Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Colts Woes Put a Hurt on Indy Ticket Brokers

It’s been a tough year for Mike Peduto, one of the owners of Circle City Tickets, the largest sports ticket brokerage in Indianapolis.

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Demand has waned for Indiana Hoosiers basketball tickets, as the team has disappointed in recent years. There’s virtually no demand for the Indiana Pacers on the secondary market and certainly not now, given that the NBA is still in lockout mode.

And then, the good old reliable Colts are off to an 0-7 start thanks to the fact that Peyton Manning hasn’t taken a single snap.

“In years past, if ticket sales aren’t looking good, it’s usually a gradual process and we can deal with it,” Peduto said. “Peyton was hurt before, but we never expected this, without any warning and for the team to be so bad.”

Circle City owns about 300 tickets to every Colts game, some they own themselves, some they buy from people willing to give up their entire season at a premium. Because supply is up and demand has dropped, Peduto says the company’s revenue is down about 50 percent this year, mostly due to the Colts.

Thanks to the Internet and sites like StubHub, anyone can own tickets anywhere and sell them quickly. But where local brokers like Circle City can make a killing is by growing the market. They do that by working in town with fans who have tickets, offering a decent mark-up and then selling them at a profit.

But Peduto says it’s hard to grow that market, when the only way the company will invest in the tickets is if they offer to take them off a fan’s hands for 60 percent of face value. Peduto said that good club seats that have a face value of $250 are currently going for around $125.

Sales were already dulled from the fact that Circle City only had a month to sell tickets, before the season started after the lockout. With the team not playing well, Peduto said there also isn’t much hope in marketing the opponents.

“The Atlanta game (Nov. 6) will be fine, but the Tennessee (Dec. 18) and Jacksonville (Nov. 13) games have no glamour and the worst is the Houston game, which is three days before Christmas,” Peduto said. “Carolina (Nov. 27) would normally look good now because of Cam tearing it up, but that’s a 1pm game when people have family in town for Thanksgiving.”

So how does Circle City survive? From many years of doing well.

“We had 12 great years in a row with the Colts,” Peduto said. “We knew it couldn’t go on forever, but we honestly didn’t think it would be this bad.”

That being said, football is football. There’s still a comfort in the scarcity of having just eight home games.

“The games are sold out and there is a large group of people who still want to be there,” Peduto said. “It’s not like the fans are disgusted with the team and they also want to show to the other fans that they are loyal.”

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