After waking up from the post-Christmas haze on Monday morning, the Bengals ticket office was innundated with season ticket holders lining the plaza at PBS and jamming the phone lines. Their purpose? To take advantage of a buy one, get one free ticket offer (no limit) to pack the cobweb filled upper decks of PBS for Sunday's win and in season finale against Baltimore. The pro-shop is even cutting the prices of Bengals replica jerseys - from $80 to $50. Profit is only now $45 per jersey, instead of $75. (Don't expect a Valentine's Day present next year, Mrs. Brown)
Here's WDR's question - where was this ticket offer 6 weeks ago?
Following the Pittsburgh game, the Bengals had four games left: Cleveland, Houston, Arizona and Baltimore. Ticket numbers ranged from low 40's for Houston, Arizona and Baltimore and high 40's for Cleveland. The family KNEW that selling that many tickets at full price (cheapest ticket is $65) would at the very least a miracle, if not impossible. Not to mention that three games fell directly around the holidays (Sunday after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Years Day). Plus the weather would likely be crappy outside. Despite the fact the Bengals won a huge game in Tennessee to move to 6-2, very few tickets were sold over the next few days - a telling sign.
They could have, and should have, done some kind of promotion earlier. Instead, it was typical Bengals - only reactionary, keeping their head in the sand...not looking ahead and attacking the problem head on. They did offer a family four-pack for the Indianapolis game - where you received $65 in stadium bucks for buying 4 tickets - but Season Ticket Holders were rightfully not thrilled about being screwed once again. No ticket deals with the lockout looming, no deals once the lockout ended, and next to nothing the entire season - where there have already been 6 blackouts.
Do you think the Reds would ever sit back and do nothing?
At the end of the day, they have almost no incentive to offer ticket deals to the most loyal fans in the NFL. Scrooge McDuck-like TV revenue and the NFL's socialist ways take care of that. The eyes of the league are now on the Bengals, however, and we wouldn't be surprised if there was a little nudge from Commissoner Goodell's office to make an effort to fill the stands on Sunday.
Will the Bengals sellout? What seemed impossible last week is certainly a possibility now. They will need four more days like today to come close. The biggest single week of ticket sales for a specific game likely came before the Kansas City game in November 2003.
It's hard not to like the players on the field for the 2011 edition of the Cincinnati Bengals. However, ownership still makes it very hard to financially support this organization - a fact supported by acres of empty seats for 6 of the 7 home games this season.
One thing I hope the distinguished local media, Ken Broo, and the nation realize is this:
The reason the Bengals are not already sold out for a playoff-clinching game is not because of the economy, not because Cincinnati doesn't like football, or because we get too drunk on New Year's Eve. It's solely because the Brown family and their ownership has beaten us down - and 2011 was finally the first full season where we collectively stood up and said: NO MORE. More than 120,000 people over six games were no longer financially supporting an ownership that had delivered exactly zero playoff wins in two decades, not to mention a century's worth of embarassment. This was despite a young team in playoff contention.
Make no mistake, it is their fault that PBS might not sell out this game.
Only one question remains:
Will Bengals fans bail them out?