Ticket gripes, billboard bias, trash talk ... must be playoff fever
A restriction on Seahawks ticket sales that excluded those with California billing addresses is giving 49ers fans a chance to vent about lots of ways they dislike Hawk fans.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Well, there really is no love lost between Hawks and 49ers fans, is there?
Even what is a practice followed by other teams — giving preference for playoff tickets to their own fans — becomes fodder for the Internet commentariat.
Those with California billing addresses were among those excluded from buying Seahawks tickets for Sunday’s game at CenturyLink Field.
And the feud has extended to billboards, with Clear Channel Outdoor declaring a 2-mile radius around CenturyLink Field as a “protected” zone in which only pro-Hawks billboards will be allowed.
In fact, 20 such billboards have gone up, and a dozen more digital ones will light up in the Seattle outskirts.
There is a pro-49ers billboard alongside Interstate 5 near Milton, Pierce County, about 30 miles south of Seattle.
It displays rotating messages such as the Vince Lombardi Trophy awarded to the Super Bowl champion and then 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh telling quarterback Colin Kaepernick, “Bring us home another one, kid.”
That digital billboard was dreamed up by Aasheesh Shravah, a 49ers fan now practicing law in New York City.
He raised $12,000 on gofundme.com, used $7,000 to pay for five weeks of the billboard and says the rest will be donated to Seattle Children’s hospital.
Shravah says he got the idea after hearing about Seahawks fans raising money to fly a banner over Candlestick Park Dec. 8 when the Hawks lost to the 49ers, 19-17.
“I figured we’d do something back,” he says.
Shravah says he asked Clear Channel about the cost of their billboards but went with the Milton location because it was cheaper.
Pam Guinn, president and general manager of Clear Channel Outdoor in Seattle, says she turned down Shravah.
Hawks fans can take comfort that on Monday the billboard by Milton was malfunctioning and had a big stripe across it.
As for the ticket controversy, it resulted in such postings on ninersnation.com as, “Classless move from a classless org,” from somebody going by “M-Easy.”
“FrankTheTank” added, “What a bunch of punks.”
And “djww” gets nasty, referring to the string of Seahawks suspended for performance-enhancing drugs: “Does anyone know what a gallon of Adderall goes for on the street in Seattle? Must be cheaper there as everybody seems to be using it.”
But by restricting out-of-state ticket sales to billing addresses in Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Alaska, Hawaii and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta, the Seahawks were doing the same thing the Denver Broncos decided on for their home playoff game against the Patriots this coming weekend.
They have limited sales to the Rocky Mountain region.
The few thousand tickets released Monday morning by the Seahawks (they wouldn’t provide a specific figure) were sold out within 30 minutes.
But it isn’t as if the California fans have been shut out.
Tickets are available on the “secondary market,” which some might call “legalized scalpers,” and you can buy third level in EE for $418.
Still, a perceived slight is a perceived slight, even if The Sacramento Bee quoted 49ers coach Harbaugh as saying about the Seahawks ticket restrictions, “Well, it’s within the rules ... I actually respect it, what you’re trying to do for your team, put them in the best possible position to win that you can.”
But the news about the tickets gave 49ers fans a chance to vent about lots of things.
One of those posting was Tyler Hood, 31, an attorney now living in Tennessee.
He wrote about visiting Seattle with his then-girlfriend, now wife, Erin Hood, to watch the 49ers play the Hawks on Dec. 23, 2012. The Hawks demolished San Francisco 42-13.
“It was the worst sporting event experience of my life,” wrote Hood, and not because of the score.
He was wearing a 49ers jersey.
Guys in front of them at the stadium were drinking beers and “being really rude, and trying to get me to high-five them and stuff, like they were picking on me and trying to get in a fight.”
Then, after the game, as he and his girlfriend walked back to their downtown hotel, he says, on two occasions guys followed them for several blocks, “making comments about my girlfriend ... One guy was rubbing against me with his shoulders, telling me I was a loser.”
Hood says the couple kept walking and eventually the guys trailed off.
To be sure, Seahawks fans have their own stories.
Bob Holert, an executive recruiter from Kirkland, posts in this paper’s website.
He thought the ticket restriction was great.
He wrote, “When we are celebrating after the Seahawks victory next Sunday, we do not want them crying in front of us. Better they cry in their beer at their local watering hole.”
When contacted, he talks about his wife and him being harassed when watching the Seahawks at a sports bar in San Rafael, Calif.
And he tells about his intense dislike for Harbaugh.
Referring to a cover photo on Sports Illustrated that shows Harbaugh in full yelling mode, Holert says, “He looks like a crow! I didn’t like Harbaugh when he was at Stanford and I like him even less now.”
On a more positive note, after reading about the Milton billboard, a couple of buddies, Christopher Hart, of Bremerton, and Aaron Managhan, of Olympia, started a website called 12thSpirit.
They said they weren’t raising money for a billboard or banner but for the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco, just like Seattle Children’s was being helped with the leftover billboard donations.
“We wanted to take the ultimate high road,” says Managhan.
They have raised a tidy $22,669, confirmed by a hospital spokeswoman.
She also said that a bona fide anonymous Bay Area donor has pledged to match whatever is finally collected — up to $100,000 — with the same amount going to both the Seattle and San Francisco hospitals.
OK, very nice.
See, we can all get along, can’t we?
Erik Lacitis: 206-464-2237 or firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter @ErikLacitis
News researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.