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Time to Buck the Scalpers

Dallas Cowboys fans

It is almost inconceivable that the Green Bay Packers could ever learn something from another Wisconsin sports team or take something from their playbook. The Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks are not the Packers, nor could they ever be. With 13 world titles and four Super Bowl championships the Packers are unrivaled in history and tradition of excellence. With a national and even international fan base, the Packers transcend petty regional affiliation.

Be that as it may, it seems the Packers could learn something from the Bucks, one of the more disreputable dregs of a league consisting of a handful of legitimate contenders, with the remainder relegated to the status of being one of many piker teams not unlike the hapless Washington Generals. Indeed, the Bucks are taking efforts to prevent ticket brokers from buying in bulk and reselling them on the secondary market at an inflated value. One Bill Wenz bought 25 playoff tickets and had his order rescinded because one was resold on StubHub.

Some may think this is un-American or otherwise in contravention to basic principles of contract law. When one buys something, he should be able to do with it as he pleases. And if the market bears drastic markup, more power to him. So the reasoning goes.

Except that in a contract one can enter into any number of stipulations or conditions that govern that sale. In the instance of the Bucks, they did just that. Their terms and conditions state:

Bucks tickets, including but not limited to Bucks season tickets, are owned by the Bucks. A Bucks ticket is a revocable license issued by the Bucks to the individual or corporate entity name that appears on the account of record. Breach of any of the terms herein and/or on the reverse side of the ticket shall entitle the Bucks to all available legal remedies. The Bucks reserve the right to revoke the license granted, in its discretion, by refunding the purchase price (emphasis added).

It is of note that such moves are not entirely unheard of. In 2012, the Chicago Cubs made a similar move, targeting season ticket holders who simply resell their tickets on the secondary market.

So what could the Packers possibly learn from this, a move made by the lowly Bucks? Very simply this: implementing similar measures would clear out entrenched Green Bay Packer season ticket holders who ostensibly are not fans at all, but just buy and resell to the highest bidder. Of course, that highest bidder may be a Vikings fan or a Seahawks fan, or any other sort of undesirable rooting against the Packers and for one of our many rivals, or even enemies. Removing these cutthroat opportunists would serve two purposes:

  • Lower overall prices in the secondary market, thus increasing availability to more Packers fans, many of whom have not yet made the pilgrimage to Lambeau Field
  • Ensure higher percentage of the crowd in attendance are actually Green Bay Packers fans.

Doubtlessly, all Packers fans have noticed there are far too many Vikings fans in the stands, even when the team is not in real contention. There were also a disturbing number of Cowboys fans at last year’s playoff game and an embarrassing number of Giants fans in 2007, as just two examples of what should be an unsettling trend. Indeed, estimates indicate that some 40 percent of fans in attendance at the divisional round playoff game were Cowboys fans. Reigning in the number of ticket brokers and scalpers masquerading as Packers season ticket holders would help substantially curtail the number of such imposters.

Of course, it cannot be reasonably suggested that any resale of tickets on the secondary market should invoke revocation of season ticket holding rights, as the Bucks apparently have done. Not everyone can attend each and every game. As an example, the Cubs simply look for pervasive and persistent resell.

Additionally, weeding out the brokers (or scalpers) will help create incentive for things like Packers Partners, a fan club which costs $100 to join. Ostensibly, they offer face value ticket resale to members, but given the prevalence of sales on other secondary markets, this benefit — at $100 a head — is almost certainly a theoretical one only. Creating a realistic chance of obtaining tickets as a Packers fan through this venue would greatly increase the incentive in forking over the $100 to join, thus increasing its members substantially. This means more revenue for the team, which is what helps them win football games and fuels their glorious crusade to win Lombardi trophies each and every year.

Of course, the increasing prevalence of opposing fans is not all on the Packers organization. As I have written before, many of us are far too welcoming and kind to people donning colors that should make them, at the very least, persona non grata. But that is a subject for another day.

In short, selling Packers season tickets with a prohibition against rampant, abusive resale on the secondary market helps real Packers fans attend the games, which in turn helps the Packers win by fostering a formidable home field advantage. Additionally, if structured properly, such measures will put more money in the war-chest of the Packers organization.

Perhaps in this one instance, the Bucks lead where the Packers should follow.

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E. Wolf

Just a Packers fan and native Seattleite left stranded in New York City, and apparently suffering from post traumatic stress disorder from the near disaster in New Orleans in January of 2010. Bleeds Green and Gold through and through. Listens to indie and hardcore industrial and aggrotech music, and thus would much rather hear Headhunter by Front 242 or Front Line Assembly's "Mindphaser" than "Celebrate" or "I Gotta Feeling" in the fourth quarter, or any time.

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14 Comments

  1. Andrew Chitko April 22, 2015

    E…I’ve given you plenty of shit over the years.

    Not this time. Nice job.

  2. billybong April 22, 2015

    i know a lot of season ticket holders that never attend a game anymore, maybe one game a year…making big bucks off of their tickets…right or wrong, i don’t know…wish i had that problem.

  3. A guy April 22, 2015

    You’re disrupting the natural market for Packers tickets. Various methods will have more or less of an effect obviously, but in the end any roadblocks you throw up are going to decrease availability for those willing to pay. I’m personally happy to pay 300-400 for a ticket once a year to fly in from New York and see a game of my choosing.

    I understand your point about keeping opposing fans out, but is that worth making it hard for everyone else as well? Are you going to make me, a diehard fan with the means and willingness to pay, wait in line or not get my pick of game? Keep me out of the pro shop, of Curly’s? Is frustrating a ton of fans a net benefit to the franchise?

    1. billybong April 22, 2015

      yah, your for the most part right, trying to keep opposing fans out also will keep Packer fans out…i would think more Packer fans would try to scoop up the tickets avail…one thing…there is no more Curly’s sadly, its going to be an office space and a new restaurant is opening on a different level according to the waitress in Curlys that told me about it last fall…too bad, nice place to sit and watch players come and go also good burgers.

    2. E. Wolf April 23, 2015

      The “natural market” is whatever the parties agree to. If the Packers should be persuaded to alter their terms and conditions for season ticket purchases more closely to what the Bucks or Cubs are doing, that would also be part of the “natural market.”
      And no, it would not result in less availability to Packer fans in our out of Wisconsin, if done correctly.
      The Packers would receive no less money by enacting such measures, would “do a solid” for many Packers fans, and help reduce numbers of opposing fans. That is a win-win situation anyway you slice it, on and off the field.

  4. Phatgzus April 22, 2015

    Agreed, well written article on an interesting and somewhat concerning subject.

  5. Deepsky April 22, 2015

    The season ticket holder situation with the Packers is very unique. Here’s some comments I have.

    As billybong mentions, I know a lot of individual owners who sell most of their tickets to scalpers, keeping, say the Bears and Vikings games for themselves.

    But it gets more complicated.

    Many ‘season ticket holders’ are bars that own like a 100 tickets they’ve acquired over many years. They make money by sending busses to the games filled with drunk fans.

    When these multiple ticket owners got socked with a per ticket seat license (in 2000?) that would have bankrupted them, they temporarily sold the rights to someone else for the use of the tickets for a finite number of years if the buyer paid the seat license.

    My recommendation, if you want to get tickets cheap, is to hang out on Ridge Rd right before the game. Usually right before the game there will be folks who couldn’t go looking to unload them quick. We’ve gotten lucky several times getting tickets for face, although we’ve also been SOL.

  6. Salazar April 22, 2015

    Agree on all counts, other than the idea that we should stop being gracious hosts for ALL football fans. It’s just the Wisconsin way!

  7. Nacho dan April 22, 2015

    The fans are to nice at Lambeau to other teams fans. That’s why during every game you hear the announcers saying if your a football fan you gotta see a game at Lambeau field. No if your a Packer fan you should otherwise get the fuck outta here. You know what else grinds my gears? Fans that don’t make noise until third down on defense or make noise for the offense!

  8. Cheese April 22, 2015

    If it wasn’t for street scalpers I wouldn’t have gone to that playoff game against the Vikings for $20

  9. Deepsky April 23, 2015

    Another cheap way to see the Packers? I went to another NFL city and paid $11 each for preseason tickets.

    1. Cheese April 23, 2015

      I find preseason tickets on Oneida in GB for $10 or free every year. You just have to know how. I can see how a person traveling from far a way wouldn’t want to risk that though.

      1. Fritz April 23, 2015

        preseason? isn’t that like paying to see a practice scrimmage? even in the heydey of the redskins, you could attend practice sessions for free.

        they should do away with four preseason games, reduce it to two, so they could increase the regular season by two games. then we could see the Pack vs. an extra team from the nfc east and south this year.

      2. E. Wolf April 23, 2015

        Preseason? Really?