San Francisco 49ers fans were crying foul Sunday over a move by the Seattle Seahawks to bar Californians from buying tickets to the NFC Championship game next Sunday.
The Seahawks’ official website says that when tickets go on sale for face value Monday morning, people with a California zip code can't buy them; the only football fans welcome have billing addresses from Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii and Canada.
“What kind of nonsense is that? Are they that afraid of the Niners Nation?” said Niners fan Fred Santillan.
Kenya Reyes, a 49ers fan, said she was outraged by the news, saying she was “offended.”
Reyes says the Seahawks know the Niners fan base is loyal and vocal, and that's why the team is trying to exclude them.
To be fair, the Seahawks also excluded North Carolina, the only other the only other team it might have faced.
David Fucillo, who founded the NinersNation community, was also disappointed by the policy.
“It's pretty sad," said Fucillo. "There was no need to do this. It adds another distraction."
Fucillo was giving advice via Twitter and Facebook to his site’s followers who want to buy tickets to Sunday's NFC championship game. Suggestions included changing your online billing address or get out of state friends to buy tickets.
Secondary sites are also an option for those wanting tickets but they often have big markups. The website Stub Hub, where fans sell tickets to other fans, has more than 6,600 tickets for next Sunday's game against the Seahawks.
As of Sunday evening, the cheapest ticket on Stub Hub was $464 and they ran as high as $122,000 for a seat near the end zone.
“Over $400, $450 that's for way up in the nosebleeds,” said Kathy Hughes, a 49ers fan from Santa Clara.
Fans can also purchase tickets through Ticketmaster.
The Seahawks aren't the first team to impose ticket restrictions. Back in 2009, the Washington Capitals tried to pack the stands by blocking Penguins fans and there was a lot of public scorn for what appeared to be unsporting behavior directed at the team.
It turns out the Denver Broncos are also limiting ticket sales for Sunday's AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots. Tickets for that game also go on sale Monday and they will only be available to fans with a billing address in the Rocky Mountain region, which of course includes Colorado and neighboring states but only the western part of Kansas.