The NFL made it through the 2013 regular season with just two games blacked out on local TV due to sluggish ticket sales. Could that number be matched during this weekend's wild-card round?
Cincinnati, Green Bay and Indianapolis all reportedly have thousands of tickets still available for Saturday's and Sunday's action, leaving all three spots in danger of falling shy of a sellout. Teams generally must have all tickets sold out 72 hours prior to a home game or risk that game being blacked out within a 75-mile radius of the stadium.
According to the Indianapolis Star's Mike Chappell, the Colts already have asked for and been granted by the league an extension on their window until 4:30 p.m. ET Thursday -- 48 hours before Indianapolis' game with Kansas City. Chappell reported that the Colts were still 6,000 tickets shy of a sellout as of Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, in Cincinnati, that number was at 10,000 as of late Monday. The Bengals host San Diego at 1 p.m. ET Sunday, meaning they need to unload the remainder of those tickets by Thursday afternoon (or request an extension of their own).
"We need to do everyday what we did today," Jeff Berding, the team's director of sales and public affairs, told CincyJungle.com of his hopes that Bengals fans can replicate their ticket-buying pace from Monday.
Perhaps most surprisingly of all, the Packers were furthest of all from a wild-card weekend sellout. The team announced on Monday that 15,000 tickets still remained, following a period of sales to season-ticket holders and then release to the general public. Unlike Cincinnati and Indianapolis, Green Bay did not clinch its playoff bid until this past Sunday, leaving the franchise with less of a headstart.
Green Bay still has the most time left to clear its surplus -- 4:40 p.m. ET Thursday is its current cutoff, 48 hours before the Packers play the 49ers.
The fourth home team this weekend, Philadelphia, planned to release some available tickets on Tuesday afternoon. But Leo Carlin, the Eagles' director of ticket sales, told the Daily Times: "We don't discuss numbers but it's an extremely small percentage [of unpurchased tickets]."
Though a snowstorm is supposed to whip through the Midwest and East Coast in the coming days, the weekend's weather actually looks fairly clear -- especially in terms of January football. Philadelphia calls for a high of 30 and partly cloudy conditions Saturday, according to the Weather Channel; Cincinnati has a 50-percent chance of a snow shower Sunday. Green Bay could have the worst forecast: a high of eight degrees and a low of minus-6 Sunday, for a game that will not end before at least 6:30 p.m. local time. Indianapolis has a retractable-roof stadium.
Forbes.com reported that the Packers have the highest-priced ticket of any team hosting a game this weekend, at an average of $349 and a low price of $156 -- up 44 percent from regular-season prices. The Eagles' average price this weekend is at $318, with Indianapolis and Cincinnati at $203 and $142, respectively.