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On the New Colts Blackout Policy

Posted By Rich Marchione On Jul 11 2012 @ 2:50 pm In Indianapolis Colts | No Comments

The Indianapolis Colts have announced that they will go beyond the new NFL 85% blackout policy and voluntarily raise it to 100% sending most Colt fans into an Irsay hating frenzy. Most invoke the “Our tax dollars payed for that new stadium of yours and now you’re not going to let us watch unless we fill it” opinion. This is a PR move by the Colts that may prove disastrous.

Most people in Indianapolis and the surrounding areas can not afford single game prices let alone shelling out thousands of dollars for a full home season. I’m not going to quote the total cost for a full day of Colts football for a family of four because in all actuality I don’t know. But “it ain’t chump change”, as the saying goes. Holding the fans of a team that the tax payers feel like they paid for hostage when you just finished with the worst record in the league, released a legend, gutted the rest of the team and are trying to re-face the franchise just doesn’t make sense to me.

One of the main reason the Colts front office is giving is the fact that the team would have to shell out 50% of any tickets sold over the NFL’s 85% policy to the visiting team if you televise a game in which you don’t’ sell out to that 85%. On that basic computation it would be a small price to pay to showcase a new team to future season ticket buyers who CAN afford it. But it’s not even that bad. Nate Dunlevy of Bleacher Report spells it out in this response from a disgruntled Colt’s fan comment on his blog:

2u4tzx5_crop_45x45 Cody Hughes [1]posted about 4 hours ago Contributor I

$385k was quick math, but I’m getting my number based on the remaining 15% of seats. Lucas Oil holds 70,000, so roughly 10,100 seats. Average ticket price is $73 for a Colts game according to SeatGeek. I’m not a mathematician, but if the Titans show up and get 50 cents on the dollar after 85%. That is more in the ball park of $368,650 paid to Tennessee for a game in which they didn’t contribute to selling tickets. Nowhere near…$10k per game.

Dunlevy_photo_crop_45x45 Nate Dunlevy [2]posted about 4 hours ago Featured Columnist II

@Cody: No, the number is not 85%. That’s wrong.

First, the percentage is set by the team. The Colts have already sold around 94-97% of tix, so they wouldn’t have to set the bar lower than 98%.

Second, the stadium seats 64K, but not all of those count toward the blackout.

The actual blackout number is closer to 54K after luxury tickets are removed.

Third, the vast majority of the tickets remaining are the cheapest ones with a face of $38-48.

Fourth, the Colts ALREADY PAY 34% to the visitors on those tickets. So, the difference is not 50% over zero. It’s 50% over 34%.

Even if the Colts paid for the black out where they stand now, it’s around 2k tickets.

EVEN at that number, the total comes to about $120K or 15K a game.

Of course the actual total would be less than that because they’d never set the bar for 2K tix.


Jim Irsay does a lot of things that make people say “Uh, what?”, but this goes beyond any kind of logic that I can think of. I’m not a smart man (just ask my wife), but if I’m the owner of a team that is trying to gain the support of an already considered fair weather fan base (as stated by every non-Colt fan on the internet comment circuit), I sure as hell would not  anger them further by taking away the only opportunity most fans get to see the product I’m trying to sell. It’s a slap in the face, plain and simple.

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[1] Cody Hughes: http://bleacherreport.com/users/650262-cody-hughes

[2] Nate Dunlevy: http://bleacherreport.com/users/837686-nate-dunlevy

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