All tickets for single games during the 2013 Philadelphia Eagles season still have not sold out. For at least the past decade, Eagles tickets would routinely sell out within the first hour after going on sale.
Here we are over a month after going on sale and there are still tickets available. Granted, you might have trouble getting three or four together for most games, but there are still onesy-twosy’s available.
The questions are why, and what happens if a game isn’t declared a sell-out?
There are likely several reasons as to why all the games haven’t sold out yet, with the most logical being fan skepticism.
The Eagles are coming off of two incredibly disappointing seasons in a row…8-8 during the Dream Team season in 2011 and a complete collapse to 4-12 last season.
Now they have a new coach from the college ranks and are remodeling the team. Casual fans, and maybe even a few disgruntled die-hards, might be a little cautious with spending their money this year until they can see what the team looks like first.
And speaking of spending money, the Eagles raised ticket prices this year. So, you have a team coming off of two disastrous, underachieving non-playoff seasons, a new, unproven coaching regime and they want you to pay even more money to watch them.
Not the best of combinations to make tickets in high demand.
I think the fans are taking a wait-and-see approach. If the team looks improved and contends for a playoff spot, you’ll see the mid-late season games start selling out faster.
However, in the meantime, what if a game isn’t declared a sell out? That means it could be blacked-out on local television.
The NFL used to have a rule that stated if a team doesn’t sell all their tickets for a home game, it will not be televised locally…which covers a 75 mile radius of the stadium. However, the NFL “relaxed” that rule just last season and made it to where a team only has to sell 85% of their tickets to avoid a blackout.
In this case, the NFL allows the team to make the final decision about airing the game locally. Therefore, if the Eagles only sold 85% of their tickets, they could choose to televise the game or not.
How pissed would you be if they chose not to air it because they didn’t sell out?
The whole reason behind this rule in the first place seems to mainly be the mindset that, if you don’t want to buy tickets to see our product, why should we show it to you for free on TV? Hence, the rule implemented by the NFL a long time ago.
Being a young Eagles fan growing up during the early 1980′s, I recall numerous times waiting with baited-breath to see if the Eagles declared a sell out so I could actually watch the game that week.
There were some struggles in the early to mid 90′s as well. I was tortured as a young Eagles fan as compared to someone who just started following the team in the last decade. As a fan, it truly stinks when you don’t know whether or not you’re going to be able to watch your team when they play at home.
Back then, I loved away games…at least I knew they’d be televised. Fans have been spoiled for the last 10 years plus.
You’d have to go all the way back to 1999 for the last time an Eagles game was backed-out. Coincidentally, it was the first home game of the Andy Reid era.
The Eagles were in a very similar situation back then as they are now.
They had two horrendous years in a row (6-9-1 in 1997 and 3-13 in 1998) and brought in an entirely new coaching regime. Andy Reid was a complete unknown, coming from the ranks of QB coach in Green Bay.
Fans back then were disgruntled and developed a somewhat indifferent attitude towards the team, similar to what is going on now.
Might history repeat itself? The first home game of the Chip Kelly era has not been sold out yet. It’s unknown if they’ve sold at least 85% of the tickets yet, and in all likelihood, they probably will sell out eventually.
But, you never know. This is different from what we’ve grown accustomed to for the past 14 years. If the team struggles early in the season and loses, we could get dangerously close to blacked-out games.
However, a few early wins by Kelly and the Birds will go a long way towards ensuring all home games will be aired on local TV and things will be business as usual.