So I am walking around every corner of downtown the past four hours, doing tours, meetings, getting lunch, observing, chatting with football fans, etc, and all I see are Ravens fans.
AirTran added 3 extra flights from Baltimore yesterday to accommodate demand. Many are quite pleased to get “inexpensive seats.”
Realize Baltimore has a VERY small fan-base, and the Colts have every game sold out.
Therefore what happened?
Well, there were well over 4000 tickets for this game on StubHub as of last night, with the vast majority well below face value! Why? Well, a combinatioin of many factors — none of which, in my view, are “the bad economy,” as this team sells out everything, as do all other NFL playoff teams.
- People are waiting for the potential game with SD next Sunday. Rightly or wrongly, this is true.
- NFL tickets are a rip off. “Face value” for nose bleeds are $85. People are not avoiding this game due to the economy, but because that is unaffordable for one game, or again, they’ll save their big money for the conference title game, assuming there is one. They’re better off watching on TV.
- Night game. People were already drinking/tailgating at 8:45 am when I drove by. The game is at 8:15 pm, so it will end close to midnight. Older folks and people with kids will not attend.
- And most importantly, the city is dead. For 15 weeks, the Colts are talked about like gods, non-stop on sports radio thru Christmas, then Irsay, Polian, and Caldwell take the wind out of everyone’s sails by throwing the final two games for no reason. Apathy has set in for the past fortnight, which was preceded by anger.
The past week there’s been more Pacers and college hoops talk than Colts on radio. The city seems bored. They’ll wake up if Indy wins, as they will then play SD, but there is no emotion for this game, unlike if the Colts came in 16-0, chasing history.
The Jets debacle with its fallout, and the arrogance/hypocrisy shown in Buffalo in the first quarter of week 17, left a bad taste in these midwesterners mouths, just as the Pacers have done since 2004. Indy fans are different. Irsay and Co. messed up, and they will pay by seeing 10-15% purple in the seats.
Update: Also, I endorse the sentiments of Bob Kravitz in his latest column:
Crunch all the numbers, do all the computer simulations, compare and contrast and sketch out the matchups that give the Indianapolis Colts the edge here, The Professional Football Team From Baltimore (TPFTFB) the edge there. In the end, here’s what it all comes down to:
If the Colts don’t choke, if they don’t fold like origami the way they did in 2005 and 2007, they win.
That simple. That harsh.
* – Bill Polian and Jim Irsay photo credit: Michael Conroy, AP via USA Today