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Friday, March 1, 2024

Detroit Rock City: Lions’ Postseason Run Sparks More Commerce

  • Huge spikes are recorded in Lions-related ticket, merchandise, and restaurant activity.
  • Coach Dan Campbell welcomes bandwagon fans “as long as you weren’t bashing us early.”
Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

A mini-economy is beginning to form around the Detroit Lions’ upstart playoff run. 

On the heels of the Lions’ divisional round postseason victory, part of a record-setting weekend of viewership for the NFL and the team’s own resurgence after 30 years of relative anonymity, Detroit’s march continues to drive robust business on multiple fronts. Among the latest indicators:

  • Average resale ticket prices for the NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium between the Lions and San Francisco 49ers now stand at $1,686, according to the ticket aggregator TicketIQ. That figure is down from more than $2,400 earlier in the week, but it still ranks among the highest ever for an NFL conference championship game and it’s fueled in part by an influx of traveling Lions fans. (The recent drop in prices now has the Lions-49ers game below the AFC Championship Game between the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs, averaging $2,302.)
  • StubHub has nearly doubled its sales for the 49ers-Lions game compared to last year’s NFC Championship Game between San Francisco and the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Tickets for the Lions’ watch party at Ford Field for the title game sold out in just a matter of hours. A robust secondary market has emerged for that event, too, with top-end list prices exceeding $500, and many listings at least doubling the $20 list price. 
  • Michigan stores are selling out of Lions gear and are struggling to keep stock refreshed amid consumer demand. 
  • Detroit-area bars and restaurants are reporting a big spike in business, sparked by the Lions’ playoff wins over the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

It’s common for teams and their home cities to see a surge in fan activity and related commerce alongside a surprising run of on-field success. But with the Lions standing as just one of four NFL teams never to reach a Super Bowl and the team going 30 years between division titles, the Detroit frenzy has reached a different level entirely. And yet, Lions head coach Dan Campbell is still remembering the team’s darker times.

“What a special moment all of this has been, but it’s not over,” Campbell said on WXYT-FM in Detroit. “So look, if other people are enjoying watching us play, of course we’re all over that. You’re welcome—as long as you weren’t bashing us early.”

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