Last night’s defeat at the hands of the Detroit Lions was embarrassing in more ways than one. The obvious being the dismal performance of the Packers on Thursday Night Football. But the second was the number of Lions fans in the stadium for a home game at Lambeau Field. For the stadium being sold out for every game due to the long season ticket holders list, there were way too many Away fans. It seems there were a large number of Gold Package holders that decided they wanted the upcharge for their season tickets over being present themselves. So, why even have tickets then? There needs to be a Packers season ticket revocation process.
There are roughly 147,000 names on the waitlist to become Green Bay Packers season ticket holders. That’s 147K people who likely have been waiting most of their lives for the opportunity to be in the stands for multiple Packer games per season. When their number is called, if they can afford it, I guarantee they’ll be doing everything they can to be at every single game they are given. They have waited. They will not take it for granted.
On the other side of that spectrum, there are those that have been ticket holders for many years, or their family has had tickets for years, and making it to a game, just isn’t a big deal to them. They don’t really care if they’re present or not. In fact, if they see that they could make a decent profit selling their tickets online, they leap at the opportunity. That lets in a sea of away fans that shouldn’t be a thing with a waitlist as long as the Packers have.
It’s time to do something about that.
What can we do about it?
In Lambeau Field today there is a sign that hangs stating “Today is someone’s bucket list.” In smaller letters underneath, it reads, “Driven by our vision, mission, & values.”
That’s a great quote because it’s true. I’m sure there were a few Packers fans in the stands last night that were seeing their very first game at Lambeau Field. Their bucket list was checked off. But you know what’s likely also a bucket list item? To have Green Bay Packers season tickets. Those are the people that will clear their schedule to insure they’re there on game day. They’re the ones that if they can’t make it, they’ll give or sell the tickets to other Packers fans because they know how it feels to get to a game finally as a fan.
To get to this point where we stop seeing so many away fans invading our hallowed grounds, I have two proposals:
Create a waitlist resell pool
Can’t make it to the game? Life’s busy and you have prior commitments or can’t take off work for a weekday game? That’s not a crime. But you should make the effort to sell your tickets to other Packers fans.
The Packers already keep track of the season ticket holder waitlist yearly. Why not work with Ticketmaster to have a resell pool on the Packers website that fans on the waitlist have access to? If a season ticket holder wants to sell their tickets to a game, they can easily sell them back to the Packers at whatever cost deemed appropriate, and the Packers will put those tickets into the pool for those currently on the waitlist who have access to purchase if they would like. Bada-bing bada-boom right? No penalty to the season ticket holder and those tickets go into the hands of an appreciating Packer fan.
Revoke season tickets
Of course, here’s the big one everyone not selling their tickets wants. To be honest, I can’t help but agree with them. If you’re going to take your season tickets and throw them on a resell site for anyone to grab so that you can make a little extra cash, you don’t deserve your tickets. Your season tickets should just be revoked at the end of the season and someone on the waitlist will take over.
But the question is how does it get done?
Well, the NFL and the Packers already have a means of watching over season tickets. If your season tickets appear on Ticketmaster for resale, already they can be flagged for investigation. If it happens multiple times, they indeed can be revoked.
But what about other ticket brokers? That tends to be how away fans get in. Sites like StubHub have no qualms with you reselling your tickets at an up-charge. Other ticket brokers as well don’t care what happens as long as they get their money from the transaction. So, how can this be dealt with. Well, it could be quite simple. The Packers can monitor these sites for tickets being resold and in turn deal with the ticket holders. What’s another tracking option?
The Packers have Packers.fancam.com where a picture is taken of the entire stadium for fans to find themselves in the Lambeau crowd. It could be easy on gamedays where away fans are in an overabundance to spot those away fans and track approximately where they are sitting. Then look over resales and see if they were resold anywhere. Then deal with the seat-holder accordingly. It won’t be a perfect system, but something has to give.
Occasions like last night’s game cannot happen with a season ticket tradition like the Packers have. Perhaps it could be a scheduling fault where Gold Package holders should only receive Sunday afternoon games due to the travel issues some can face. Either way, something has to give.
Too many season ticket holders have become spoiled and complacent. This is about home field advantage. If you hold a ticket to the game and you give it up to an opposing fan, you’re relinquishing that home-field advantage for your team. And that simply cannot fly in Green Bay.
Greg Meinholz is a lifelong devoted Packer fan. A contributor to PackersTalk as well as CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter at @gmeinholz. for Packers commentary, random humor, beer endorsements, and occasional Star Wars and Marvel ramblings.