When the Colts announced Tuesday that they wouldn’t lower the threshold for the tickets they need to sell to avoid blackouts this season, some wondered how the news would be received by a fan base already shaken by last year’s dismal record and the departure of Peyton Manning.
Early returns show that the decision might have been a shrewd way to stoke ticket sales. Larry Hall, the Colts’ vice president of ticket operations, told Phil Richards of the Indianapolis Star that Wednesday saw a big spike in call volume to the team’s ticket office.
“There were three times the number of calls this morning as opposed to the last couple days,” Hall said.
Hall also addressed complaints that the team should have had a more formal announcement of their decision to keep the blackout threshold at 100 percent of non-premium seats despite the NFL giving teams the right to ratchet the number down. Hall said they are 97 percent sold and have less than 2,000 tickets to sell, a situation that wasn’t worthy of a press release because the Colts never saw it as a significant issue.
It’s hard to argue with their take. Lowering the threshold, which can go down to 85 percent, means that the Colts would have to give up half the revenue (up from 34 percent of all tickets sold) generated by sales of tickets above the new threshold to the visiting teams. Saving that money won’t win them any support if the games don’t wind up on television, but the Colts should be able to pull it off with two months to go before games and the signing of Andrew Luck looming as a way to further flag interest.