Although the Chiefs’ chances of winning the AFC West and securing at least one postseason home game appear remote, the club’s season-ticket holders were to receive notices via email on Monday night regarding their options for playoff tickets.
Last month, all clubs were instructed by the league that teams who mathematically can play host to a postseason game must invoice their season-ticket holders no later than Dec. 1.
“We are complying with that mandate from the league,” Chiefs president Mark Donovan said Monday. “… the potential home playoff game invoice will be in that email. Their accounts will have the playoff invoice on their account.”
Season-ticket holders will have until Dec. 19 to inform the Chiefs if they want to reserve their seats. They can pay in full for two playoff games, a wild-card or divisional round game and the AFC championship. Or they can choose the “Pay as We Play” option, meaning there is no payment when reservations are made.
“A majority of our season-ticket holders will take advantage of ‘Pay as We Play,’” Donovan said. “That means no payment when you make your reservation. You’re only charged online with an electronic check or credit card or debit card for the first playoff game as soon as it is clinched. If there is a second home playoff game, when that game is clinched, you’ll be automatically charged for the second game.
“This guarantees our season-ticket holders get their seats for the playoff games. The other thing it does is identify if any season-ticket members are not buying their tickets, we know which tickets we can market and sell.”
The Chiefs, 7-5 after Sunday night’s loss to Denver, trail the Broncos, 9-3, by three games in the AFC West with four to play because Denver owns the head-to-head tie-breaker. But the Chiefs are still in the mix for a wild-card spot. It’s possible the first wild card — or No. 5 seed in the playoffs — can play host to the AFC championship if both wild-card teams win their first two playoff games.
The NFL adopted the current policy in part because of what happened last year in Green Bay. The Packers weren’t assured of a home playoff game until they won the NFC North on the final weekend of the season. At that point, many of their season-ticket holders did not have time to exercise their postseason options, and with temperatures in single digits for the Jan. 5 wild-card game against San Francisco, elected not to buy them.
Six days before the playoff game, the Packers, who have a waiting list for season tickets exceeding 100,000 fans, still had 40,000 tickets to sell.
After receiving an extension from the NFL, the Packers finally sold out the 49ers game just two days before kickoff. The game sold out and the local TV blackout was lifted thanks to Packers sponsors and three Fox TV stations buying blocks of tickets.
“They were operating under a pay-in-full program,” Donovan said.
“In order to get your playoff tickets, they had to buy the whole script … a lot of Packers fans said, ‘I’m not going to buy the wild-card game, I’m going to buy the next game.’
“This is not a Chiefs program, it’s a league-wide program … this is why the league is recommended we do this and is recommending the Pay as You Pay option.”
Donovan said those who choose to pay in full for two playoff games could either receive a refund or a credit toward 2015 season tickets if no postseason games are played at Arrowhead.