The NFL released its 2014 schedule Wednesday night, and even though the season is over four months away, football fans across the country are already eagerly anticipating Week 1's kickoff.
Prior to the schedule's release, I predicted which 10 games would be among the biggest of the year. Now that time has passed, TicketNetwork has put together a first-day sales report, which tells fans which games are among the most popular of the season so far.
Earlier this week, I predicted the following 10 games would be among the most anticipated of the season:
- Seahawks vs. Broncos
- Patriots vs. Broncos
- Seahawks vs. Packers
- Steelers vs. Saints
- Packers vs. Patriots
- 49ers vs. Seahawks
- Broncos vs. Colts
- Eagles vs. Redskins
- Patriots vs. Lions
- Cowboys vs. 49ers
After 24 hours of sales data, it looks like the fans' excitement resembles mine -- with the exception of a few games.
The most popular game after 24 hours worth of sales on tickets listed through the TicketNetwork Online Exchange is the Week 1 matchup that pits the San Francisco 49ers against their old rivals, the Dallas Cowboys. Not only is everybody looking forward to Week 1, but Cowboys and 49ers fans now have a little extra reason to look forward to the NFL's opening weekend. The 49ers have become one of the model organizations in the NFL in recent years, while the Cowboys have put on a clinic of ineptitude -- thanks in large part to Jerry Jones.
Still, Cowboys fans are looking forward to getting a chance to knock off the 49ers to start the season.
I expected the New England Patriots to have three of the most anticipated games of the season. Well, I was half right -- the Patriots are involved in two of the top five games (by sales volume). I pegged New England's games against the Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers to be among the most popular, but after 24 hours, New England's contests against the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers are two of the most popular games of the season. When New England heads to Arrowhead Stadium to take on Andy Reid and the Chiefs, it will constitute New England's only Monday Night Football contest of the season -- so it's not a total surprise that Tom Brady's visit to Kansas City is generating such interest.
As expected, San Francisco's home game against the Seattle Seahawks is one of the top-selling games thus far. Not only will the two rivals square off, but they'll do so at San Francisco's brand-new Levi's Stadium on Thanksgiving night. Seattle and San Francisco's Thanksgiving night game is easily one of the season's most anticipated games -- and thus far, the sales data reflects that.
The most popular Thursday night game of the year thus far is Seattle's Week 1 home opener against the Green Bay Packers. The Seahawks will raise their first-ever Super Bowl championship banner that night before kicking off the 2014 regular season against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. This game was essentially a no-brainer to be popular among fans. "Fail Mary" of 2012 aside, both the Seahawks and Packers have Super Bowl dreams this season, and that it's opening the season is just icing on the cake.
The defending AFC champion Denver Broncos open up the season with a primetime Sunday night game against the Indianapolis Colts. This game normally would be a pretty big matchup, but the fact that Peyton Manning is facing his former team for the second-ever time is a pretty big deal. Like the Seahawks-Packers, this game was an easy one to peg as one of the most anticipated games of the year -- and the NFL and fans agree.
Though I was right in picking the Pittsburgh Steelers to be among the most popular teams yet again this season -- I was mistaken in which Steelers games are the most popular thus far. I still believe New Orleans' trip to Pittsburgh will end up being one of the more anticipated inter-conference matchups, but sales data after 24 hours indicates that Pittsburgh's contests against the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons are generating more interest.
I expected Philadelphia's games against the Washington Redskins to be among the top-selling, thanks in part due to DeSean Jackson, but that has not been the case. Washington's top-selling intra-division matchup is against the Dallas Cowboys, while Eagles fans are looking forward to Philadelphia's games against the New York Giants more than they are the Redskins. Still, expect plenty of intrigue before thee Eagles host the Redskins in Week 3.
TiqIQ's CEO Jesse Lawrence posted his predictions as to which games would be the most in-demand tickets of the year prior to the schedule's release. Lawrence's predictions appear to be as accurate as mine. Lawrence predicted that San Francisco's matchups against Seattle would be the most popular games of the year -- and while neither game tops Ticket Liquidator's exchange in terms of volume, the Thanksgiving night matchup between the two NFC West rivals is has the highest average ticket price thus far.
Lawrence also predicted that Denver's visit to Seattle for a Super Bowl XLVIII rematch would be among the most popular, and according to TicketNetwork's First-Day Sales Report, the matchup between the Broncos and Seahawks is the top-selling inter-conference matchup in 2014.
Further, Lawrence and I both predicted that New England's matchups against the Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers would be among the most popular games, but that isn't the case -- yet. I still believe that Brady v. Manning and Brady v. Rodgers will be two of the most anticipated games of the season.
Fans looking for tickets to any NFL game this season can check out Ticket Liquidator's NFL hub.
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