When I lived in Cleveland it was even worse than Cincinnati. I attended the infamous "beer bottle game" against Jacksonville. It is the only time in my life where I sincerely feared for my safety at a sporting event.
Even with the alcoholic experience, if it looks like a game isn't going to sell out, it gets blacked out in the local area. Once the announcement is made, people either buy tickets or companies purchase an allotment to give to employees.
And of course, if the game does get blacked out, then HDTV really doesn't help (unless you live outside of the blackout restricted area).
The blackout policy is why teams with horrendous owners (aka the Bengals) can still make a profit even when their team is in the toilet. If the Reds have a bad season, fan support drops and attendance plummets. Not the case with the NFL.
Hmmm, Indy is a winning, well run organization and has a good fan environment. Cincy and Cleveland, two poorly run, losing organizations with drunk fan problems. I see a pattern here. Its the old "tone at the top" dynamic at work.
Can't win with 'em
Can't win without 'em