Conventional wisdom suggests that a team which has sold out its last 319 games wouldn't encounter much resistance finding takers for playoff tickets. However, that's exactly where the Green Bay Packers find themselves less than a week away from their wildcard round showdown with the 49ers.
Some reports place the number of unsold tickets at around 11,000 while other sources estimate the figure at closer to 15,000. In all pro sports in North America, teams begin selling their postseason tickets weeks or even months ahead of time. This occurs regardless of the likelihood of that squad making the playoffs. If a team is knocked out of playoff contention, those tickets are refunded. However, this practice has come under fire in recent years due to the zero-interest loan nature of these deals.
For the Packers, playoff tickets went on sale directly following the massacre to the Lions on Thanksgiving. It's easy to understand how many season ticket-holders decided to without their funds and wait it out rather than procure tickets for a game that appeared unlikely to transpire.
If Green Bay's sellout streak falls, it'll be the latest salvo in the battle between television broadcasting and live experience. To it's credit, the NFL has considered all sorts of ideas to make coming to a game the preferable choice for fans. None of the league's proposed solutions has stemmed the tide change, though, and fans continue to make the decision to stay at home. A blow like this could finally push the NFL to seriously consider adding high-quality wi-fi to their stadiums, but some owners will still balk at the multi-million dollar cost.