Despite struggles elsewhere, Eagles have no problem selling all tickets

Posted: January 05, 2014

The Eagles put around 5,000 single-game tickets on sale Tuesday for Saturday's playoff game against the New Orleans Saints. If your browser was slow, you might have missed them.

"Literally, in minutes," Eagles president Don Smolenski said about how quickly they sold.

This would not be a surprise, except it turned out to be a rarity for this weekend's postseason games. The Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals, and Green Bay Packers all needed extensions to sell their remaining tickets to avoid local television blackouts. Teams usually have until 72 hours before kickoff to sell all the tickets for the game to be broadcast in the local market.

"It makes you appreciate the great sports city that we live in," Smolenski said. "The people in Philadelphia support all their teams. The Flyers, the Sixers, the Phillies, the Eagles, the Union - all those teams, they support. They support them in good times, they support them in not-so-good times. It just makes you appreciate that, and it makes you appreciate how passionate they are, how passionate they are about being Eagles fans."

The Colts, Bengals, and Packers all sold the remainder of their tickets to avoid blackouts. A playoff game has not been blacked out in the last 12 seasons. Local companies helped buy the remaining tickets. Among the factors that may have slowed ticket sales were higher prices and technology that makes the home-viewing experience more enjoyable.

The weather could also be a factor. Sunday's temperature in Green Bay for the Packers-49ers game is expected to be minus-5 degrees.

Smolenski said he's not privy to the specifics of the other markets and shifted the conversation to the connection that the Eagles have with their fans. The Eagles have not had a television blackout since 1999. Every game at Lincoln Financial Field has been sold out.

"There have been season-ticket members who've been with the Philadelphia Eagles from Franklin Field to Veterans Stadium to now Lincoln Financial Field that pass the tickets on through generations," Smolenski said. "Their love of football, love of the team, love for sports, I think all those factors, coupled with the stadium itself, all of that goes into what brings them coming to every game."

At the beginning of the week, Smolenski was not concerned that Saturday's frigid temperatures would curb the appetite for tickets. The team was prepared for this week's snowstorm, too.

Stadium workers cleared between two million and three million pounds of snow on Friday from the seating areas, concourse, plaza areas, and parking lots. There were around 600 workers who started at 7:30 a.m.

Snow was shoveled into black chutes, which brought it down to the field, where it was hauled out to the parking lot and into dump trucks.

A tarp was put on the field Thursday morning, before the snow started. Snow was plowed off the field throughout the night, two inches at a time. They finished around 8 a.m. on Friday morning.

The tarp will come off the field on Saturday morning. The field is heated with 28 miles of pipe set around 60 degrees to help melt snow and ice. The field was painted on Wednesday and Thursday, and there will be minor touch-ups on Saturday, if needed.

Otherwise, the stadium is ready for a sold-out playoff game.

"I think they're going to try to make it as loud as the Superdome," Smolenski said. "They've been great all year. Even when we were struggling earlier in the year, they were great. And certainly the last four games, they've been louder and louder. And I just think they're coming with extra intensity."


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