The message from the Colts to their fans: sellout or blackout.
“They’ve taken a position that they’re looking to get the place sold out and that’s the level,” said Jon Flack, president and COO of Just Marketing Inc. in Zionsville.
Fox59 broke the news from the Colts on Tuesday that the games that are not sold out this upcoming season will be blacked out despite new NFL rules. Fans had plenty to say in response.
On the Fox59 Facebook and Twitter pages hundreds of fans spoke out; many didn’t agree with the team’s position.
“I certainly understand the initial fan response and why it would be raw,” Flack said. “My reaction being a Colts fan all my life is very similar, but what it does do is makes you stop and think about what are my options as a fan and you have the ability to react.”
Recently, the NFL announced it's changing the blackout rules to minimize the chances fans would miss watching their teams play.
Instead of having to sell out to be on TV, the home team would only have to sell 85 percent of its tickets. It would be up to the team to decide if it would air the game—and the Colts are sticking to the old rule.
Flack says fans will have time to consider options on how they will see a game that is blacked out.
“The one thing it does do is you’re very clear on what their position is and you have an ability to react to that 45 days before the season starts.”
Fans can purchase sports packages on satellite TV, go to a place that’s airing the game, get real-time updates on wireless devices or buy a ticket and go to the game.
Many don’t see selling out as an issue, but some fans feel it’s another shot in the gut with so much uncertainty surrounding the team.
The Colts have until the 15th to change their minds on the blackout percentage of tickets sold
Fox59 News also spoke with Jim Gladden, a sports marketing professor at IUPUI. He believes the 100 percent sellout policy is a sales strategy by the Colts, who still have 2,000 season tickets to sell.
Gladden doesn’t think the team will have a problem filling the seats, but it could turn into a negative if they have a blackout situation. The most compelling story of this season will be watching Andrew Luck develop, and the Colts need as many people as possible to see that—whether in person or on TV.