Nobody was shocked when the ticket resale market got a tremendous boost following the news Monday, July 25 that the National Football League lockout was finally over. But there were plenty of surprises among the list of teams whose tickets flew out the virtual door the fastest Monday afternoon.
According to StubHub, that list was topped by the San Francisco 49ers, who finished 6-10 in the NFC West — otherwise known as the worst division in NFL history — last season and haven’t reached the playoffs since 2002. But while the 49ers have a little extra buzz around them this year thanks to the hiring of former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh as head coach, their brisk ticket sales had less to do with the 49ers than it did with the teams they are playing on Sunday, September 18 and Sunday, November 13 — the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants, respectively.
The Cowboys and Giants were the 49ers’ biggest rivals when the 49ers were winning five Super Bowls between the 1981 and 1994 seasons. The 49ers won their first Super Bowl two weeks after a dramatic last-second win over the Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship Game, and the franchise’s Super Bowl victory total might have approached double digits if not for NFC Championship Game losses to the Giants in 1990 and the Cowboys in 1992 and 1993. (The Giants and Cowboys each went on to win the Super Bowl after beating the 49ers)
While the 49ers have fallen on hard times, the fans in Dallas and New York have fond memories of the Cowboys and Giants vying with the 49ers for NFL supremacy and are snapping up tickets for the long road trip. This is the first time since the 2006 season the 49ers are hosting both the Giants and Cowboys in the same season, and fans are eager to head west: Darren Rovell of CNBC reported that StubHub indicated many of those 49ers tickets sold on Monday went to Cowboys and Giants fans who could finally commit to flying out to San Francisco.
The 49ers weren’t the only team coming off a non-playoff season to enjoy particularly brisk ticket sales Monday. In fact, of the top seven teams on StubHub’s list, only the Kansas City Chiefs (fifth) and New York Jets (seventh) reached the postseason last year.
The Cowboys and Washington Redskins, who tied for last place in the NFC East with 6-10 records in 2010, ranked second and third on StubHub’s list while the San Diego Chargers (who went 9-7 and finished two games behind in the AFC wild card race) and Giants (who went 10-6 and lost out on the final wild card berth on tiebreakers) took fourth and sixth, respectively.