The league said it’s seeing “extraordinary” ticket demand for a potential neutral site AFC Championship Game in Atlanta next week.
Within 24 hours of going on sale to Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs season ticket holders, the league sold over 50,000 tickets to Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
The seating plan would allow Bills fans to be seated on one side of the stadium – and Chiefs fans on the other – at the traditional home field of the Atlanta Falcons.
Buffalo is 892 miles from Atlanta, while Kansas City is 799 miles away. But it didn’t matter. Season ticket holders given priority access by the league pounced on the tickets.
– The sales are only complete if the Bills and Chiefs advance during the AFC Divisional Playoffs this weekend. If both teams advance, the neutral site game in Atlanta will kick off at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 29. If they don’t advance, any tickets purchased will be automatically refunded.
– Season ticket holders who previously opted-in to buy tickets were allowed to buy the tickets at a “preferred rate,” according to the NFL. The league will announce any more presale or general on-sale opportunities later.
– The NFL decided on the neutral site location in Atlanta after canceling the Bills’ Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Safety Damar Hamlin of the Bills, who suffered a cardiac arrest on the field, still faces a “long recovery process,” according to the New York Post.
Has the surging NFL found another way to drive its business? The Atlanta experiment indicates moving games to a neutral site “won’t hurt ticket sales” if the league decides to go that route, noted ProFootballTalk.
Not everybody’s happy. Bengals running Joe Mixon was ticked about the league selling tickets to a game that may or may not happen.
“To be honest, it’s disrespectful. But we’re not worried about that shit,” said Mixon via WCPO in Cincinnati. “Like I said, we got a game to play on Sunday, right? So you can’t count us out….We’re going to go out there on Sunday and we’re going to do what the hell we got to do to come back with that ‘W.’”