In the unlikely (and totally awesome) event that you've been living in Christopher Walken's basement with Brendan Fraser for the past few years, you've probably missed out on a few big news headlines.
First, the world is currently experiencing one of its worst economic downturns in recent history. Jobs are being eliminated, wages and benefits are being cut, all while the price for goods and services continue to rise. By the time you finish filling the gas tank in your minivan, you'll need to start searching Amazon.com for some replacement kidneys. You'll be hard pressed to find a family who has not been affected financially, and, as a result, has not started budgeting their money just a little more conscientiously.
The second bit of news that may interest you as you wake from your information hibernation is that earlier this off-season, the Indianapolis Colts gutted their roster, cutting most of the men, women, children, and farm animals associated with the uber-successful teams of the early 2000s.
Given the first two pieces of news, most of you will find this next news item rather unsurprising: the Indianapolis Colts are currently experiencing a decline in their ticket sales. Along with approximately 2,000 unsold season tickets, the Colts are also struggling to sell out their two home dates for the preseason, announcing yesterday the sale of a "limited number" of single-game tickets for their games against St. Louis and Cincinnati.
I say most of you will find that information unsurprising because it seems some people - most notably Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com (we assume that Pro stands for Professional and Professional refers to the type of football being played, not the type of coverage being delivered) and Brad Wells of StampedeBlue.com - have decided that these common sense headlines are actually scandals worthy of multiple articles with attention-grabbing, sensationalistic headlines
In response to yesterday's announcement concerning the "limited number" of preseason tickets available, both Florio and Wells took issue with the "trumped-up scarcity of supply" and the "silly ploy to generate interest in preseason tickets". Let's get this out of the way quick: both Florio and Wells are correct, the Colts are using a common marketing tactic to generate interest.
Have you ever watched TV? Sure, you have. You've probably seen the commercials where someone has screamed at you, "hurry! while supplies last!", or "quantities are going fast, so act now!" Have you ever been driving in the car, listening to sports talk radio, when the host says, 'if you want to talk to us, call in quick, our phone lines are almost full?" Or perhaps you've heard the theory about how being involved in a committed relationship makes one more attractive to the opposite sex. Okay, so not all examples are created equal.
The point is, these tactics are used, and they are used for a reason: they work. I won't regurgitate the 25 Latin phrases necessary to explain the medical reason for this, but suffice to say, psychologically, people want what they may not be able to have.
So are the Colts guilty of using these tactics? Yes, absolutely. Does this make them evil, shady, or guilty of using questionable practices? No, it makes them a business. That's right, folks, the Colts are a business. They want to sell out their preseason games, they want to regain that long waiting list for season tickets. While doing both will obviously help the Colts make money, it also has the added benefit of helping them avoid local blackouts.
And don't overlook the importance of avoiding those blackouts. Getting on local TV this season is vital for the Colts to be able to show their fans - despite the record - that they have put together a young, exciting, dynamic roster because they know - from experience - that, in the long run "winning" is the best "marketing ploy" there is.
We could complete this discussion without mentioning the obvious irony of Florio and Wells railing against the usage of "cheap marketing ploys." We could do without mentioning that using headlines such as "Fair-weather Colts fans could regret not keeping season tickets" and "Colts Use Silly Ploy To Generate Interest In Preseason Tickets", could also be considered a "cheap marketing ploy". We could also do without mentioning that, just as the Colts will use every bell and whistle to sell tickets despite poor performances on the field, Florio and Wells will try to use smoke and mirrors, eye-catching titles and over-the-top hyperbolic claims to mask poorly-written articles that lack knowledge, depth, and substance.
We could do without saying that.
But we won't.
Just as Florio and Wells smartly do everything they can to sell their product, the Indianapolis Colts continue to use every trick, tactic, and ploy they can to sell theirs. It's just good business.
Love it. Some people like Florio and Wells like to sprinkle sugar on BULL and call it CANDY but no matter what they call it it is still just BULL. :)
eally? a blast from the past reference? booooo.
also, i'm kind of tired of hearing about how the colts gutted their roster. i'm sure reggie wayne, dwight freeney, robert mathis (all pro bowlers), and guys like austin collie, antoine bethea, and pat angerer agree with me.
@jimfix You got... a... prob...lem... with... my... ChrisTOpher... Walken... reference?
As far as gutting, the Colts will have X number of new starters (where X = definite number that I could have figured out by doing real research) and around 40MM in dead cap space from all of the cuts.
I'm on record as saying the Colts will perform better than most seem to think, but the roster was still pretty gutted.
@GregC I guess it is less of a reaction to this particular article, but I just keep reading how the colts are going to be decimated. The only players they "lost" that they might miss in any way are Manning (duh) and Saturday (who has, what? one? two years left?). Sure those guys were big names, and fans liked them, but there are still a lot of guys who have played a lot of minutes in the last couple of years left. Like I said, Reggie, Dwight, Robert are top tier players at their positions, and costanzo, collie, angerer, bethea, donald brown, pat mcaffee, adam vinatieri, joe reitz were all starters last year and played at a high level...
I'm just tired of hearing it, because it isn't really true. Most of the $40 mill in dead money is for Peyton and Dallas Clark, one who played no games last year and the other who might as well have not played any games last year.
@GregC You're right, and like I said, I wasn't referring as much to this particular article as I was the national perception that the colts are going to be Andrew Luck and a bunch of Arena League guys... Just trying to stay positive :)
@jimfix how about from this standpoint: It was an emotional gutting for a large chunk of the fans? That was the main point that part was trying to make.
I only go to StampedeBlue every once in a while now to read the comments bashing Brad in his own articles.
Neither Florio nor Wells has any room to criticize the use of "cheap ploys". Not when they use such ploys liberally themselves. I'll let others retail the acts Florio committed, but most of us here are well aware of Brad's transgressions. Need anyone be reminded of the time he attributed a statement about Bill Bellichick to Pat McAfee that Pat never uttered?
Their cheap ploy is to slant something in order to agitate, just to get attention. I won't speak for Florio, since I've avoided reading his columns after just a few, but I can state with certainty that Brad does it. And he appears to be continuing to do so. Seems like he never learned from the first exodus of site participants.
OMG! I can't believe you don't see Mike Florio and Greg Wells as the "obviously" professional journalists they are. Hunting out the big story with the nose of a bloodhound to ensure we Colts fans are well-informed of the nefarious deeds of the Colts owner and front office . . .
Just kidding. Florio is frequently an ass and definitely a rumor monger of the highest order. The best thing I can say about him is is equal in digging for alleged "dirt" on all teams. But actual reporting? Nope, although he does have contacts who provide scintillating gossip. As for Wells, when he gets off his high horse and doesn't focus on trying to hammer the reader with his superior intellect and knowledge, he can come up with some interesting pieces. Unfortunately, he seems to spend most of his time trying to bait Irsay into online fights.
Ugh. For the past year, the only time I've gone to Wells' site is when it's mentioned here and I'm now at the point where I can't even do that. He's just so awful at providing anything useful. I wouldn't mind except that there are legitimate Colts fans looking for their first blog and come across that and assume that all sports blogs are like that. Just awful.
Spot on, Greg. I am a firm believer in the (relatively) free market economy, and the Colts are doing what any business would do - market. They're adjusting the four Ps - product, place, price, promotion - to figure out how best to appeal to their market. I would add a fifth 'p,' which is positioning. The market is what the market will bear.
I want to know who actually reads the stuff that Wells writes (obviously excluding Greg because he is calling Wells out for how bad he is). And not only reads but enjoys it. Why would anyone continue to read his garbage. I do not understand.
@BlueAndWhite17 I read it, as well as Colts Authority, Bleacher Report, and anything else I can read about the Colts. There is some good stuff on there sometimes - a point I think Nate once mentioned with regard to the quality of some of their pre-draft analyses. The incessant whine about fickle fans and Polian does get old, but if that is the point of the article, I just skip it. But, I don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. And, in the latest article, buried amongst the ranting, is a good point about blackouts - they do hurt the Colts in generating interest for the new product. So, I like reading all the blogs and reports and considering them together.
@BlueAndWhite17 I do still go there occasionally because it is still a good source of news about the Colts. Even the post discussed here actually has some good info and analysis included. But Wells has gotten really annoying with his schtick of repeating the same outrageously exaggerated claims ("Indiana sports fans are fickle," "Bill Polian destroyed the Colts by busting all his draft picks") in every post.
@BlueAndWhite17 to be fair, I hadn't been to stampedeblue.com in ... man, the summer of 2010? My twitter feed is constantly spammed with his work, and I heard rumors about this one, which, coupled with the Florio stuff was enough to break me out of my writing vacation.
These are the exact reasons I have chosen to not go to PFT and Stampedeblue any more. I have also stopped following them on Twitter. At some point, both guys jumped the shark and it's really too bad.