Saturday, July 10, 2010

Season Tickets Turnover Picks Up Pace

In an article today in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, hidden in the middle of a nice homespun story is some of the bleak facts for folks buried on the Packer Season Ticket Waiting List.

In all, 126 names fell off the list this year, which is now reaching epic proportions at 88,831.  The protagonist of the article, Tina Dollar-Hibbard, was placed on the list back in 1970...when she was five years old.

Thanks to stadium expansion in 2003, the wait for Dollar-Hibbard and many others was accelerated, but for those of us who didn't get on the list as infants, the wait still appears to be so long that we hope for tickets for our grandchildren instead of ourselves.

99.6 percent of all the season ticket holders renewed this past year, compared to 99.4 percent in 2009.  Last year, 192 names came off the list.  Before that, the average number of new season tickets since 2003 averaged between 50 and 60.

Certainly, the economy has to have many season ticket holders making some tough choices, and this year's somewhat startling ticket price increase didn't help.  Granted, many of these tickets may also be from fans who own 8-12 tickets, and may just be paring down their number of seats.  But for those folks who are giving up a family heirloom, it's got to be a tough decision, because they aren't going to get those seats back anytime soon.

Now, that backlog of waiters on the season ticket list give Mark Murphy and the Packers a lot of flexibility to take some risks.  After all, it's not like Murphy has to worry about empty stadiums in his lifetime, much less over the next couple of hundred years.  At about #31,000 on the season ticket waiting list, I was looking at well over 500 years before my name came off, at the rate before the recession.  I can now project that, if we continue to lose  a hundred-plus names off the list each year, I can now look forward to getting my tickets in only 291 years.

In other words, Murphy can gently push the prices of the tickets up over the next couple of years, gradually pricing some people out of the stadium, only to be replaced with an endless list of folks willing to take their place.  And, as we know, the Packers still rank less than the middle of the league in ticket prices, so Murphy has little to stop him.

This seems like as good of a time as any to reiterate my plan for the potential 8,000 seats the Packers are considering for the South End Zone expansion.  I do agree with Brian Carriveau that the Packers are unlikely to simply add more seating, but will start creating some year-round attractions such as a beer garden or other fan-friendly fare. 

But, in conjunction with the inevitable 18-game regular season that Murphy is pushing, here's how I propose to clear the list:

*  The Green Package season ticket owners will keep their six home regular season games.
*  The Gold Package season ticket owners will keep their two home regular season games.
*  The Green and Gold Package season ticket owners will no longer have a preseason game, as the preseason would likely be shortened to two games, with only one home preseason game.
*  A new package (called the Gridiron Package) will be introduced, in which they would get the one preseason game and the one extra home game offered by an 18-game regular season.

Now, people on the list can choose to bypass an offer of the Gridiron package and wait for a Green or Gold package to become available, but for many fans sitting in the tens-of-thousands, a Gridiron package will be better than nothing in their lifetime.

This would create 8,000 new Green package tickets (in the South End Zone), 8,000 new Gold Package tickets, and about 80,000 new Gridiron Packages....thus clearing much of the list and getting more fans into the game.  Certainly, many fans with a Gridiron package would resubmit their names to the list in hopes of getting a Green or Gold Package in addition, so the list itself wouldn't shrink by too much, leaving Murphy will still much of a cushion to work with.

Now, this makes complete sense to me, a fan, but probably very little sense to the Packers, who would not be too enthusiastic about completely clearing the waiting list.  It probably wouldn't be very popular among present season ticket holders, who would not have access to the additional game (and lose a preseason game in the process).  But, when you read stories about people who are waiting 40 years for their tickets today, realizing the list is far longer now, it's a potential way to make a lot of people happy.

8 comments:

nickknaack said...

Excellent thoughts and a great proposal. Hope the Packers are listening...

purplepantsgreenjersey.com said...

Good thoughts, C.D. Hopefully, the Packers have some ideas to shorten the waiting list as well. I would like for my unborn children to be able to get tickets. :)

However, I don't see how it would benefit the Packers to shorten the waiting list. I see how the fans benefit, but what do the Packers as an organization gain?

Travis Cleavenger said...

I know this will not happen since lambeau renovated recently but the best option would be to add 30,000 more seats or so. they would still have 58,000 people on the waiting list and it would be another way to generate more money for the franchise to keep with the larger market teams like the cowboys and redskins if the salary cap remains absent.

Anonymous said...

I believe each person on the list can buy up to four seats. If that is true, then your plan might provide ticket opportunities to less than half on the waiting list. If the limit is two tickets, the number of fans offered tickets might get to fifty thousand.

IPB said...

At my age, C.D., I've already given up on any chance at having Season Tickets fall into my lap. Scalper's Alley is my home when I can't find a generous Cheesehead to help an old soul out.

Last time, I was able to get away and be at Lambeau, was half a decade ago, at the Steeler's game in '05. We had 10th row seats at the 25-yard line, behind the Packer's Bench.

Before that, in 2004, we made the Home Opener against da bears, and enjoyed meeting Willie Davis and many of the old-time Greats from the 60's Lombardi Team(s). Sitting down to chat with Dave Robinson was a memory I'll take to the grave with me. What a great guy! He was sitting there signing two cases of his Book, for the fans.... real down to earth.
Who knows, maybe I'll make it up there this year. Course, takin' care of the Lambeau Midwest process is always just as fun as ever.
GO PACK !

jrehor said...

Anything that can help reduce the waiting list, without damaging the Packers organization, I would be in favor of. How many of us would not give up so much just to lay claim to one or two tickets per year? I definitely would. Unfortunately, unless the seating capacity at Lambeau increases approx. 70k in the next few years, my chances of being able to call myself a season ticket holder in my lifetime remain at zero.

Asshalo said...

The idea sounds familiar from an exchange we had on CHTV last week. Just saying:

Asshalo says:
July 7, 2010 at 4:38 pm
It would be nice if they did at least 8,000 more season ticket options, but have smaller season ticket packages so more fans could have a chance to be season ticket holders. My family has been on the list since the mid 80s. I’m thinking A (2 games + 3 games + 3 games), B (2 games + 2 games + 4 games), rather than the 6 and 2 game packages.

Don’t get me wrong it’s nice that tickets stay in families, but I feel like there’s more incentive to sell your tickets on-line when you have 6 games a season.

reply
c.d. angeli says:
July 7, 2010 at 6:18 pm
Reality is, Asshalo, I’m at #31,000 and adding 8,000 seats won’t do much for me or about 82,000 other folks on the list. So, while I’d be on the vote for more simple seating, the reality is that I might have more of a chance to get inside Lambeau with one of the other more creative ideas.

The one thing I hope it does NOT become is more luxury box/business-oriented space that the common man has little chance of seeing except on a tour. One thing that I found out on my last tour in May is that the waiting list for the luxury boxes has run out completely and they are now renting them out by the game to whomever would like them.

A sign of the economy, indeed, and something likely to turn around…but it is a good lesson to remember as they expand: put the seats in the hands of the common man and they will continue to sell out no matter the economy.

reply
Asshalo says:
July 7, 2010 at 7:37 pm
8,000 seats multiplied by 3 season tickets packages is 24,000 seats for additional season ticket holders– meaning there would be 6,000-12,000 added season ticket holders (assuming 2 to 4 tickets per pack). And that increases more with more seats added beyond. Realistically Lambeau could add about 20,000 seats and still do fine (Camp Randall’s capacity being a model). Also consider that not all 81K names are going to pay up when push comes to shove.
No, It’s not much considering there are 81,000 on the list, but it’s something.

It’s complicated by the task of adding and/or remodeling certain parts of the stadium. Renovations are always expensive, so there is going to be an optimal level for renovation expenses and expansion revenues.

So far packer fans and season ticket holders have done a pretty good job of keeping the corporate crowd out in large part to the loyalty of the fan-base. I remember the schlacking dallas gave them at home 2008. I was truly impressed with how many people stayed for the fourth quarter and how little dallas fans there were.

Asshalo said...

That idea sounds very familiar to an exchange we had on CHTV last week. Just saying:

"Asshalo says:
July 7, 2010 at 4:38 pm
It would be nice if they did at least 8,000 more season ticket options, but have smaller season ticket packages so more fans could have a chance to be season ticket holders. My family has been on the list since the mid 80s. I’m thinking A (2 games + 3 games + 3 games), B (2 games + 2 games + 4 games), rather than the 6 and 2 game packages.

reply
c.d. angeli says:
July 7, 2010 at 6:18 pm
Reality is, Asshalo, I’m at #31,000 and adding 8,000 seats won’t do much for me or about 82,000 other folks on the list. So, while I’d be on the vote for more simple seating, the reality is that I might have more of a chance to get inside Lambeau with one of the other more creative ideas.

The one thing I hope it does NOT become is more luxury box/business-oriented space that the common man has little chance of seeing except on a tour. One thing that I found out on my last tour in May is that the waiting list for the luxury boxes has run out completely and they are now renting them out by the game to whomever would like them.

A sign of the economy, indeed, and something likely to turn around…but it is a good lesson to remember as they expand: put the seats in the hands of the common man and they will continue to sell out no matter the economy.

reply
Asshalo says:
July 7, 2010 at 7:37 pm
8,000 seats multiplied by 3 season tickets packages is 24,000 seats for additional season ticket holders– meaning there would be 6,000-12,000 added season ticket holders (assuming 2 to 4 tickets per pack). And that increases more with more seats added beyond. Realistically Lambeau could add about 20,000 seats and still do fine (Camp Randall’s capacity being a model). Also consider that not all 81K names are going to pay up when push comes to shove.
No, It’s not much considering there are 81,000 on the list, but it’s something."