Colts won’t take advantage of new blackout rule

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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, 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.

32 responses to “Colts won’t take advantage of new blackout rule

  1. I don’t it’s Colt’s fan’s that find Irsay’s comments funny.. I think it’s the rest of the leagues fans that might find them funny.. However if Mike Brown dares to make the same move of Irsay… I envision Paul Brown Stadium being burnt down to the ground as merely a pile of ashes beside a river…

  2. Nero? that is a little strong. Call me when he start executing detractors and building giant monuments to his greatness all over indianapolis. He definetly failed big here and left his fan base out in the open. If there is one thing Irsay needs to be banned from, its Twitter.

  3. No wonder they went from season ticket waiting list to 2k+ available. HORRIBLE front office and HORRIBLE marketing.

  4. I can tell you for sure who thinks this is freaking hilarious – Baltimore fans. We have been telling you all for years that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. This owner is a tool. His father was a tool. His family all fits in a TOOLBOX.

    Jimmy Irsay was born on 3rd thinking he hit a triple. He has no clue what the majority of America thinks about. Some of his fans thinks its cool to have a “hiphop” owner. Well, the Peyton Manning era is over. Sure, they lucked into Luck, but it was Manning that built and ran the team from Indy. And he and his 12 wins a year are gone.

    Meanwhile, we’ll happily watch the Ravens continue to make the playoffs. And just like Pittsburgh and Cowher we will make and win the SB with Harbs. Just hopin’ it doesn’t take till Harbs has been coaching 14 years.

    And you in Indy….. well….. have a great time with that idiot that runs your team. We’ll be watching and laughing.

  5. Great move Irsay. Alienate most of the fan base by running THE FRANCHISE out of town. Then top that off by not taking advantage of league given brownie points and blacking out home games..

    I used to think he was a good yet shrewd businessman. Now it’s obvious he’s just an idiot. Your team tanks the season for the #1 pick and now you hold the fans hostage. What a jackass.

  6. Look at Irsay’s twitter feed….erratic and all over the place and all points in time during the day. Perhaps, someone needs to drop Johnnie, Jim and Jack from his entourage. Also, 867-5309 was by Tommy Tutone.Tutone

  7. The blackout rule is ridiculous. Black out a game because it’ll make JOe Average at home say, Gee, I need to plunk down $100 to watch the game! I better get over there!

    If NFL ticket prices weren’t so ridiculous, there wouldn’t be a need for the blackout rule.

  8. The league is scared to death of the day that the majority of their fans finally figure out that there is no reason to go to the game. A lot of people frequently mention how they can’t go because the tickets are overpriced but I don’t even want to go if offered free tickets.
    I go to one game a year out of tradition with a friend and I feel like I miss 75% of what happened compared to my home viewing experience. Additionally at the game you have to deal with drunken morons and commercials that seem to last forever. Why anybody spends thousands of dollars on season tickets when Sunday Ticket only costs $199 a year is beyond me.

  9. Or….that this is proof positive that Irsay has gone around the bend and needs hospitalization!

  10. Nobody showed up before Manning, I’m sure nobody will show up after him. Too bad Polian’s gone. It would be interesting to see how he could pipe in fan noise with only a half filled dome.

  11. All the blackout rule does is send traffic to live streaming sites the league doesn’t make a penny from.

  12. They really better hope that Luck isn’t the next Leaf or Couch. Great that they want to alienate their fan base further who is already edgy from losing Manning.

  13. I can’t wait to see what billionaire heir Jimmy tweets when the Colts are blacked out in Indy on Oct 21 when the Browns come to Lucas.

  14. @vtopa I wish I could hit “thumbs up” 100 times. Sometimes you have to wonder what the thought process is for these policies…blacking out games certainly doesn’t inspire the average fan to purchase tickets in order to see the game.

  15. Suggesting that Irsay was specifically replying to Kravitz with those tweets is a little silly. If you look at his twitter history, he posts like that all the time. He also gives away money, so he has thousands of people who follow him and probably tweet at him all the time, so it’s not hard to imagine him not even seeing the tweet.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a total douche, but just because he didn’t respond to a reporter – instead continuing to do what he always does in posting pure gibberish – doesn’t mean he was intentionally ducking the question.

  16. When the Colts returned from Super Bowl XLIV, there were 11 fans to greet them at the airport. 11. That tells you all you need to know about Indianapolis.

  17. After that tankjob last season they should give their remaining fans something. The lowered bar on blackouts seemed to be an easy out, but apparently Jimmy Irsay doesn’t think so. Give them at least a season at the start of the Andrew Luck era!

  18. Could be out of line here, but I believe the idea is to sell tickets, not make it easier for fans to watch at home.

    There are several, I will not mention names because I do not want to alienate teams’ fanbase, but several professional sports franchises that routinely field competitive teams and they can’t sell out home games.

    As an owner, what is my motivation to build a winner if “no one” comes to see it? Zero really.

    Fans need to quit complaining about not being able to watch the game from their lazy boy, because home games don’t sell out.

    Get your collective aces to the stadium and support the team that you’re taking for granted. In the blink of an eye, they could be gone.

    In other words, Irsay’s pompous attitude aside, I see absolutely nothing wrong with maintaining the black out policy that is in place.

  19. Does anyone else see the irony in Irsay building a much larger stadium out of public money then using the increased capacity to justify not letting the local fans watch the games on television?

    Irsay’s not the worst owner in the league, but he’s the most objectionable. He makes Jerry Jones seem cuddly.

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