IBJNews

Colts: Manning situation not hurting ticket sales

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

All the uncertainty swirling around the Indianapolis Colts hasn’t hurt season-ticket sales, the team says.

Despite coming off a 2-14 season and the future of franchise quarterback Peyton Manning lingering in doubt, Colts officials said season-ticket renewals are running ahead of last year's pace.

That’s saying something, considering the Colts have been among the National Football League leaders in season-ticket renewals in recent years. Last year, season-ticket renewals were about 95 percent, team officials said.

The Colts have sold out the home venue through season-ticket sales for the last decade, with the exception of 2,000 or so tickets held out each year for group sales.

Even after moving from the 56,000-seat RCA Dome to the 63,000-seat Lucas Oil Stadium in 2008, the Colts still have a season-ticket waiting list of 9,000, according to team Senior Vice President Pete Ward.

“You never know how things are going to turn out until after the renewal deadline, but right now things are really going well for us in terms of ticket sales this off-season,” Ward said. “There’s no doubt that having the No. 1 pick in the draft has generated a lot of excitement.”

While the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft—expected to be used on Stanford University quarterback Andrew Luck—is generating excitement, the uncertainty of Manning’s future is just as likely causing angst among some fans and delaying the ticket purchases of some.

March 1 is the deadline for Colts season-ticket holders to pay for next season’s tickets. March 8 is the deadline for the Colts to either pay Manning a $28 million option bonus, renegotiate his contract or cut him loose as a free agent.

Some fans have complained publicly that the Colts are waiting to announce what they’ll do regarding Manning until after the ticket renewal deadline.

“There’s absolutely nothing to that,” Ward said. “Those two things are totally unrelated. The renewal date has always been March 1.”

Irsay said he'll sit down to talk with Manning about his future with the team in the next seven days. So whether it's a coincidence or not, Colts fans may not know definitively about Manning's future until after March 1.

Josh Boling is one of those loyal Manning fans who are still waiting to renew his season tickets.

“I have such strong feelings about Peyton Manning, it’s difficult to separate whether I’m a Peyton fan or a Colts fan,” said Boling, a life-long Colts fans and season-ticket holder for four years. “I suppose I’ll always be a Colts fan because I’m from here, but if Peyton is gone next year, that will leave a huge hole. I know a lot of Colts fans feel the same way.”

Boling said he is leaning toward renewing his tickets.

“They’re so hard to get right now,” Boling said. “I waited a long time to get these tickets, and I don’t want to lose them.”

Edward Holloran III, a Colts season-ticket holder for nine years, estimates that 75 percent of Colts season-ticket holders are pure Colts fans, while the other 25 percent are Peyton Manning followers.

Sports marketers liken the Colts-Manning situation to that of Bob Knight when he was men’s basketball coach at Indiana University. Many fans vowed to stop following the team when the university fired the controversial coach.

“The one thing we know right now for sure is that there are a lot of Peyton Manning fans in this town,” said David Morton, president of Sunrise Sports Group, a local sports marketing firm. “So, I think that’s why [Colts owner] Jim Irsay is handling this situation so carefully.”

Boling doesn’t like the way Irsay and Manning have aired some of their views publicly, but Holloran, an attorney in the local office of Frost Brown Todd LLC, said he thinks Irsay has handled the situation masterfully.

“I think it’s a brilliant PR strategy by the Colts,” Holloran said. “They’re slowly and meticulously preparing Colts fans for the end of the Manning era. They’re not jolting their fan base with this. They’re getting them to slowly start dealing with the emotions of it.”

From talking to fellow Colts ticketholders and reading online fan forums, Holloran has come to believe that those calling for keeping Manning at all costs are “a vocal minority.”

“I do think there are some fans sitting on the fence who wouldn’t renew their season tickets if they knew for sure Peyton wasn’t going to be around,” Holloran said. “But, I think most will stay due to the strength of the NFL product and the thought that with the No. 1 pick, the Colts will turn it around.”

Holloran and Boling agree Irsay and his new staff will be given a grace period to turn the franchise back into a championship-caliber club before Colts home attendance becomes an issue again like it was in the late 1990s.

“As long as they show progress like they did when Peyton first came here, I think the fans will support them,” Boling said. “But if in two or three years, they’re still not playing well, especially if Peyton is playing well somewhere else, I think you’ll see a lot of ill feelings for the team come to the surface.”

ADVERTISEMENT

  • also consider
    Also renewals may be ahead of schedule because a letter was sent to season ticket holders that if they paid for tixs before the end of january they were entered into a lottery for super bowl tixs.
  • Who needs'em
    I'm a major Peyton fan.I mean he's the second best QB of all time.#1 being Johnny U.As you can prob tell imma Colts fan first then a Peyton fan.Anyone who only likes the Colts cause of Peyton can glad hit the road once he does.We will be back on top angain soon enuff and u WILL NOT be welcome back.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. From the story: "The city of Indianapolis also will consider tax incentives and funding for infrastructure required for the project, according to IEDC." Why would the City need to consider additional tax incentives when Lowe's has already bought the land and reached an agreement with IEDC to bring the jobs? What that tells me is that the City has already pledged the incentives, unofficially, and they just haven't had time to push it through the MDC yet. Either way, subsidizing $10/hour jobs is going to do nothing toward furthering the Mayor's stated goal of attracting middle and upper-middle class residents to Marion County.

  2. Ron Spencer and the entire staff of Theater on the Square embraced IndyFringe when it came to Mass Ave in 2005. TOTS was not only a venue but Ron and his friends created, presented and appeared in shows which embraced the 'spirit of the fringe'. He's weathered all the storms and kept smiling ... bon voyage and thank you.

  3. Not sure how many sushi restaurants are enough, but there are three that I know of in various parts of downtown proper and all are pretty good.

  4. First off, it's "moron," not "moran." 2nd, YOU don't get to vote on someone else's rights and freedoms that are guaranteed by the US Constitution. That's why this is not a state's rights issue...putting something like this to vote by, well, people like you who are quite clearly intellectually challenged isn't necessary since the 14th amendment has already decided the issue. Which is why Indiana's effort is a wasted one and a waste of money...and will be overturned just like this has in every other state.

  5. Rick, how does granting theright to marry to people choosing to marry same-sex partners harm the lives of those who choose not to? I cannot for the life of me see any harm to people who choose not to marry someone of the same sex. We understand your choice to take the parts of the bible literally in your life. That is fine but why force your religious beliefs on others? I'm hoping the judges do the right thing and declare the ban unconstitutional so all citizens of Wisconsin and Indiana have the same marriage rights and that those who chose someone of the same sex do not have less rights than others.

ADVERTISEMENT