NFC West: tickets

Fans diving into the secondary market for NFL tickets will have to pay up for a shot at seeing the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field in Week 2.

As of Monday, that game carried a $255 price tag for the cheapest ticket available through StubHub, a seat labeled "Upper Level Corner 300" -- not exactly prime real estate, but at least you can say you were there. None of the other NFL regular-season games carried a higher lowest price. Oh, and if you've got an extra $11,000 lying around, someone with four lower-level seats to the 49ers-Seahawks game will accommodate you.

Green Bay Packers home games filled the second through sixth overall spots, as the chart shows.

No other game involving an NFC West team ranked higher than 18th. The 49ers' games against Jacksonville (in London) and New Orleans tied for 18th with a $129 price for the cheapest ticket.

New Orleans at Seattle ranks 22nd at $120, with Green Bay at San Francisco two spots lower at $113. The Seahawks' game at San Francisco ($101) was just below a Tennessee Titans game at Seattle ($102).

These figures do not necessarily reflect what the typical ticket costs.

For example, Arizona's eight home games filled out the bottom eight spots, with cheapest "tickets" going for between $6 and $8. But when I tried to view those seats, I discovered someone was selling parking passes, not actual game tickets. The cheapest tickets for a Cardinals home game were about $30 apiece.

Note: Thanks to Brad from Seattle for tipping me off via the NFC West mailbag regarding where the 49ers-Seahawks game ranked. And if he was the guy offering the $255 ticket, very clever of him.

Followup note: As Sam mentioned in the comments section below, the lowest prices for some games were not displayed from the ESPN.com schedule page. I did not check those games manually. In some cases, the lowest prices could have been high enough to earn a spot on the chart.
The New York Giants look good for letting season-ticket holders defer payments until the labor situation is resolved.

This admirable gesture toward fans also qualifies as an exercise in practicality and possibly even a smart marketing strategy.

The Giants, unlike other teams, don't have to worry about selling out their stadium. They've got a long list of personal seat license (PSL) holders who, by definition, already agreed to purchase tickets.

The San Francisco 49ers, by comparison, have no PSL holders or even a true club section at antiquated Candlestick Park.

So, while most teams felt compelled to implement ticket policies before the lockout, the Giants were in no rush. Once the lockout was under way, they were correct to acknowledge it when putting together their ticket policy. But that doesn't necessarily make them holier than the rest of the league.

"The way we are doing things isn't an indictment on how anyone else is doing business," Giants vice president Pat Hanlon said Wednesday. "We have a very unusual set of circumstances here and are just trying to do what is best for the Giants and for our fans, many of whom have been with us for generations."

Giants fans opting to defer the usual May 1 invoice payment still authorize the team to charge their credit cards once the labor situation is resolved. Those fans benefit by holding onto their money longer, and the Giants maintain what was most important to them -- the commitment itself. A deferment could even serve as a promotion of sorts if a team were courting new customers otherwise reluctant to commit during a lockout. Again, the commitment is what matters.

Why aren't other teams extending the same courtesy? Most of their stadium situations are less favorable. And, as noted, most announced their ticket policies some time ago. That's why the Giants aren't gloating about their policy.

The 49ers are allowing season-ticket holders to spread out payments in five installments running deep into the summer. The Seattle Seahawks also have a five-installment plan. The St. Louis Rams have a six-payment plan and, in some cases, won't be collecting money before June.

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