For Colts, better to be lucky than good

  • Comments
  • Print

Sitting at yesterday’s game it occurred to me—again—just how financially fortunate the Indianapolis Colts are.

Colts officials are cashing checks from their 20-year, $121.5 million title sponsorship deal for Lucas Oil Stadium while Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is still hunting for a title sponsor for the eighth wonder of the world down in Texas.

The Colts have multi-year (most of them seven years or longer) leases for all but a handful of 137 luxury suites, while the Jets and Giants recently hired an outside firm to help sell suites in their soon-to-be-open new home.

Colts officials didn’t sell five or so suites on a multi-year deal so they could sell them on a game-by-game basis. It’s good business to have a broad crowd sampling the stadium’s most expensive product. With all the other suites sold out for years, it creates a real feeling of exclusivity people want to be a part of.

Those multi-year leases deals bring in between $40,000 and $275,000 annually for the Colts, and that’s before you figure in parking, food and other ancillary sales.

The economy has indeed hit the once iron-clad National Football League. But the Colts have almost completely sidestepped the financial blitz.
 
Indianapolis is one of 11 franchises in the 32-team NFL that so far this season is averaging at least 100 percent capacity at its home games. Through the first half the season, the Colts are averaging 104.7 percent of capacity, bringing in just under 66,000 per regular season game.

On a percentage basis, the Colts are second to only Dallas, who is stuffing 122.3 percent of capacity into its behemoth facility. They must really be jamming them in those luxury suites. New Orleans is third on a percentage basis, filling the Super Dome to 102.8 percent of capacity.

All 32 teams on average are filling to 96.1 percent capacity. Hardly a crisis to jump up and down about, but still it’s a nearly 3 percent decline from last season, and for the NFL, that’s pretty eye opening. And remember, the Cowboys’ ridiculous numbers in their new stadium are skewing everything up at least a couple percent.

Yes, it’s true big-market teams like Washington and New York still bring in 10,000 plus more fans per game than the small-market Colts. But all in all, the Colts are doing just fine.

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. And I’m not saying the Colts sales staff isn’t good, because I think they’ve played all the cards they’ve been dealt just right.

But if Lucas Oil Stadium is built  just a year later, there’s likely no stadium sponsor, there’s probably a lot more vacant suites the sales team is hustling to sell on a game-by-game basis, that air of exclusivity would deflate faster than the old RCA Dome roof, and the financial fortunes of this team look a whole lot different.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: IBJ is now using a new comment system. Your Disqus account will no longer work on the IBJ site. Instead, you can leave a comment on stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Past comments are not currently showing up on stories, but they will be added in the coming weeks. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news. ONLY $1/week Subscribe Now

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In

Get the best of Indiana business news.

Limited-time introductory offer for new subscribers

ONLY $1/week

Cancel anytime

Subscribe Now

Already a paid subscriber? Log In