Winning in sports sells. Losing, not so much. Reporter Chris O'Malley, who covers transportation for IBJ, recently discovered that trend is extending far beyond the Colts Pro Shop.
Sales of Indianapolis Colts jerseys, T-shirts and other merchandise aren’t the only thing slowing amid the team’s losing season. So are Colts license plates.
It seems fewer motorists want the state’s “Go Colts” tag on the back of their vehicles, with sales down 6.4 percent in November, according to Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles data.
Fans appeared hopeful in August, when the BMV sold 4,538 Colts plates—up 4.2 percent from the same month in 2010.
Sales went downhill from there as the team tanked without Peyton Manning—falling 3 percent in September and 8 percent in October.
Colts specialty plates cost $20, plus a $15 administrative fee. The money BMV collects from the plates goes to the Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority toward the $700 million cost of Lucas Oil Stadium, as well as toward the expansion of the Indiana Convention Center.
While fans now can buy Colts merchandise at a discount, not so the struggling team’s license plate.
“We have no plans to mark down any license plates. Luckily for us, with our on-demand plate production, we don’t have boxes of license plates lying around,” said Graig Lubsen, BMV spokesman.
Sales of Colts plates soared 131 percent in 2007, the year the team beat the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl.