Despite the team struggling to sell out its Wild Card playoff game two weeks ago, the Arizona Cardinals restricted ticket sales to residents only for the first 36 hours or so after tickets went on sale for their upcoming home NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Fans looking for tickets who visited Ticketmaster Entertainment’s Website Sunday, Monday and this morning were greeted with this message:

“University of Phoenix Stadium is located in Glendale, AZ. Sales to this event will be restricted to residents of Arizona until Tuesday 1/13 at 12:00 noon. Residency will be based on credit card billing address. Orders by residents outside Arizona will be canceled without notice and refunds given.” (See screenshot below)

The game is scheduled for 3pm EST Sunday, January 18, but according to the Phoenix Business Journal, tickets to the game sold out in less than 10 minutes on Sunday. Less than two days before the Cardinals Wild Card playoff game on January 3, the team still had about 3,000 tickets that were unsold, but all were bought before kick off.

While the practice of restricting ticket sales is not unique to the Cardinals, it calls into question the issue of fairness to fans, ticket brokers and others outside of the state. In addition, there is a potential for a decrease in tourism to the area because fewer out-of-state fans might obtain tickets.

The two-year-old, $455 million stadium was built with money from the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority ($302.3 million), the Cardinals ($143.2 million) and the City of Glendale ($9.5 million). A spokesperson for the Arizona Office of Tourism could not be reached for comment.

Brian McCarthy, spokesperson for the National Football League, said the NFL does not have an official policy about the practice, but added it is often done. The Pittsburgh Steelers, which are hosting the AFC Championship Game against the Baltimore Ravens, did not restrict ticket sales.

“Teams sell their tickets in the way they see fit,” McCarthy told TicketNews. “Teams want to offer tickets for sale to their fans in their area and also help further build their home-field advantage.”

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