Not everyone is happy

We don’t talk much about the behind the scenes stuff in the NFL, but sometimes it bears commenting on.  We got this note today from Westside Rob.  Some of you may remember his plight with his news seats at the Luke.  Here’s what he writes now:Thanks for sharing, Rob. 

I just had to share this with you

 The people that run the non-football
operational side of the Colts are just not very good.  I’ve shared before how
totally cold, unsympathetic and, almost rude they were last year when we got our
new seat assignments at the Luke.  Well, the person that bought out our tickets
this past season decided to pass this year, and with no time to deal with
finding someone new; we decided not to renew our seats this year. 

 My ticket rep who I’ve talked with
many times in the past just called, and asked if I was going to renew (the
deadline had passed).  I told her that I wasn’t (I figured someone already on
the waiting list who had to fork over money to the Colts deserved them more than
somebody I came across that hadn’t done that).  She said, “OK we were just
confirming” and that was it.  We’ve been ticket holders since day 1, I’ve
personally had these 2 seats since 1996 (added next to where my Dad’s original
seats were), and I didn’t even get a: “We’re sorry you are not renewing” or even
a marketing type of question of “We’d love to know why you aren’t renewing”. 

 The Colts (at least the Admin side)
could really care less about their fan base, they’ve made that perfectly clear
to my family.  I love this team and its players but man the business side of
this makes you really question the “emotional investment” that we all put in.  I
know we say and the players say all the time: “It’s business, not personal” but
at least they are getting paid, we actually have to pay to be fans (Tickets,
Taxes, etc.)  I feel like some of the joy of being a Colts fan has now passed
out of me.  I’m less inclined to “induce” my kids to be big Colts fans. 

 I know that the NFL is riding high
right now, but EVERYTHING changes.  NO ONE would have predicted the fall of
baseball in America yet it did happen.  Baseball is at best the #2 sport in
America but even at #2 it’s a very distant #2.  That same fall could happen to
the NFL, they shouldn’t take it for granted.  In Indy, the Pacers were the top
dogs in the 90′s, now everyone in town seems to be saying tough luck if your
losing money, we are no longer going to subsidized your team.  The Colts will
eventually be a bad team again, perhaps if they stay bad for a while they’ll
have trouble selling tickets.  When that happens and the Colts call me like the
Pacers did 3 seasons after I dropped my Pacer season tickets, they’ll get an
even bigger earful than I gave the Pacers.

I reprint this for several reasons:

1.  Rob is correct. The Colts owe him at least a polite goodbye.  He got
screwed on the seat thing.  The team said there was nothing they could
do.  That’s all fine.  They could at least say, “I’m sorry you feel
that way”, or “I wish we could have done more for you”.  A little
common courtesy goes a long way.  Manning and Polian won’t be around to
sell seats forever.  I get that the team can’t afford to be loyal, but they can afford to be polite.

2.  He’s also correct when he talks about the NFL not needing us.  It’s too
big, and too popular.  The Colts have a massive waiting list some
20,000 people deep.  They can afford to lose a season ticket holder or
two.  In the heat of the season, no one wants to hear that the
franchise thinks its fans are disposable as its players, but it does
all of us good to sit back in March and remember that. 

3.  As much as I love the Colts, it’s the fans’ responsibility to hold the club’s feet to the fire about these things.  I doubt that anyone in the Colts complex reads 18to88 (though I’d love to do 18 Questions with anyone who does!), but I hope somehow Rob’s feelings get back to management so they can better train their operatives.

4.  It’s possible that a lot of people aren’t renewing right now for economic reasons.  It may be that account handlers have been instructed NOT to ask why, because it could be humiliating for the ticket holder to say, “I lost my job” or “I can’t afford it”.  Even so, there should be a sentence of regret or a simple, “We hope keep you as a fan” or something. 

Sorry it went badly for you, Rob.  For the record, I saw your seats…I get why you are giving them up.

Demond Sanders:  Thank you for sharing that with us, Rob.  Your experience over the past year both sucks and blows.  Here are my thoughts on the situation:

1.)  Your seats sucked.  If I had been assigned those seats at the Luke you better believe I would have dropped them. 

2.)  The “operational” side of the team sounds exactly like every other company around.  Call me cynical, but I’m never surprised when a corporation is comprised mostly of jerks.  I’m much more surprised when I get friendly customer service.  Should we expect more from the Colts?  Maybe, probably.    

3.)  Looking at it from both sides:  The person you spoke to likely spends all day on the phone, makes a low hourly wage and recently lost a bunch of their co-workers.  Should they be managed better?  Yes.  But you can only influence your employee’s behavior so much.  Sometimes you have to be satisfied if you can get someone to show up on time every day. 

4.)  They don’t need you right now, but they will someday.  Their loss.

5.)  If your finances are anything like mine it ain’t a bad time to drop your season tickets.  When it came time to pay for our tickets I added $2560 to an already huge credit card bill.   (Wah – I know.)

6.)  Professional sports is an ugly business run by money.  Sometimes it is hard to believe there is such a thing as a die-hard pro sports fan.  We get taxed, held hostage, jilted, Ron Artested (yes that’s a word), and Bill Belichicked (also a word).

7.)  What do we get out of it?  We get Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning.  The guys who would play for $9.50 an hour because they are men of football.  They are why your kids will be Colts fans.

8.)  Edge James would want you to dust off the haters.  So would Marvin Harrison. 

Random mind-boggling fact of the day:  John Tyler, 10th president of the United States, was born in 1790.  Tyler has two living grandsons.  Think about that for a minute.