The Cincinnati Bengals announced on Monday that over 10,000 unsold tickets remaining for Sunday's playoff game against the San Diego Chargers. While the team says that sales were good on Monday, the team has a lot of work to do before Thursday's black out deadline.
"We had a good day but it is just going to have to continue through the night and hopefully continue to have a strong response over the next couple days," said Director of Sales and Public Affairs Jeff Berding. "It can’t let up. We have to continue to have the type of day we had today every day this week."
If the Bengals fail to sell out, Cincinnati will be honored with having the third known black out for a playoff game and the first since '02 when Miami hosted the Ravens. The other was the Greatest Comeback in playoff history between the Houston Oilers and Buffalo Bills.
The Bengals aren't alone.
According to Bob Kravitz with the Indianapolis Star, the Indianapolis Colts still have over 7,000 tickets available for Saturday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
There are still 7,000 tickets available for Saturday's Colts-Chiefs game. Blackout rules in effect.— Bob Kravitz (@bkravitz) December 31, 2013
The Colts only started selling playoff tickets to the general public on Monday.
"Right now we’ve got about 7,000 people tickets to sell. Today’s been going really, really great," said Colts Vice President of Ticket Operations, Larry Hall. "We’re doing really well. Colts fans are always awesome."
The Green Bay Packers, the franchise known for selling out every game with a 30-plus year waiting list of season ticket holders, have "about 15,000 tickets" remaining as of late Monday. However, since they didn't qualify for the postseason until late Sunday, Green Bay didn't start selling tickets until Monday with 40,000 remaining, essentially moving 25,000 in one day.
Adds Nathan Phelps with the Green Bay Press Gazette:
The 40,000 available tickets are drawn from a pool of tickets that remained unsold to season ticket holders as of Dec. 4. At the time, the team was in the middle of a five-game streak without a win and the return of quarterback Aaron Rodgers was up in the air.
"It depends on the season and how it’s going," Popkey said about early demand for playoff tickets. "In 2003, we had 17,000 tickets available and it’s really a product of how the season is going at the time of the invoice due date."
There is historical evidence when first-round tickets do struggle to sell.
A couple of years ago, the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals received extensions. In 2000, the New Orleans Saints had over 11,000 unsold tickets and whittled it down to 4,500 in just two days and eventually 1,700 before the league granted an extension.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in 2009 that games played in the first round of the playoffs are always "the most challenging" due to the late scheduling, writes the New York Times.
Traditionally, Aiello said, if they are close enough to a sellout, the teams work with their sponsors to buy the remaining tickets.
It wasn't until the second quarter during Sunday Night Football that teams began releasing their playoff schedule.
Playoff tickets may be purchased on-line at Bengals.com or by phone at 800-745-3000. During working hours or at the Ravens game this Sunday, fans can call the Bengals ticket hotline at 513-621-8383 or stop in person at the ticket office. Tickets are available on all 3 levels of the stadium.