$8200 ticket? Loud and proud Niners fans open their wallets

Niners fans driving ticket prices through the roof for NFC Championship Game

What a time to be a Niners fan.

The team is on an absolute roll, turning in one improbable victory after another featuring late-game heroics and cost-free cardiology tests for The Faithful.

Now, it’s on to Los Angeles for the NFC Championship Game where the Niners will face a surging Rams team for the third time this season. The good news? The Niners won the first two contests. They’ve also won six straight over the Angelenos, spread over the past three seasons. That happens to be the bad news, too.

The chances of maintaining dominance over any team in the NFL, much less a squad as talented as the Rams, are slim to anemic. Los Angeles features tremendous receivers, a relentless defensive front and a creative head coach who can scheme with the best of them. Sound familiar? It should. The Niners boast the same attributes, with an edge in physicality and overall running game. Arguably, the Rams have better defensive backs.

Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan goes way back with his counterpoint, Sean McVay. The two young masterminds know each other well, and so do their coaching staffs.

“We’ve been through this so much over the last few years, so it’s not much new seeing them the third time as it was the second time, it almost was the first time. Just with the coaching staff being the same,” said Shanahan. “And I don’t think there’s many secrets. There’s not muchthings we can surprise them with and same with them with us, which I think is kind the most fun way. It’ll be two really good teams and a really good football game where you can’t really trick each other. You have to go out and beat somebody.”

It’ll all play out Sunday afternoon at the Rams’ spanking-new SoFi Stadium where Niners fans gathered in force for the last game of the season, overwhelming Los Angeles in a sea of red and gold while earning a trip to the NFL postseason.

Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford complained he had trouble hearing the offensive play calls… in his own stadium. As soon as the Niners prevailed over Green Bay in the divisional round of the playoffs, the Rams put out an ill-fated tweet saying ticket sales for the Championship Game would be limited to fans from the Los Angeles area.

The Internet exploded upon hearing that sad scheme, and the Rams took the announcement down Monday morning. Perhaps Niners’ receiver Deebo Samuel (@19problemz) said it best when he tweeted his own retort: “I get that we turned sofi stadium to Levi’s but restricting fan from buying tickets is kraxy to me….. IJS.”

I’m just saying the Rams management doesn’t sound too confident. Which is understandable. The stakes are huge. The winner, of course, will play at the very same SoFi Stadium two weeks later in the Super Bowl.

But restricting ticket sales? Put plainly, that’s weak sauce.

“I was at that (Niners-Rams) game, a few weeks ago, and it was 65-70% 49ers fans,” said Kyle Zorn, brand manager for a secondary ticket site called TickPick. “It’s not a good look, in my opinion, if your fans aren’t going to buy tickets. It’s just a weird message to push out.”

“The 49ers travel really well. That fan base is ultimately driving up the prices,” Zorn said.

Apparently so. In case you’re planning to take the trip down south, there are plenty of tickets available on various secondary markets, but prepare for sticker shock.

According to TickPick, this will be the most expensive NFC Championship Game ticket ever, a whopping 47% more expensive than they have ever seen before. The average price per ticket shot up nearly 60% after the game opponents were set, jumping to $960. The current “get-in” price, a seat in the nosebleeds, is coming in at $596. If you want to sit in the lower level, the average price per ticket is $1,362.

And, if you were an early employee at Google, you can sit on the 50-yard line, right behind the Niners’ bench. It’ll cost you a mere $8,208 per ticket.

Should be quite the contest. Both teams are hot.

In case you were in a coma last weekend, the Niners and Rams squeaked into the NFC title game with last-second wins in the divisional round. San Francisco beat the Packers on a cold and snowy night in Green Bay, thanks to a late blocked punt and a last-second field goal from kicker Robbie Gould.

The Rams did everything possible to blow a huge lead they had built up against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. The Bucs clawed back from a 24-point deficit to tie the game with less than a minute to go. But the Rams kept their cool and managed to march down the field, powered by two long-distance connections between Stafford and receiver Cooper Kupp, to get themselves into position for their own game-winning field goal as time expired.

So, instead of having to travel across country to play in Tampa Bay, the Niners will enjoy a short commute to Los Angeles, just a few months after the Giants played the Dodgers in the National League playoffs.

Can the upstart Niners find their way back to the Super Bowl? They’ll have to “Beat LA” in their own backyard.

Pony up. Saddle up. Bring your defibrillator.


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