Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Pipe Dream: Season Tickets

It will probably never happen in my lifetime, and if it happens to my kids, it will be when they are likely old and grey. But then, at least they'll be able to pass them on to my grandkids.

The Press-Gazette published an article today regarding the long, long wait for season ticket holders...a wait so long now that it estimated to be in the hundreds of years from the time your name gets on the list to the day when it eventually reaches #1.

I sit presently somewhere around #31,384. My kids, who were placed on the list before they were even born, sit right behind me. I figure at the rate the season tickets turn over, I should get mine in about 120 years. Assuming modern medicine doesn't take a quantum leap as it deals with geriatrics, I won't be around to collect on them.

The article places the primary focus of blame on the Packers' inheritance policy, which allows ownership of the tickets to pass from generation to generation, leaving rabid fans on the list out in the cold.

I have little problem with passing the tickets on, however. They are an asset, a prized possession, an heirloom of sorts. There's a lot of pride to be able to say you are sitting in the same seat that your father sat in, and his father sat in. I have a lot of respect for that.

Where I lose respect, however, is when those people are not sitting on those seats, but instead scalping them off to brokers, eBay, or on the street to those rabid fans. The tickets are no longer prized possessions or heirlooms, but investments: buy low, sell high, make a profit off other people's passions.

Of course, that opens up a whole new can of worms. In today's economic depression and concerns over socialistic reforms to laissez-faire, is placing a "scalper tax" on tickets prohibiting a red-blooded American from making an honest dollar through investments?

Naturally, both in the macrocosm of the economy and the microcosm of season ticket holders, your perspective changes if you are a "have" or a "have-not". It's long been known that the Packers don't make an extra dime off those scalped tickets. Only once have I purchased tickets at above face value, and that was for the 49er playoff game in 1996. I'm lucky enough to have relatives who allow us to purchase tickets from them once or twice a season, so I am better off than many others on that waiting list.

And a good family friend of mine (and true Packer fan) sells off all her tickets each season except for one that she wishes to attend. Why? Simple: she can't afford them. She doesn't want to lose her tickets, but the cost of seven pairs of tickets (not to mention the prices inside the stadium) aren't always feasible when you're working for minimum wage.

So, in some ways, scalping tickets allows the tickets to stay in the hands of the common man, not the well-to-do or brokers who will simply sell them off for their own personal gain.

So, as I sit at #31,384, I realize that there isn't an easy solution for me to move up any faster. I don't think the inheritance policy should be changed (if I have to wait until my deathbed to get the tickets, I'd sure like to be able to at least give them to my kids). And, a blanket "scalper tax" is not only in opposition to what happens with every other ticket for every other sporting event across the nation, it would punish folks like my friend as well as the greedy folks who have more interest in making money than sitting in a cold stadium with 71,294 of their fellow fans to cheer on the Packers.

But, last year's 6-10 record and the economic downturn helped contribute to 192 tickets coming off the list this year...unfortunately, the quickest way for the list to drain itself is going to be to overprice admission for a losing team. And who wants to see that?

Suggestion: I heard not too long ago that you can move up the list in very swift fashion (at the time, I had heard three years) if you request only a single ticket instead of a pair or group of three. The larger the group (and wanting them together) the harder it is to get lucky that someone will drop exactly that many. But, it is far more common for a ticket holder who has a large number of tickets to drop one off in order to save a little money. Good luck.

No comments: