KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- For the second year in a row, the road to the Super Bowl will go through Arrowhead Stadium. But home field advantage isn’t what it used to be.
In fact, one fan-tracking company is predicting that Tennessee Titans fans will make up 25% of the crowd at Sunday’s AFC Championship Game in Kansas City. According to Vivid Seats, based in Chicago, that’s by far the largest percentage of visiting fans for all of the NFL postseason games this year.
“If you even look at the NFC Championship Game, it’s going to be just 6% Packers fans (in San Francisco),” said Andrew Gretchko with Vivid Seats. “You compare that 6% of Packers fans traveling to the bay area, versus the 25% that’s going to be at Arrowhead.”
Gretchko’s firm uses a proprietary formula and advanced analytics to determine how many fans, for each team, will be at any given stadium.
Gretchko said for most of this year’s NFL playoff games, the home teams have generally enjoyed an above 90% majority.
So what’s going on with the Chiefs-Titans game?
“It’s just an incredible run by the Titans in this playoffs,” Gretchko said. “As they haven’t had a home game yet, and I think that excitement is starting to build for Tennessee Titans fans across the country.”
Fans from visiting teams getting a little too comfortable in KC has been a sore spot with some of the Chiefs players this season. Defensive tackle Chris Jones spoke out after a big turnout of Minnesota Vikings fans showed up at Arrowhead in November.
“Chiefs Kingdom, we got to stop selling our tickets,” Jones said. “Especially home games, they’re important to this community, to this organization. You can’t sell your tickets.”
There is one silver lining for Chiefs fans: This is just a projection from Vivid Seats, and there’s still time to maximize the home field advantage.
“This is our initial projection,” Gretchko said. “Fans can still buy tickets all the way up until the moment the game starts. So that fan forecast could change between now and the game. But as of right now, it’s holding strong at a 75-25 (Chiefs/Titans) split.”