Is the end in sight? If so it wouldn’t be the end of the world. But it would certainly be the end of the world as we know it.
Who are we and what am I talking about?
We are the Denver Broncos fans, players, staff and the owner and I’m talking about the end of the Broncos decades of sellout crowds.
As a long time season ticket holder I received an email recently about my request to upgrade my tickets. In the past they did this via mail/phone and you were given one or two choices. This year it’s online via Ticketmaster. The interesting part of that is that I can see a diagram of the whole stadium and what sections have seats available for me to upgrade…or downgrade.
Here’s the diagram.
Today was deadline day so this represents about how things stand going into next season. If you haven’t made your payments you are no longer a season ticket holder.
The dark blue represents sections with available seating. There are about 135 sections total. Of those, 82 have seating available. That’s about…what? 60% Ok, that’s real rough ciphering cause all the sections hold varying amounts of people, different prices, etcetera. The point is, if you want to move around in the lower priced sections, about 60% of the stadium, you can. That hasn’t always been true. I know cause I’ve moved a lot. It took me years to get to the sideline seats I now have. And granted, those sections on the first level are still jam packed with season ticket holders. But they aren’t who you might think they are.
Don’t be surprised that the first level seats are all sold out. That’s where I sit, but that’s also the seats the ticket brokers buy. They have the highest return value. Especially where we sit, on the visitor side. For the last two years I would estimate that about 50% of the seats around me are owned by brokers. If not then the fan that owns them sells every seat for every game. One of the issues this has created is a near complete lack of consequences for the guy in a scalped seat. Short of criminal behavior the worst he can expect is to be kicked out of the game. As a season ticket holder I have to behave myself or possibly lose my tickets. The out-of-town guys that buy one game have no such worries and their behavior proves it.
But, it isn’t just this that the Broncos should find troubling. It’s that the stadium used to be 99% loyal Broncos fans. That has slipped away and yet they maintained their sellout streak. The modern NFL fan is more mobile and tickets are more easily obtained if you’ve got the cash. Fans root for players as much or more than for teams these days, another factor that leads to the mixed crowds. But now you see that something like 60% of the stadium has at least some seating available for the potential season ticket buyer. I have friends that got on the list for season tickets 5 years ago. They expected to wait 10 or more years, that was the plan so the kids would be old enough to really enjoy the games. Well the Broncos came calling this year.
That fabled wait list is as thin as the mile high air.