There haven’t been too many recent decisions that the Indianapolis Colts franchise has made that have been popular among their fan base.
As if releasing Peyton Manning wasn’t enough to rile up a fan base in Indianapolis, the Colts have decided that all home games that are not sold out for the 2012 season will be blacked out on local television.
With the NFL’s new leniency on the blackout policy, teams can avoid a television blackout by selling a minimum of 85 percent of its available tickets. While the league has loosened the policy, the Colts have not.
It makes very little sense that the organization would make this move, especially considering the backlash that occurred when owner Jim Irsay announced that Manning wouldn’t return to the horseshoe.
It’d make more sense to try and do everything to appease the fans who suffered through their first losing season in several years.
Yes, the Colts are 97 percent sold out for the upcoming season.
Yes, the blackout will probably be avoided and eventually be put to rest once the football season kicks off in September.
But why make a public announcement that sends fans into frenzy, thinking they won’t be able to see the team they’ve grown to love?
Why make it seem as if you don’t care about the die-hard fans that have been so badly affected by the economy that they can’t afford a ticket to a game?
Why punish a large majority of your fan base?
Where I come from, you don’t have to attend a game to be a loyal fan.
I understand it’s a business move, all about money. But people don’t want to hear about the business aspect. Nor do they want to hear employees of the Colts organization tell them “it makes the experience of attending a game more enjoyable when it’s sold out,” and “we need a capacity crowd to help make a difference in the outcome of a game.”
Cut the crap.
It’s not about making the experience more enjoyable, nor does a maximum capacity crowd impact the game that drastically. It’s about keeping fans in the stands so that money stays in the pockets.
Typically, I wouldn’t have a problem with a team doing something like this for monetary purposes. The NFL is a business, I get it.
But right now, in light of all that has happened in the past four months, show some commitment to your fans.
With the Colts having fewer than 2,000 season tickets remaining, it would have relatively easy for the Colts to increase the percentage of ticket sales to 95 percent of capacity before a blackout occurred. Fans may have turned up their nose at the idea that Colts games would be unavailable on local television, but the uproar and anger towards the franchise would have been minimal.
But that didn’t happen.
Instead, fans feel as if their beloved hometown football team has turned on them, only caring about those who are fortunate enough afford a ticket.
Not the best way to try and win back some of those fans who were on the fence about whether they wanted to support the Colts or Peyton Manning this season.
Again, the blackout will more than likely be a non-issue when the NFL season is underway and fans eventually decide to purchase the tickets, but the negative knee-jerk reaction from the fans could have been avoided if the situation had been handled in a more professional manner.
It remains fascinating to me that an organization that has already agitated so many fans with the release of a local icon and fan favorite in Manning would let something so simple turn so negative.
It was an unbelievably unpopular move and now they’ll have to win over some of those flustered fans…again.