Biggest Vikings challenge: Selling the game

The Vikings have faced blackout possibilities already this season, but this time it's a playoff game that has left the marketing department hoping for a shopping spree from fans.

The Vikings had about 20,000 tickets left to sell this week in order to avoid a local television blackout of their wild-card playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

Prices for the game range from $30 to $160, and fans are encouraged to visit www.ticketmaster.com to purchase tickets. Fans can also call Ticketmaster at (651) 989-5151 or toll free at (800) 745-3000.

The Vikings recently sent out a letter to season-ticket holders about purchasing playoffs tickets in advance, and now some of those seat are available for the general public. Vikings vice president of marketing Steve LaCroix said there could have been some apprehension among some of the season-ticket holders while waiting to see if the team would actually make the postseason.

But there could have been other factors, too.

"Obviously, the holidays get in the way as far as the fans and their personal schedules and I do think there was a good chunk of our fan base that wanted to wait and see if we got in and now that we have secured home field for that first round, it's a lot of our fan base waking up this morning and realizing, ‘Hey, I haven't secured my seats yet.' So it's been a very active day at the ticket office," LaCroix said.

LaCroix estimated that about 55 percent of the 55,000 season-ticket holders purchased playoff tickets before Monday.

The league and the Vikings collaborated to set the ticket prices for the opening round, and the league estimated that playoff ticket prices would be down about 10 percent this year.

"The league has taken the position that they acknowledge the economic challenges and so I think that is kudos to them at the league level to recognize some of the challenges we have on the local basis and with each respective market. I think that, again, $30 for an entry point for an NFL playoff game is good value," LaCroix said.

The Vikings need to reach about 62,000 tickets sold 72 hours before the game or they face a potential blackout. They could receive an extension on that deadline, as they have in the past, but they need to show significant progress over the next few days in order to give the league hope that the game will reach that threshold on tickets sold.

"There's a little bit of perception amongst the community and certainly amongst the media that there are no seats available and that that's already kind of gone and past, and the flip to that is there is more seats than normal this time of a Vikings game week, so it's a great opportunity for season-ticket holders to still get in or for fans that don't necessarily come to home games to come be part of what we think is going to be a really fun, exciting day of football," LaCroix said.

In fact, he believes the most tickets that have been available on a Monday before a game this season is about 5,000. This time, they face about four times that number, but LaCroix is hopeful that they can overcome the challenge.

"It's doable. It's a lot of work obviously and we're up to the challenge. Again, we're positive about it," he said.

NOTES

  • Vikings coach Brad Childress agreed with Pat Williams' assessment that the Pro Bowl nose tackle might be available for Sunday's game. Williams suffered a fractured scapula two weeks ago and has missed the last two games.

    "We will just have to see what his functional strength is like as he gets out there and goes through the week there," Childress said.

  • Childress and Philadelphia coach Andy Reid, Childress' boss for seven years with the Eagles, talked on Sunday evening after the Eagles earned a playoff spot and were determined to be playing the Vikings. "We just talked about circumstances – how they started the day, how we started the day, the season," Childress said. "They all had their own little flavor. It's amazing how the last week plays itself out. Anybody beats anybody and nobody has a record at this point in time."

  • Childress on the differing personalities between him and Reid: "He's maybe a little more, if you can imagine this, flat-lined than I am. It's hard for you to see that, right?"

  • Childress didn't have an update on the condition of DE Ray Edwards' left knee on Monday. Edwards left the Giants game with what was termed Sunday as a "knee strain."


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