The Los Angeles Rams will host the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game. Based on recent history, they have reason to be concerned that SoFi Stadium will be turned into Levi’s Stadium South for the big game.
That’s because when the 49ers played at SoFi a few weeks back, their fans absolutely took over the stadium, turning it into a San Francisco home game, which they eventually won over the “home” team. The Niners clinched the playoffs with that victory, making the outcome all the more resonant today.
The Rams were reportedly “caught off guard” by how many Niners fans invaded their stadium and quarterback Matthew Stafford told reporters afterward that “it was a tough environment for us to communicate in, really, the whole second half,” which is not something you should have to say when you’re playing at home.
Stafford’s wife, Kelly even pleaded with Rams fans after the game to not “sell you (sic) tickets to Arizona fans” for the team’s playoff opener.
Now that the Rams have home-field advantage and a chance to get back to the Super Bowl, they don’t want to risk having their stadium taken over by the Bay Area faithful so they’ve implemented a plan to limit NFC Championship ticket sales to the Los Angeles-area region. The move has understandably been met with derision.
It appears the Rams are already afraid that the 49ers will again make SoFi Stadium their home — they're trying to restrict ticket sales for a potential NFC title game by geography.
IMO pathetic and also premature — LA isn't even in the title game yet pic.twitter.com/G8VmbG9muv
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) January 23, 2022
49ers star Deebo Samuel caught wind of the maneuver and shared some strong thoughts of his own.
I get that we turned sofi stadium to Levi’s but restricting fan from buying tickets is kraxy to me….. IJS
— Deebo (@19problemz) January 24, 2022
“I get that we turned sofi stadium to Levi’s but restricting fan from buying tickets is kraxy to me….. IJS,” Deebo wrote.
The bad news for the Rams is that this attempt probably won’t be able to stem the tide of 49ers fans from invading their stadium. While the Rams can control who they sell tickets to, they can’t control what secondary ticket sellers do.
IMO 49ers fans made up about 75% of the crowd at SoFi when they last played the Rams.
Secondary ticket sites — StubHub, Ticketmaster, etc. — are still selling tickets to fans without geographic restrictions so I'd expect the 49ers to maintain a strong fan majority for NFC title
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) January 24, 2022
In other words, while the Rams continue to build up their fanbase in Los Angeles, they’re just going to have to deal with the fact that established fandoms like the 49ers and Raiders will reign in their home stadium for a while. At least this time they’ll be prepared.