DETROIT -- The Detroit Lions level of play on the field has created issues with selling tickets at Ford Field. Turns out the franchise has no problems when it is giving away tickets.
The Lions might not be playing tonight but with the Vikings having a "home" game here against the New York Giants because of the collapse of the Metrodome roof many people turned out to scoop up tickets that were gratis.
In fact, the Lions issued a press release at 9:44 a.m. CST that "due to the overwhelming response this morning" they were no longer distributing tickets at the Ford Field box office. Vikings official Jeff Anderson tweeted that the estimated distribution was 30,000 tickets.
Although Ford Field can hold 64,500, the Lions ended the giveaway because they are going to need to accommodate Vikings fans who made the trip from the Twin Cities and had tickets for the game in the Metrodome, as well as Detroit fans who had a ticket to their team's game against the Packers on Sunday.
Those Vikings fans will be admitted and given preferred seating, while fans who paid to get into Sunday’s Packers-Lions game in Detroit also can use their ticket and will be admitted free with no reserved seating. There are definitely fans from Minnesota making this trip on short notice between charters that are coming here and based on the fact our plane had quite a few folks dressed up in Vikings garb on Sunday night.
Anderson posted that nearly 700 Vikings fans are making the trip on four sold-out Sun Country flights.
Meanwhile, Pat Hanlon of the Giants reports that the first person was in line outside Ford Field at 2 a.m. Lions President Tom Lewand told WJR Radio (via the Michigan Live website) that the stadium could reach capacity before the 6:20 p.m. kickoff.
"This is something we've had to pull together on short order," Lewand said. "So we're all going to have to work together, show the good Detroit spirit and make sure we can accommodate as many people as we can. But I think we're going to be a little oversubscribed."
The Lions warn in their press release that this is a "first-come, first-serve event" and fans with Lions-Packers ticket stubs and general admission tickets distributed this morning are not guaranteed if stadium capacity is reached. Stadium gates open at 5:30 p.m. EST.
Lewand said on WJR that he first heard of the collapse of the Metrodome roof on Sunday morning and sent a text message to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at around 8:45 a.m. EST to offer Ford Field as a potential solution. Lewand admitted he did not have high expectations that Goodell would say yes but by 10:45 details were being finalized.