Thursday afternoon the Cincinnati Bengals were given an extension to sellout their home playoff game Saturday against the San Diego Chargers or face a black out. The NFL extended the deadline until 4pm ET Friday afternoon. At last count the Bengals still had around 2,000 tickets to sell.
Why can’t the Bengals sell out their playoff game? They only went 8-0 at home, selling out every game. In reality there are a multitude of reasons as to why the Bengals have needed an extension.
First reason, the Bengals have been one and done in the last two seasons in the Playoffs. It is hard to sell your fan base on the fact that this year is going to be different. In 2011 and 2012 the Bengals collapsed against the Houston Texans. Last season Houston played arguably their worst game of the season that was still good enough to beat Cincinnati who played even worse. So there lies the first problem, convincing the fans that they will not be wasting their money only to watch the team lose.
Second reason, the price of tickets from last week to this week have increased. I just went to the Bengals ticket site, the get in price is $96.25 for a seat in the 342 section of the stadium in the 32nd row. So nosebleeds cost roughly $100 a ticket. Why? Because it is the playoffs? That is an awful reason, the NFL needs to understand the product on the field is the same in Week 17 as it is in the Wild Card round of the Playoffs. Someone that paid $46 last week isn’t going to pay double this week for the same seat.
Third reason, the weather. In Cincinnati on Sunday the temperature is going to be in the high 20′s with 100% chance of snow and rain. Not to mention the low for Sunday night is 2 degrees, so the temperature will be dropping during the game. So why would you want to go to the game when you could stay at home in your warm house and watch from the couch? The NFL does not understand that.
The biggest problem with the threat of a blackout from the NFL is the fact that the game is being played in a taxpayer funded stadium. That is like buying a kitchen table that seats four but you can’t use it because there are only two of you. It makes absolutely no sense. The NFL fails to realize that without the fans building their franchises new stadiums the NFL would likely be tied with Baseball as the most popular sport in America.
As of 4pm Thursday the Bengals still needed to sell 2,000 tickets. Restauranteur Jeff Ruby bought 100 tickets Thursday morning and urged other business owners to as well. Former Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson tweeted yesterday he would buy the remaining tickets, there is still a possibility he could do that. At the end of the day are 2,000 tickets in a stadium that seats 65,535 people really that noticeable? No it is not.
When it comes right down to it the NFL is being greedy. Local businesses are counting on their commercials being ran during the game, with a blackout there goes their advertisement but the NFL and the team still receive their TV money.
If you can and want to go to the game check out the Bengals Ticket Office or Stubhub.