The email surprised me.
As a subscriber to the Green Bay Packers email feed, my inbox is often flooded with emails from the team that tend to hit the trash folder before they are even viewed.
Advertisements from the Packers Pro Shop and updates from the official blog are the most common topics received from the team. Periodically, they get clicked and receive a cursory glance. More often than not, the delete button is pressed in earnest.
Not this email though. This was one I was going to open.
The subject of the email I received on Tuesday was “Your thoughts needed regarding playoff tickets”. Interesting subject line, and one which I was more than willing to give my thoughts on.
Before continuing, a little background for those who had not heard about this.
In light of the Packers’ inability to sell playoff tickets and facing a near blackout situation on TV, this email was being sent to season ticket holders, as well as others who are on the season ticket waiting list. While I am not fortunate enough to own season tickets, my 69,ooo and change place on the waiting list enabled me to receive the email.
Inside the email was a link to a survey, which started off with “Your voice is important to us both on and off the field.”
Well, if this is the case, I had better proceed with the survey.
The survey began with the question “Did you purchase tickets for the Jan. 5th Packers-49ers Wild Card playoff game?” Logical enough question, as the email indicated the team wanted to know my thoughts on playoff ticket pricing. As I had not purchased tickets, “no” was selected and the survey advanced.
The questions which followed were standard when trying to determine why 40,000 playoff tickets were available for purchase just a few days before the game.
“Where did you watch the Packers-49ers Wild Card playoff game on Sunday, Jan. 5?”
“I did not purchase tickets for the playoff game because:”
“From the choices you selected in the previous question as reasons you did not purchase tickets, which reason most effected your decision not to purchase tickets?”
All are questions I would want answered too if I was Mark Murphy. Why could this team not sell tickets to a playoff game?
When playoff tickets went on sale in early December, the Packers were 5-6-1. Dead in the water by many fans’ estimations. So asking season ticket holders to plunk down money on tickets that they most likely would not be able to use should not come as a surprise to anyone. The fact they passed a second time later in December should be the bigger cause for concern. And an even bigger concern is why the general public passed until the last possible minute?
Now it is true that the forecast for the game was for brutally cold conditions. But these are Packers fans we’re talking about. Whether rain or snow or wind or hail, they are out there supporting their team, right?
Going to a sporting event-any sporting event-is a minor investment. It often requires creative budgeting to afford the cost of the tickets, let alone the cost of travel, concessions, parking, etc. It is expensive, and the Packers know it.
Unfortunately for the fans, the Packers are in the business of making money. They are a business, and make business decisions which best suit them-not the average Joe. It’s a harsh reality to face, but it is the truth.
Ticket sales are the key to the Packers’ revenue stream. Without ticket sales, the fans stay away, which means concessions don’t get purchased and Pro Shop sales suffer. It is a cyclical effect across the board.
The Packers sent this survey out for one reason and one reason only-to find out why they almost didn’t make as much money as they were supposed to. They don’t really care about our voices. They care about the dollars we can pump into the Lambeau Field machine.
Does this mean I am going to stop being a Packers fan? Absolutely not. I am a die hard Packer fan. Always have been. Always will be. But I also realized some time ago that in the eyes of the Packers, I am nothing more than dollar signs. And I am totally OK with that.