The Lions-Packers game this Sunday will air live on TV in the Detroit area thanks to furniture company Gardner-White. As of this evening, there were still 3,100 tickets remaining for Sunday's game, but Gardner-White decided to buy all of them to make sure fans can watch the game.
Even though the blackout has been lifted, you still have to imagine that this sent a message to the ownership that fans aren't happy. I doubt the message will have an effect on anything, but at least some fans let the Lions know that they're not going to pay to watch a mediocre team.
As far as I know, no company has had to buy unsold tickets prior to this occurrence. There were a few times last season where the Lions were close to being blacked out, but they always got rid of the tickets, sometimes after receiving a 24-hour extension to reach sellout status by the NFL.
The reason a company like Gardner-White had to step in is because, as far as I know, there have never been over 3,000 tickets unsold this close to a game. Last year there were usually around 500-1,000 tickets still for sale when the Lions came close to a blackout, but they were all sold. For Sunday's game, though, it was becoming obvious that the Lions weren't going to reach a sellout on their own, so that's why Gardner-White decided to step in. They get good publicity for buying the tickets and get their name mentioned in news stories about the blackout being lifted.