Lightning latest playoff team afraid to sell tickets to opposing fans

The Lightning have put controls on playoff ticket-buying designed to keep out fans of opposing teams.

Eric Bolte/Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

When you’re not at all sure that your home fans can buy up enough tickets to keep your opponent’s followers out of your arena, what do you do? If you’re the Tampa Bay Lightning, you use geography.

In a ploy that’s been done before in different sports, the Lightning say they won’t sell playoff tickets to anyone whose billing address isn’t in Florida. That won’t keep an out-of-state fan from shopping the secondary market in order to come to Tampa and root against the home team, but it does add a level of difficulty and ramps up the cost.

In the 2013 NFL season, the Seattle Seahawks drew a ticket-buying map for the NFC title game with the San Francisco 49ers that included the Pacific Northwest but most certainly excluded Californians. (That led one 49ers fan to sue the NFL.) The Denver Broncos did the same thing to try shutting out New England Patriots fans for that year’s AFC Championship.

Then again, you could take the route of the Ottawa Senators. They offered their fans the chance to buy additional tickets to games against the Tronto Maple Leafs at a discount, as long as they didn’t sell those tickets to Toronto fans.