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49ers title game proves to be hot ticket

Secondary market nearly triples NFC championship game price
By: Justin A. Lawson Journal Sports Writer
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When the San Francisco 49ers made it to their first playoff game in a decade last weekend it brought a frenzy of Niners fans out of hibernation. Since they beat the New Orleans Saints 36-32 Saturday and moved on to their first NFC championship game since 1997, it has ignited a ticket buying and selling craze that has seen hopeful ticket buyers balk at the price and longtime season ticket holders cash out on their popularity. “I’ve had a lot of friends call me wondering if I’m using my tickets but I think a lot more people want to go than sell tickets this year,” said Kelly Garcia, a 29-year 49ers season ticket holder. The secondary market for Sunday’s conference championship game against the New York Giants (3:30 p.m.) has nearly tripled the cost of tickets. Ticket resale websites like StubHub and Ebay have become virtual scalpers this week as fans clamor to get tickets. “My husband and I were actually looking at tickets,” said Ashley Byers, who was lucky enough to have tickets to last weekend’s game given to her by 49ers owner Jed York. “We had a limit we were willing to spend and of course it was way over. I don’t even know why I was thinking it would be affordable at all.” Garcia, a real estate agent who lives in Weimar, bought his tickets for $154 each. He wasn’t able to go to the game because his daughter was scheduled for knee surgery so he listed the lower south end zone tickets on Craigslist. He sold two of the four in just a matter of hours at $550 each. “It’s kind of difficult although it’s a long way, it’s a long haul now,” Garcia said. “It wasn’t when I was living in the Bay Area and it’s quite a commitment to go. We usually go three times a year or so and I think we went four this year. We’d like to be there. It was electrical last week but we’ll have a good time at home – watching them win.” Since Tuesday, ticket prices have increased on StubHub from $288 in the upper reserve corner of Candlestick Park to $365 on Thursday. On Ebay, parking passes were listed Thursday for more than $100. On the high end, tickets had reached $10,000 each earlier in the week but by Thursday had decreased to a slightly more palpable price of $8,500. The last decade has been especially rough on 49ers fans, who had grown accustomed to winning. The Niners won five Super Bowls from 1981-1994 but didn’t post a winning record between 2003-2010. With their 13-3 record this year and the resulting ticket sales fervor, it is obvious 49ers fans are back. “It’s been incredible,” Garcia said of the season. “It happened a lot sooner than we thought it would happen and we went through a lot of bad times and spent a lot of money on four tickets every year and people weren’t really too excited about going in the last 10 years. Now my phone’s ringing.”