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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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January 3rd, 2014
06:33 PM ET

Why NFL teams are begging fans to attend games

(CNN) - The Green Bay Packers announced Friday they sold out Sunday's playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers, with a little help from corporate sponsors who scooped up the remaining seats.

The team faced a deadline of 4 p.m. CT to sell out, before the game was blacked out in the Green Bay and Milwaukee markets – meaning fans would not have been able to watch the game in their own living rooms.

It's a troubling trend for the NFL, one that has now hit the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field, and the league's most-storied franchise.

As of Friday morning there were still plenty of seats available in Cincinnati, too, where players even appeared in an ad urging fans to show up.

ESPN reports that the Indianapolis Colts, who play in a brand new dome, finally sold out their game Friday morning, but only after a sponsor purchased the final 1,200 seats and donated them to military families.

Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise joins "The Lead" to discuss the NFL's struggling ticket sales.

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