Colts creativity rings cash register

August 18, 2008
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coltspowThe Indianapolis Colts sell sponsorships like Peyton Manning throws touchdown passes. A lot of the credit goes to the team’s former sales and marketing boss Ray Compton, who sold everything imaginable when the Colts racked up a lot more losses than wins.

Compton, who left the team three years ago to start his own company, passed the torch to Tom Zupancic, who has taken the Colts’ sales efforts to an even higher level. Zupancic’s right hand man in sales, Jay Souers, also deserves a lot of credit.

Today, the Colts will announce a new multi-year naming rights deal with Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance for the team’s 56th Street training complex. Sports marketers said the deal is worth as much as $1.5 million annually, putting it in the upper half in the NFL in terms of value scored from a training complex deal.

When the Colts first sold the naming right to the training complex in 2000, they were only the third team in the NFL to have such a deal. Only Dallas and Philadelphia beat them to the punch.

“This team in this market has had to be creative,” said Mark Rosentraub, former IUPUI dean and noted sports economist.

If you saw the new Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend, you saw that Zupancic and his staff picked up in the creativity department where Compton, who honed his skills marketing minor league hockey, left off. The Colts are the first NFL teams to let sponsors design and decorate themed areas as the stadium was being built. The 14 themed sponsorship areas will score the team about $18 million annually.

“This front office has learned to score in a number of ways,” Rosentraub said. “For a very long time, fostering this sort of mentality was a matter of survival. Now it’s allowing them to thrive.”
  • I love the Colts and this blog, but that's one ugly picture.
  • I love the Colts, but man every time I turn around, I see where they are raking in the cash on something. They got a sweet deal with the stadium as far as revenue sharing. Only had to pay about 1/10th of the cost to build the thing. Irsay better step it up when they hit him up for donations to improve Indianapolis. IUPUI Natatorium needs a big overhaul. Hey Irsay, time to get your check book out money bags!
  • Jim is something of a pass-through. Sure, he's getting some dough, but lots of cash is passing through to Peyton, Marvin, Dwight Freeney, et al. So when local civic leaders go to solicit donations, don't forget to call on the players too.
  • This is great and those involved should be commended. The only problem is it is still way to expensive for me to take my family of four to a game, let alone ever consider season tickets. As the local paper showed today the average cost of vending is $20/person. Add the cost of parking and the tickets and it will cost almost $300 or more to see a game. It has become a totally corporate event. The average fan needs a way to afford the game. As times get tighter the corporations are going to quickly pull back their expenses on things like this anyway. Then what do the Colts and others do when the fan base is price blocked out?
  • The average fan does have a way to enjoy the game. It's called TV. And an entire bag of Orville Reddenbacher's (unpopped) is $3. Oil not included. Enjoy!
  • Bill,
    You must not be an average joe... and obviously an elitist that is part of the problem. When a person has to pay around $300 for their family to ATTEND the game... it's not for the average joe anymore and is for the corporations and upper class. Yes, it can still be watched on TV... but it would be nice for the average joe (with a family) to be able to afford to attend more than one game a season. And don't get me started on Super Bowl ticket prices, which were $600 each at face value two years ago in Miami... who knows what they'll be in 2012 when the Super Bowl is here. And on a side note, the focus will be on Indy in 2012 and money will be coming into the city... but not a single average joe who lives in Indianapolis will be able to go to the Super Bowl because of the price of the tickets.
    And if the Colts were to start losing and home games weren't sold out... the average fan can't watch the home games on TV at home (unless they have the NFL Sunday Ticket, which is also expensive if you only care about one team) . This isn't going to happen here any time soon, because I don't see the Colts having a losing team any time soon... but this does happen in other NFL markets.
    So, take your elitist comment somewhere else and think before you type... Enjoy!
  • Good to see Ray Compton get credit where it's due. While he did lead the Ice hockey team, he actually developed his wacky promotional skills before that with the Pacers.
  • I do have season tickets and yes it does get very expensive. However, if your average family does want to go to one game, the cost is not as crazy as you might think. Go to Kings Island for a day it will cost about the same. With tickets and refreshments it's over $80 to go to a movie.

    As for comments on Ray Compton, yes he is fantastic.
  • Hey A.J., I'm raising 4 kids on an annual salary of 50K. Elitist, I don't think so. But I do understand economics and the laws of supply and demand. Go get you popcorn ready. That's what me and my kids do. And believe it or not, the kernels are not even soaked in tears. Peace.
  • Hey B.S., then be happy in front of your tiny 20-inch TV watching the Colts... but some of us others would like to go to a game in person... so, go ahead and eat your popcorn and watch at home, and that's where you'll stay with the I can't do anything about it attitude.

    As for the other comment... yeah, Kings Island is expensive, but at least it's a whole day... a Colts game is only around 3 hours. And a movie is expensive too, but nowhere near the price of a Colts game.
  • There's really no call to disparage my TV. Now there are tears in my popcorn.

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