JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The 3,500 seats of EverBank Field normally covered by advertising tarps were offered for sale Friday morning, and all were gone within five minutes, according to the Jaguars.
A limited number of standing-room-only tickets also put online Friday were sold within 30 minutes. Verified resale tickets to the Jaguars' wild-card game remain available on Jaguars.com/playoffs.
"It’s amazing. I’m also not surprised in the least," Jaguars owner Shad Khan said in a statement. "Our fans have been waiting too long to unlock the passion they have for their team and city. The chance to show the world how great Jacksonville is as a football town is finally here and our fans came through, just as I knew they would. Winning pays off, but nonetheless we are grateful for the response. I only wish we could accommodate everyone."
Ticketmaster, StubHub and SeatGeek sites show tickets available, but at above the Jaguars' initial prices. All tickets will be provided to the buyers' mobile phones -- there will be no printed tickets to the game, which will be played either Jan. 6 or 7.
It's possible that the team could make additional tickets available before the game because the visiting team -- whoever that turns out to be -- returns some of its allotment. According to Jaguars.com, there is still premium seating -- in suites and cabanas -- available by calling 904-633-2000.
Given the demand for tickets to the Jaguars' first home playoff game in nearly two decades, the team received permission from the NFL and two sponsors that had logos on the tarps to uncover the seats in the upper decks.
The Jaguars have covered some of the stadium's original 76,000 seats with tarps since 2005 in an effort to reduce the number of television blackouts. The number of seats covered and configuration has changed over the years, and removal of the tarps for the playoff game required the approval not only of the league, but that of Navy Mutual and the Florida Department of Transportation, which pay to display advertising messages on the tarps that were in place during the regular season.
Wednesday's quick sell-out
It didn't take long for the Jaguars to sell out the first home playoff game in nearly two decades, but as soon as all the tickets were gone, fans -- including some current season ticket holders and some who had reserved for next year -- who shared their issues with the process.
Some people were frustrated because they were unable to get multiple seats together, and some had bigger problems.
Some fans leaving the stadium Wednesday said they were disappointed that fans could buy up to nine tickets for the game, which limited the supply available. One fan wrote on Twitter that the Jaguars' app was “difficult to maneuver” and that, after clicking on seats, the app said, “Another fan took those seats."
Scott Franklin and his wife knew they wanted to attend the first playoff game in Jacksonville in 18 years, so when the Jaguars offered a priority presale if you put down a $100 deposit on season tickets for next year, they put down $200, reserving two seats.
"It was a big incentive to be able to access the playoff tickets. I knew that those tickets were going to be hard to come by, so that was a very big incentive to purchase season tickets for next year," Franklin said.
But Franklin said that incentive didn’t work out. He was told he'd get a presale code by 10 a.m. Wednesday, when the sales window opened. He said he didn’t get the code until almost three hours later, leaving him with slim pickings on seats.
"I feel like they did not hold up to their promise," Franklin said. "I feel like if we would have had the opportunity like many other people did at 10 o’clock to go online and purchase tickets, we would have ended up with better seats than we did."
The Jaguars front office told News4Jax it was not aware of any large-scale issues, but anyone with issues could call the ticket office directly.
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