No Tickets for You! Patriots, 49ers Fans Banned from Buying NFL Playoff Tickets

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Rich Johnson of Spectacle Photo / Getty Images

Now that next week’s NFL playoff schedule is set, tickets are on sale and in high demand. But they’re only available to fans of the home team.

That’s the idea anyway behind the ticket-selling strategy of the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, the two teams that are hosting, respectively, the NFC and AFC Championship games on Sunday, January 19. The host teams have no ironclad means of detecting the allegiance of any particular fan buying tickets to a game, and therefore it’s not entirely possible to only sell to homers. Instead, the official ticket-sales channels stipulate that only customers who have billing addresses in the vicinity of the host team may buy seats for next weekend’s games, which will determine who plays in the Super Bowl.

As the Denver Post explained, tickets for the Broncos-Patriots game at Sports Authority Field in Denver go on sale on Monday via Ticketmaster, but only for fans who live “in the Rocky Mountain states, including Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Montana, South Dakota and Western Kansas.” That means anyone living in Massachusetts, Connecticut, or anywhere other than a few hours’ drive of Denver is essentially banned from purchasing tickets from the main sales outlet.

Likewise, as the San Jose Mercury News reported, the Seahawks announced, “Tickets will be available to fans with a billing address in WA, OR, MT, ID, AK, HI and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta,” and also that “ticket availability is limited and expected to sell quickly.” So if you’re a from the Bay area, home base for diehard 49ers fans, or if your credit card billing address is anywhere other than those listed above, you’re out of luck.

(MORE: Football Encounters Its Biggest Rival: The Couch)

The reason behind the billing code stipulation is pretty obvious: Host teams want their stadiums to be packed with their fans, not those of the visiting squad. Crazed fans are known to travel all over the country and beyond to see their teams compete in playoff games. But it’s embarrassing and beyond annoying for a team to be playing at home and yet not enjoy a full home-field advantage because too many “outsiders” have managed to get hold of tickets. See the Baltimore Ravens fans celebrating last year after beating the Patriots on their home turf in the playoffs last year as a prime example. “One section in the corner, across the way, all you could see was purple,” one Ravens fan said a year ago, when the team from Baltimore went on the road to beat the Patriots and earn a spot in the Super Bowl.

What’s more, teams like the Seahawks have a huge advantage playing at home because their stadiums are so loud, thanks to Seattle fans making noise—and making it all but impossible for visiting teams to function as they’d like. Allowing tens of thousands of 49er fans to take up space in Seattle’s CenturyLink Field could diminish this advantage the Seahawks enjoy at home.

Earlier rounds of the NFL playoffs had no such billing address stipulations because, well, beggars can’t be choosers. Leading up the Wild Card playoff game weekend, three of the four host teams were struggling to sell out stadiums and local fans even faced TV blackouts because of it. NFL franchises weren’t about to limit who could buy tickets; they were happy to take the money of anyone willing to pay up. Due to high demand for the two upcoming playoff games, host teams are in no such position, so they can try to pick and choose who is “worthy” of buying seats.

Patriots and 49ers fans aren’t completely blocked from purchasing tickets, however. They may not be able to buy through Ticketmaster, but they can buy on the secondary market. As the Niners Nation blog explained, “While the Seahawks are blocking California (and other states) residents from purchasing tickets on Ticketmaster, you can still purchase tickets through NFL Ticket Exchange, Stubhub, TiqIQ and other such sites. The cheapest ticket I’ve found is $380, but hopefully some decent deals will slip through.”

(MORE: Why Millions of NFL Fans Might Not Be Able to Watch Their Team’s Playoff Games)

According to TiqIQ data, as of Monday Seattle holds the edge of Denver in terms of priciest tickets on the secondary market. The average sale price for Sunday’s game in Seattle is $688.14, compared to $579.22 for the game in Denver. The cheapest seats going, meanwhile, are reportedly $365 in Denver and $381 in Seattle.

20 comments
KristineSchmidt
KristineSchmidt

Look, No one is saying people in California can not go to the game or get tickets to the game. The block was put on so that individuals in a certain mile radius would be able to get tickets to the game that could and actually would go to the game. Not some other people outside the state not interested in going to the game but merely trying to buy tickets with the sole and main purposed to double there money by reselling through a third part vendor. So in the words of a famous new anchor.. "There are still over 5,000 tickets to this weekends playoff game available through NFL ticket exchange and Stub hub so put your money where your mouth is or STOP YOUR WHINING". The Bronco's did the same thing and not everyone is freaking out for the Patriots.

AmyFoster
AmyFoster

Why isn't only the 49er fans are complaining.  I don't see any Pats fans whining.  Apparently it is common practice in the playoffs.  I am a Seahawks fan and I wasn't able to buy tickets either because I don't live in the PNW.

omazopp
omazopp

What's next ?  No opposing schools will be allowed to have fanx from the other teams in the stands.  Come one people this is a game.  What are we teaching our children.

omazopp
omazopp

This is unsportsman like conduct.  Each home team should start the game with a fifteen yard penalty.


RobC
RobC

As with all things, this will start a trend that the respective clubs aren't thinking through.  Come next year when the 49ers restrict tickets and Seahawks fans can't go to a playoff game will be the retaliation.  A couple years down the road when the Patriots, realizing they have more fans than seats pretty much all the time, decide that they won't open up sales to non-New Englanders until a week before regular season games...fans will bitch and moan from other visiting teams claiming elitism (as the Pats deal with so often heh).  Mark the calendar and remember to blame Manning, Carroll and crews for this fiasco :)

MichaelShoard
MichaelShoard

why not simply do like football here in Europe (and any other team sport) and have an allocation for away fans who have to buy them through their club?!

Smokin'Joe
Smokin'Joe

You dumb ass. Don't you know that the Seahawks had to "earn"home-field advantage? The players and coaches worked so incredibly hard and smart throughout the entire season, they deserve" home-field advantage now that they're in the playoffs. It's not a game if there's only one side? There will be an equal number of players on each side of the field and........oh, I just noticed your name. You are a chick! Just hand me another beer, more chips, and shut your pie hole until after the game sweetheart!

Izzie
Izzie

Such negativity.  Instead of fans being ecstatic that their respective teams  made it this far, people are behaving badly. But attempting to hoard tickets to keep the competitor's fans out is ridiculous. I grew up with the 49ers; my best friend's father coached running backs there during the Montana era there.   And I am a fan of Seahawks' Russell Wilson, but some of  this nonsense of restrictive selling of tickets sounds over the top.  I live in Seattle now, but my I love my 49ers and Harbaugh went to my high school.   I know one thing for sure it is not a game if there is only one side.  People need to get over it! Embrace the game, your side, but da**, keep all in perspective.  Rivalry is one thing, insanity is another.

PreferredSeat
PreferredSeat

The odds are even most Seattle fans got shut out because very few tickets were even released to the general public. Stubhub isn't the only option on the secondary market. http://www.preferredseat.com has been around since 1987 and you ticket prices are often cheaper because of lower overhead. 

tickget
tickget

Although it's annoying to out-of-area residents who want to attend the games, it won't shut out competing fans completely. The secondary ticket market is so robust, fans will have opportunities to buy tickets even if they're more expensive, according to http://tickget.com/nfl-playoffs/

Sparrow55
Sparrow55

I, for one, am ok with Patriot fans having a tough time getting tickets to the AFC championship next weekend.  The roads in and around Denver are already overrun with tourists here to ski or get stoned (or both).  The last thing we need is a flood of drunk Bostonians thrown into the mix with the drunk Broncos fans.  


cbwell17
cbwell17

A lot of teams have done the same thing.....I live near San Francisco and an NOT a niner fan. I am already so sick of the niner fans acting like its a conspiracy against THEM.  Even the local news stations last night admitted San Francisco has done the same thing in the past, but of course that part of the story was buried under the headline news.

cjh2nd
cjh2nd

"What’s more, teams like the Seahawks have a huge advantage playing at home because their stadiums are so loud, thanks to Seattle fans making noise—and making it all but impossible for visiting teams to function as they’d like. Allowing tens of thousands of 49er fans to take up space in Seattle’s CenturyLink Field could diminish this advantage the Seahawks enjoy at home."

you mean that letting 49ers fans into the game might take away a little bit of home field advantage and require the teams to play a more evenly-matched game?!?! the horror!

seriously mr. tuttle, you clearly aren't a sports fan (and you're a fooking moron) if you truly believe the idiocy you've published here

StevetotheH
StevetotheH

@omazopp Well obviously not how to write legible sentences. Hopefully you don't teach children. 


@AmyFoster What does,"Why isn't only the 49er fans are complaining." mean? Massive contradiction for such a small sentence.

StevetotheH
StevetotheH

@RobC Next year when 49er tickets are restricted? You must be talking preseason games as there is no way the 49ers will make it to the NFC championship game next year. Nothing better than watching Kaeperdick just chuck balls at anything that moves. Real questionable decision making when he goes to throw. 

StevetotheH
StevetotheH

@Izzie How hard is it to write a legible sentence? Of course there is negativity, 49ers fans are almost as good as Raider fans at acting like punks. The 49ers have the advantage of having a punk quarterback to help them along. 'I'm a man and I'm going to make a commercial that says so.' Your Beats audio cans won't drown out the poor play making decisions.