits like AFTA so we can avoid the blackout."
In fact, television blackouts during the post-season are a very rare occurrence. There hasn't been one since 2002 when Miami hosted Baltimore in a wildcard game.
"You think about the taxpayer subsidies at Paul Brown Stadium and the price of tickets. It's just pretty outrageous that the NFL continues, it's sticking to a policy like this," said Sen. Sherrod Brown [D-OH].
The policy has drawn criticism from members of Congress, but according to Brown, not to a level of legislation.
"I don't think Congress wants to do anything here. I think we have more important things to do than to slap the NFL, but the NFL ought to do the right thing," he added.
Newsday sports columnist Neil Best believes any blackout will hurt the league.
"One or two or all three of those games that are blacked out obviously is going to be a black eye for the NFL, so to speak, and cause a huge uproar to those cities," Best said. "Really what it's going to do is fuel a movement that is already going on to end the blackout rule entirely."
And that's exactly what Jeff Ruby wants to see.
Businesses who wish to purchase the blocks of tickets as part of the local business challenge should contact the Bengals' Jeff Berding at 513-621-8383.
Ruby has also started using the #BengalsSellout on Twitter to encourage others to share the message.