Timeline of the Cincinnati Bengals ticket crisis of '13

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

We break down the series of events that led to the Bengals selling out their playoff game against the San Diego Chargers.

DECEMBER 21: Bengals pre-sale possible playoff home tickets.

The Cincinnati Bengals initiated a pre-sale for possible home games in the '13 playoffs. The team only sold two-game ticket packages but also announced that full refunds would be available if only one (or none) were used. The Bengals had not yet won the AFC North and weren't assured a home game in the playoffs.

DECEMBER 24: Bengals begin selling single-game playoff tickets

Cincinnati begin selling single-game playoffs tickets to the general public after the Bengals clinched the AFC North following team's win over the Vikings (and Patriots win over the Ravens), assuring them of a home game in the wild card round or division round.

DECEMBER 26: Bengals announced that well over 10,000 tickets remained.

The first notice is sent out publicly that Cincinnati had a significant number of tickets remaining for their home playoff game, however an opponent, date and time wasn't determined yet. However, "well over" was closer to approximately 15,000 tickets.

DECEMBER 29: Playoff schedule is announced.

At approximately 7:45 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 29, the playoff schedule began leaking out. It was learned around that time that Cincinnati was going to host the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, Jan. 5 with a 1 p.m. kickoff time. The team sent out a reminder that "more than 10,000 tickets remain unsold".

DECEMBER 30: Bengals announce that approximately 10,000 tickets still remained.

The team finally reached the 10,000 mark, but needed to sell that many in four days to prevent the local television black out.

DECEMBER 31: Bengals get under 10,000 tickets, but caution that based on the rate of daily sales, the game would not sell out by Thursday's deadline.

Jeff Berding, Director of Ticket Sales and Public Affairs, sent out a press release that said, in part: "However, we need to be candid that -- unless the rate of daily sales increases -- we will not achieve a sellout, and the game will not be televised in Cincinnati, Dayton or Lexington, Ky., per NFL policy.""

JANUARY 1: Bengals at approximately 9,000.

On New Year's morning (a Wednesday), Andrew Brown, the Bengals Ticket Sales Manager, tweeted out that approximately 9,000 tickets remain unsold.

JANUARY 1: Bengals announce 8,000 tickets remain

On Wednesday afternoon, with less than 24 hours remaining before the league's deadline to declare a sell out that would prevent a black out, the team announced that 8,000 tickets were remaining and that the Bengals began working with the NFL for a possible extension.

JANUARY 2: Bengals at 7,200 tickets remaining

Berding joined 700 WLW and said that they're working with local businesses, sponsors and the NFL for an extension.

JANUARY 2: Bengals receive extension from NFL.

The Bengals received an extension from the NFL to sell out by 4 p.m. on Friday (Jan. 3). The team's twitter account originally put the number at 3,500 but quickly deleted the tweet, saying that that number was invalid. Local companies that helped includes Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati Insurance Company, Cintas, United Dairy Farmers, Liberty Mutual/Safeco, WCPO/Scripps and Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, who have helped provide tickets to military families through the Armed Forces Ticket Association (AFTA).

JANUARY 3: Bengals reach "the Red Zone", Kroger buys large quantity.

Brown tweeted that the Bengals have "entered the red zone" and nearly a sell out. Kroger helped by purchasing a "large quantity of tickets" to distribute to U.S. Veterans and Active Service members in the military. The number of tickets that they purchased was projected at 1,200.

JANUARY 3: Bengals announce a sell out.

While sales were strong, P&G and it's brands -- Tide, Gillette, Cover Girl and Bounty -- purchased the remaining tickets and gave them to Kroger to distribute to U.S Veterans and Active Service members. The game will be shown on television.

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