Rams sell out NFC title game, lifting geographical ticket restrictions

Vivid Seats projects 65% of fans at SoFi Stadium on Sunday will be 49ers fans, up from the 60% estimated for Week 18 Rams-49ers gameGETTY IMAGES

A day after the Rams and Ticketmaster had a geographic restriction on who could purchase the seats for the NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium, it appears that the Rams "sold all the tickets for the game, removing the need for the restriction on seats," according to Alex Simon of the San Jose MERCURY NEWS. All available seats on any ticketing website, including Ticketmaster, are "considered secondary," and there have "never been any restrictions on who can purchase those seats." The cheapest ticket on Ticketmaster as of yesterday afternoon was $510. After seeing how many 49ers fans were at SoFi for Week 18's win-or-go-home regular-season finale, it is "hard to blame the Rams." 49ers fans "showed up in droves" for their Wild Card game at the Cowboys the following week and "even had a decent, if smaller, contingent make it to Green Bay." The strong showings have "led to several tweets from people around the Rams begging their fans not to sell to 49ers fans" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 1/25).

NUMBERS GAME: In L.A., Dylan Hernandez reports Vivid Seats "estimates there will be more 49ers fans than there were in Week 18, not fewer." The secondary ticket marketplace "projects 65% of fans at SoFi Stadium on Sunday to be cheering for the 49ers, up from the 60% the company estimated for the game earlier this month." TickPick co-Founder and co-CEO Brett Goldberg said that "such restrictions are ineffective, especially since a team can’t control to whom tickets are resold." Goldberg: "What we’ve been talking about internally is whether it actually adds fuel to the fire and motivates the opposing team and fan base to come." The Titans in the Divisional round "implemented similar measures but failed to keep out a sizable contingent" of Bengals fans. Rams coach Sean McVay playfully said to fans, “Don’t sell your tickets!” (L.A. TIMES, 1/25).

STRATEGIC OR PETTY? In S.F., Ann Killion writes the Rams' restricting ticket sales geographically is a "direct result of the eye-popping, embarrassing wave of 49ers fans who took over SoFi Stadium for the final regular-season game." The Rams "telegraphing their fear of the 49ers is amusing on a lot of levels." Killion: "It's just a bad, uncool look. It's pointless: Secondary ticket markets, where many buy their tickets, weren't asking for the same restrictions. It shows remarkable lack of insight into California: Virtually everyone in the Bay Area has friends or family in Los Angeles and vice versa." The Rams have "only brought more attention to the harsh reality: They don't have a huge and loyal fan base" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 1/25). FS1’s Joy Taylor said "there are a lot of Niners fans in L.A." and there will be a "lot of Niners fans at this game." But she added, "Rams’ fans have made a really nice environment this year." FS1’s Colin Cowherd: "Lambeau fits Green Bay, Wisconsin. SoFi fits L.A. It’s an unbelievable environment" (“The Herd,” FS1, 1/25).

SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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