Fearing an overrun of orange and black, leadership at the Tennessee Titans are doing everything they can to keep Bengals fans out of Nissan Stadium ahead of Saturday’s divisional round matchup.
There’s a lot riding on this game for both franchises -- neither of which have ever won a Super Bowl. The top-seeded Titans are hosting an NFL playoff game for only the second time in the last decade. Meanwhile, the Bengals are coming off their first playoff win in 31 years, beating the Raiders 26-19 in the wild card round last weekend.
With only a four-and-a-half-hour drive separating Nashville and eager Cincinnati fans, the Titans have taken action to limit the amount of resold tickets.
Speaking to News Channel 5 in Nashville, Brooke Ellenberger, vice president of ticketing for the Titans, admitted they’ve implemented a new rule this week with the goal of keeping Nissan Stadium “two tone blue.”
Tickets bought either through the Titans website directly or through NFL-approved secondary markets such as StubHub, Ticketmaster or SeatGeek, will be subject to a resale moratorium up until 24 hours prior to kickoff. That means that the earliest those fans can transfer tickets is 4:30 p.m. EST on Friday.
The hope of the Titans’ executives is that by narrowing the amount of time Bengals fans can guarantee a ticket inside Nissan Stadium and an increased risk of scammers will discourage them from making the trip.
“... And so by limiting this transfer window,” Ellenberger said, “it also limits the number of visiting fans that we’ll have in the stadium.”
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Titans season-ticket holders seemed to welcome this policy change.
“Every game we are just inundated with so many other fans and I think Nashville is a big draw but we really need the Titans fans to be loud and proud and we should,” season ticket holder Terri Hood said when interviewed by News Channel 5.
While Bengals fans might be disgruntled by this inconvenience, it isn’t the first time a team has imposed sanctions in an effort to protect their home-field advantage.
In 2016, the Denver Broncos limited sales to only those with zip codes within an eight-state radius known as the Rocky Mountain region in an attempt to limit the number of New England Patriots fans in Empower Field at Mile High.
As of Thursday afternoon, the Bengals-Titans game was the most expensive ticket on the market, with the cheapest available ticket listed at $256, over $100 more than the next most expensive -- the Los Angeles Rams versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Titans hosted a wild card game last season, ultimately losing to the Baltimore Ravens 20-13. The last time Nashville hosted a divisional round game was in 2008, also ending in a loss to the Ravens. The Titans are looking to get their first home playoff win since 2003 when they beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime of the wild card round.
The Bengals are looking to play spoiler and advance to the AFC Championship Game for the first time since 1988. The winner of Saturday’s game will meet the winner of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills on Jan. 30.