Colts fans want a little pay back

January 25, 2010
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During the good times for any professional sports franchise there’s a lot of talk about not taking your team—and what they’re accomplishing—for granted.

And true to form, I’ve heard that refrain more than a few times this year among local media folks and some of the Indianapolis Colts’ faithful.
But you know, there’s a flip side to that.
Teams too need to be careful not to take things for granted; namely, their fans’ loyalty—and willingness to part with hard earned dollars to support the home team.

I’m not saying the Colts haven’t done a fine job with fan relations so far. What I am saying is that they’re sitting in the locker room at half time, and adjustments always need to be made.

This era of on-field productivity is a rare opportunity for the Colts to foster some true blue loyalty with their fans. Again, they’re on their way. But I’m not convinced they’ve hit maximum pay dirt yet.
And I’m not just talking about the big-money backers. Those front runners melt in your mouth faster than the overpriced chocolate candies sold at the stadium’s concession stands.

And I don’t want to hear about long season ticket waiting lists. Those evaporate faster than cotton candy on the end of your tongue. Anyone in sports sales should know that.

The delicate balance between a team and its fans is why the handling of something as seemingly innocuous as the disbursement of Super Bowl tickets can be such a slippery slope.
By the way, the drawing for the tickets was done long ago, so if you’re a season ticket holder and haven’t been notified yet, you didn’t get drawn.

Anyone can do the math. There are about 60,000 Colts season tickets sold. Dolphin Stadium holds 75,540, and the Colts and Saints each get 17.5 percent of those. That means the Colts sales staff gets about 13,320 Super Bowl tickets to disburse.
Here’s how the rest of the Super Bowl tickets are disbursed: 1.2 percent to each team not in the game, 5 percent to the host team/city, 25.2 percent to the NFL—which hands them out to sponsors, broadcast partners and the host committee.

So, you can see, not every Colts season ticket holder is going. But they all want to feel like they had a fair shot. If they don’t, they won’t be shy about hollering louder about it than they would a Peyton Manning benching.
During the good times, fans will let teams know of their displeasure, but will likely continue to come back. But that bad karma during bad times always comes back to bite the home team in the butt—and the pocketbook.

I hear from season ticket holders—and not just Colts—all the time, and little things matter. The Colts know this. For the most part, they’ve done a great job bonding with their fans. Who could forget the statewide tour the Colts took the Lombardi trophy on when they last won the Super Bowl.

But just as many fans remember a pile of Super Bowl tickets that year being distributed to state lawmakers. Some fans think they get pushed aside for fat-cat sponsors. Several told me they were still steamed that fewer than half of the allotment for Peyton Manning’s first Super Bowl went to actual season ticket holders.

Colts sales staffers are smarter than your average bear. That’s probably why when I called to get details of the dispersal Friday, it sounded more like I was talking to a Secret Service agent than a Colts sales executive. Colts officials wouldn’t even tell me how many tickets the team would have to disburse. The NFL divulged that tidbit.

The only thing I was told is that the team conducts a drawing weighted by seniority of season ticket holders. Colts officials wouldn’t tell me what that formula is, how season ticket holder would be notified or where fans would pick up their Super Bowl tickets.

OK. Fair enough if you don’t want to tell the media. But season ticket holders may demand more.

A fair shot. A measure of loyalty given back. That’s all fans want. In some ways, they’re no different than the athletes and coaches they cheer.

  • Seniority...really???
    As a twenty year season ticket holder the old formula of # of tickets owned x number of years owned = number of chances out of the remaining available tickets allotted is no longer. There isn't a "seniority basis," and if there is, I believe it is up to the Colts organization to prove otherwise.
  • Super Bowl Tickets
    Agree I wish the process was more transparent. I do know that while I did not get selected, the people in front of me did, so at least some actual season tickets holders got them.
  • bad odds
    My understanding from people in the Colts front office is that 3,000 of the 13,000+ Super Bowl tickets went to season ticket holders. All of that secrecy for the protection of fans is complete garbage. It's to protect their own hind quarters.
  • Seniority
    I am an upper-deck season ticketholder since average Joe. I got the Super Bowl offer in 2004 and again this year (but not 2007). So "regular" people do get the tickets...
  • Colts Loyalty
    The only loyalty I have seen from the Colts is 'Shut up and give us your money.'
  • loyal fan
    I am a season ticket holder since the beginning and received a Super Bowl offer; so did some other fans who sit near me. Had another friend who got the offer before, but not this time, so I believe that REAL people do get the tickets.
  • missing the point
    I am a long-time season ticket holder and I didn't get the Super Bowl offer either of the two years. But that's not the point. And it's beside the point that Sharon got the offer. This is the point: The Colts got 13,320 Super Bowl tickets, and 3,000 went to Joe SixPack season ticket holders. Yes, some got them. And all 3,000 could write in here and it'd look great. But the fact is, 10,320 tickets were handed out to local big-money corparate partners and other dignitaries, like state lawmakers, who have never done a darn thing for the team. Meanwhile, 50,000+ season ticket holders, those who shell out $2,000 or more for the honor, get to watch the game on their small screen at home. That's not the definition of loyalty. That's the definition of unfair.
    • Bounced
      The Colts's current situation reminds me so much of the situation the Indiana Pacers were in a decade ago. The Pacers sales and marketing staff took a siesta, took the fans for granted, wined and dined the fat cats, and going to the game became a social event, not a sporting event. When the Pacers' game went south, it was like the fans exited stage left faster than sorority girls at a frat party when the keg runs dry. And then the genius that is Larry Bird hosted a party for supposed long-time season tix holders at his house. Problem is, he didn't bother to invite a lot of long-time team supporters, and it bit the Pacers where it counts, and hurts. The Pacers simply never recovered from their lack of blocking and tackling, and now the Colts could face the same situation if they're not careful.
    • Tix
      Colts fans do realize if they get tickets to the Super Bowl, they will be forced to watch the game outdoors at the mercy of the elements, right?
    • Very funny
      CP, very nice. LOL. Let the debate over the retractable roof and the light-weight bandwagon Colts fans begin.
    • Worst blog ever
      Mr. Schoettle seems to like to manufacture controversy. I'm a season-ticket holder who closely follows the Colts in print and sports talk radio, and I've yet to hear one complaint about the Super Bowl ticket lottery until this blog.

      If 3,000 folks are being selected in the lottery, then 6,000 tickets are being distributed to season ticket holders as each individual selected gets the opportunity to purchase two. So, roughly half of the Colts' allotment is going to season-ticket holders. The other half is going to politicians and corporate fat cats? So what? If you don't believe the Pats and Steelers (or name any other stable, successful franchise that's appeared in the Super Bowl) have done the same thing, then you're delusional. You better believe teams are going to make sure the big-money sponsors and legislators that can affect the team's fortune will always be taken care of. It's the way of the world.

      This is a non-issue.
      Everybody knows the NFL teams care about one thing and one thing only - MONEY. Since the days the Rams owner went to jail scalping Super Bowl tickets to today, that's what they do. My neighbor played for the Colts for 7 years. Everyone ,even the high up team executives we praise scalps tickets. Coaches, players, front office, presidents, and now owners. My buddy told me they had a assistant coach who was the middle man. The fans get screwed, Fans got to buy a package from the ticket company the team did a deal with. It's always the guy in the custom made suit. They are all crooks. They take our money!!!! Irsay screwed the real fans so John Mellencamp and his buddies can get tickets.
    • Done nothing? it is the high dollar customers who buy the suites, sponsor the stadium etc... I have to agree that I know many season ticket owners and none have ever complained about the lottery.
    • Season Ticket Holders Agree
      Well I work with 8 season ticket holders and know a dozen more, right on. One of these received he offer and all are puzzled at the process. Why do TicketExchange, StubHub and all the travel agencies have ample supply? Must be the NFL captalizing. And I believe the 3,000 is the number of tickets disbursed to Colts STH.
    • Seriously???
      Worst blog ever? Really??? Take it easy will ya, Brian. I've read some pretty bad blogs out there. Maybe it's the worst if you work for the Colts. Relax.
    • Angle
      Brian probably gets comp tickets and is not selling everything he owns on eBay to raise $1,800 per to go to the big show - to support the very team whose admin is screwing us out of a legitimate chance at tickets.
      • speaking of comps...
        I don't have a problem if the people who shell out the big bux as corporate team sponsors get first shot at the tickets.

        Remember...Forrest Lucas is paying the Colts a couple thousand times what us Average Joe ticketholders pay. If he ends up with a couple hundred tickets, I have absolutely no problem.

        And if each team member, coach and staffer gets even four or five tickets, that will suck up a couple of thousand too.

        Some people will just complain for the sake of complaining, and I think this is one of those times.
      • cdc guy
        You have no problem because you received tickets this year. I bet you would have a different outlook if you were like most of the rest of us - looking in from the outside.
      • Still a bad blog
        Sorry to break it to you, Angie, but no comps for me. I'm just an average guy (not a Colts employee) with three season tickets in the 600 level corner. I didn't get selected in the lottery, so I won't be going to the game.

        Season ticket holders get a fan guide with their tickets that provides an overview of how the lottery works. Is it ultra-specific? No, but it doesn't have to be.

        The IndyStar reported that each player gets to buy up to 15 tickets. I don't doubt that Messrs. Irsay and Polian can have as many as they wish. I also don't doubt that Mr. Lucas gets quite a few as well given that he spends a ton of money each year to put his name on the building.

        All I'm saying is that this is nothing new. The Colts did it in 2007, and you can bet that other successful franchises have done it as well. Mr. Schoettle's suggestion that this threatens the team's relationship with its fanbase is ludicrous. Fans will remain loyal to the Colts so long as they're consistently competitive. The Pacers alienated its fanbase by consistently losing with problem-child players.

        There's no news here, hence my criticism of this blog. It serves no other purpose than to stir crap up, but it's not the first example of such by Mr. Schoettle.
      • No Problem in 07
        I didn't get tickets in 2007 and didn't gripe then.

        News flash: the game's on free TV. .
      • Brian, you're an idiot
        It's called a blog for a reason. If you don't like what it says, stop reading!

        And, quite a few people were upset at the way the lottery was handled in 2007. We've had tickets since 1986 (eight of them now) and have never been selected in any of the lotteries. To see tickets offered to state legislators last time was a slap in the face.
        You hand those superbowl tickets out to "dignitaries" at the state, be sure to tell them to DECLARE THE INCOME, just like their revenue agents insist we do if we get a free candy bar at work every day.

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