The playoff buzz around one NFL team this offseason has already given way to the clamor of fans unloading their tickets. The fallout from the Cleveland Browns season opener is already leading to a decline in demand for tickets on the secondary market.
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Following a 43-13 home loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 1, the Browns are already seeing a drop in interest for their next home game in two weeks. Prior to Sunday’s loss, the get-in price for the Browns' next home game was $181 according to TickPick, a secondary market for sports and entertainment tickets. The site is reporting that number has dropped 21 percent to $141 for the Week 3 game against the Los Angeles Rams.
The reason is clearly the deflation of expectations around a franchise that has defined what some see as ineptitude in recent years. The Browns have had just one winning season since 2007 and a single playoff appearance dating back to their re-launch as a franchise in 2002. All this has led to unreasonable expectations and over-hype for the modest gains the Browns have made in recent years.
After a solid rookie year from quarterback Baker Mayfield, who won the Maxwell Award as the nation’s top college player during his final season at Oklahoma, expectations were measured for improvement in Cleveland. Then the Browns went off and traded for star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and the consensus was that the team was ready to take a step forward from last year’s 7-8-1 record.
Now, the fan hype is deflating as evidenced by the numbers seen on TickPick.
"The Browns had a remarkable offseason landing some of the top free agents, most notably OBJ, and expectations couldn't have been higher. But then they come out [on Sunday] and completely flop -- it was a massive disappointment,” Brett Goldberg, TickPick co-founder and co-CEO, told FOX Business. “We saw demand drop significantly as a result, with both the get-in and average listing price dropping significantly. Usually, a Week 1 performance doesn't create such a major drop in prices unless a star quarterback gets hurt -- like Aaron Rodgers last year when there was speculation he was done for the season, or when Tom Brady tore his ACL in 2008. Given the Browns hype and expectations though, this is a unique situation."
Drops in ticket prices on the secondary market are normal at the start of any sports season when a team goes through a rough spell. The New York Jets, after their disappointing Week 1 home loss to the Buffalo Bills, have seen the average price for tickets to their Week 2 home game drop 5 percent to $183.57 from $193.55.
The opponent in that game? The Browns.