Seahawks Move to “Block” 49rs Fan Ticket Sales – An NFL First! UPDATE
It first broke on the blog sfgate.com, then confirmed by the CBS affiliate in San Francisco.
In a move viewed as an attempt to limit the number of CA 49'rs fans coming to Century Link Field Sunday for the NFC Championship, the Seattle Seahawks official website has posted when tickets go on sale Monday, only six states and two provinces of Canada will be allowed.
According to information from CBS KPIX, only zip codes from WA, OR, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Hawaii will be allowed to buy tickets through the NFL team's website. And CA is not one of them. Two Canadian provinces are included. According to one of the team's supporting websites:
"I’m sure they’re not concerned about the appearance, but it still looks kind of weak,” writes NinersNation.com
This is not the first time it's happened in pro sports. The Nashville Predators and St Louis Blues, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, have prevented single-game ticket sales to Chicago Blackhawk fans, preventing what Blues officials call "red-outs" at their games. Chicago fans travel very well in the NHL.
However, this is believed to be a first in the NFL. Extensive google searches failed to find any evidence of a team, playoffs or otherwise, attempting to limit ticket sales to an opposing visiting team. CBS San Francisco included a link to the Seattle ticket page, and this decision was made apparently BEFORE the two teams even played Sunday!
Much has been made of the 'Hawks 12th man fan base who are very supportive of the team at home, but critics are accusing the team of attempting to slyly increase their fan advantage.
UPDATE: Several Hawk fans pointed out the Denver Broncos are allegedly doing the same thing, limiting ticket sales for the AFC Championship game to only Midwest and Rocky Mtn. States, BUT that is being done by Ticketmaster. Tickets will NOT be offered at the Mile High Box Office Monday (today) and will only be sold there if any are left Tuesday, which is not likely.
The Broncos are not directly blocking sales via the team website. And the proximity of New England to Denver is quite a bit different than CA to Washington. In fact, the number of stories about the CA ticket ban is growing, including a number of columns questioning whether teams in ANY sport should practice this policy. We think it stinks, regardless of the sport.