The Colts apparently view the new blackout rule as a curse more than a blessing, which could cause plenty of Colts fans to do some cursing once the season starts.
As first reported by FOX59.com, the Colts won’t take advantage of the provision that allows them to reduce their threshold of non-premium seats from 100 percent to as low as 85 percent.
“We’re confident that the games are going to sell out this year, but if for some reason one didn’t, then obviously the blackout rules would still apply,” said Larry Hall, V.P. of ticket operations and guest services for the Colts.
The Colts still have 2,000 season tickets available at their Lucas Oil Stadium home, even after exhausting what once was a waiting list to buy them.
“We understand what the NFL is doing and at the same time, as a small market team, we want to make sure that we protect that game day experience,” Hall said. “Every year we’ll evaluate where we’re at, but at this point in time after thinking through it, home field advantage is a big part of it. It’s a competitive advantage on the field to have the stadium full.”
The Colts’ position demonstrates the dilemma that the new policy has created. A team’s fans and the local media covering it will now expect the team to do whatever it has to do to ensure that the games will be televised, regardless of the details. As a a result, no team can effectively hide behind the blackout policy; the team can either reduce its percentage to reflect the anticipated demand for the season, or the team can commit to paying 34 cents on the dollar to ensure that enough non-premium tickets are sold.
The fact that the team must kick an extra 16 cents per dollar on every ticket sold above the adjusted minimum doesn’t matter. What matters is that the league has given teams a way to televise home games locally without selling all non-premium tickets. Teams that failed to deliver the homes games into the local fans’ homes will feel the ensuing wrath.
That’s precisely what will happen to the Colts, explains Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star. Kravitz believes (accurately) that the Colts should have crafted a more deliberate press release explaining the situation, in order to take some of the sting out of the situation.
Kravtiz also presumably believes (again accurately) that owner Jim Irsay shouldn’t have ducked Kravitz’s efforts to obtain a comment. Based on their respective Twitter pages, Kravitz tried to get Irsay to call the veteran reporter, and Irsay responded by tweeting Rolling Stones lyrics from Waiting on a Friend, by asking Kravitz if his number is “867-5309” (the Tommy Tutone song), inexplicably blurting out “pizza pizza,” and finally telling Kravitz that Irsay is “watching Godzilla . . . one must have some leisure to be proper and well-rounded.”
Some Colts may think that’s funny. Others may think that Irsay officially has become a modern-day Nero, fiddling with Twitter while his fan base burns.