The 4-0 Bengals host the Seahawks Sunday, and the locals are apparently excited.
The game is sold out, a rarity in Cincinnati. The Bengals had about 58,000 fans for each of their two previous home games this season.
In addition to announcing a sellout this week, the Bengals announced that “limited” tickets are left for a Nov. 5 Thursday night game vs. the Browns. The listed capacity for Paul Brown Stadium is 65,515.
The Bengals didn’t get more than 60,000 for a game last year until their fifth home game. They sold out 57 straight games from Nov. 2003-Nov. 2010, but the team struggled in 2010 and longtime fan favorites Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco were gone the next season. The Bengals didn’t crack 45,000 for either of their first two home games in 2011, but the team has been in the playoffs every year since and averaged over 63,000 fans in 2013 before seeing a slight dip last season.
The Bengals were the only team to vote against the NFL nixing local TV blackouts last spring, but team owner Mike Brown insisted that was related to a revenue-sharing issue, not actually forcing fans to come to the stadium to see the team play. Even when the NFL relaxed its blackout rules, the Bengals initially didn’t want to declare sellouts unless they’d actually sold out.
The Bengals hadn’t had a home game blacked out since 2012, and now they’re seeing reward at the box office for what’s been one of the league’s most impressive teams on the field over the season’s first month.