The countdown is on: 16 days until training camp! But while the days leading up to camp are meant to serve as the “calm before the storm,” this year’s Colts just couldn’t seem to wait to generate some drama and excitement around the league. A hair-raising announcement did not quite rub fans the right way this week, and an explanation was needed. #HorseBytes has all the #ColtsNation news for you from around the web, right here, right now:
Blackouts? Don’t Talk About Blackouts!
Season tickets have been a serious cause for concern for the Colts this year. With Peyton Manning in the saddle, selling game tickets was not a problem. In fact, a waiting list was assembled for prospective season ticket holders. However, after Manning was cut and went to Denver, many season ticket holders did not renew for 2012. In fact, so many did not renew that even after the team went through its entire waiting list, 3000 unsold season tickets remained. The Colts held an open house last month to help sell off their remaining tickets, but even after the event about 2700 were left unsold. Fans feared blackouts would result, meaning they would not be able to watch any Colts games on television.
However, the NFL announced a new option for teams, allowing them to eliminate the possibility of blackouts if the team could sell 85% of its season tickets. Colts fans rejoiced. But then this week, the Horseshoe dropped a bomb on them. They announced that they would not be accepting the offer.
The lesson from this announcement? Blackouts = unhappy fans.
And unhappy fans demand explanation. Thankfully, Indianapolis Star reporter Bob Kravitz, even while on vacation, got answers, and Colts owner Jim Irsay also routinely took to Twitter to address the issue. Here’s some of what they had to say:
The Colts’ decision reminds us, once again, that at the end of the day the NFL is a business. It turns out that accepting the NFL’s 85% option could prove to be very costly for the team. If the Colts accept this option and then sell over 85% at a particular game, half the price of every ticket sold above 85% capacity would have to be paid to the visiting team. The Colts also want to encourage home field advantage and provide an extra incentive to sell off their tickets. Mission accomplished, I’d say. To read more about this issue, I recommend reading Bob Kravitz’s blog “The Krog.” If my opinion means anything though, I think blackouts will not be an issue for this team.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered?
In his first tweet above, Jim Irsay also referenced Andrew Luck arriving at training camp on time. Why wouldn’t he? Well, Luck has yet to sign his contract with the team. Irsay has repeatedly took to Twitter to announce that a deal is “close,” but close doesn’t cut it. Luck is not signed until he quite literally signs on the dotted line. However, I don’t think this is a cause for concern, either. Luck was found this week working out at the University of Miami (I’m proud to say it’s my university of choice!) with veteran Colts receiver and Hurricanes alumni Reggie Wayne. Receivers Donnie Avery and Griff Whalen, an undrafted rookie from Luck’s team at Stanford, were also present. Luck is clearly gearing up for training camp as if he plans to be there. He is ready to lead this team, and I don’t see him holding out, especially with the new restrictions on rookie contracts by the latest collective bargaining agreement.
He may not be in a Colts uniform on the field anymore, but let’s face it: Peyton Manning will always be a Colt in the eyes of many fans, including myself. Therefore, Manning news will pretty much always be Colts-related news, so I have this to share. A recent report revealed that money was not a motive in Peyton’s selection of a new team (who are we kidding; no one is surprised here). Apparently, the Tennessee Titans – an AFC South division rival and participant in this year’s Peyton Manning free agent frenzy – offered Manning a $25 million/year contract for him to join the team. This money would have come in addition to Titans’ owner Bud Adams’ offer for Manning to join the team’s front office upon his retirement.Manning’s contract with Denver, on the other hand, is “only” a five-year, $96 million package, and Manning will make “just” $18 million this year.
Despite his lower paycheck, Manning reportedly bought a 35,000 square foot mansion in Cherry Hill for $4.575 million. The home features, among other things, a seven-car garage and an elevator, as well as a heated dog kennel (Peyton has dogs?).
I’m glad Manning has a new, worthy place to call home. Would someone like to go find it for me, so I know where to go when I venture to Denver?
That’s all #HorseBytes has for you this week, but check back next Friday for more! In the meantime, you can follow me on Twitter for more timely Colts updates and commentary @catierae08. Happy reading, happy tweeting, and Go Colts!