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LINK - No Ticket Price Hike

Falcons won't raise ticket prices

Some seat prices will drop 'in deference' to fans

By STEVE WYCHE

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 01/03/08

The Falcons sent a letter to season ticket holders on Wednesday stating their intention not to raise ticket prices next season. The letter also states that in some cases prices will decline from last year and that more seats will be added at the lowest prices.

"We are doing this in deference to you," the letter, which is signed by owner Arthur Blank, states.

According to the letter, season ticket renewal packages will be sent out in the next few weeks.

Blank has stopped short of officially announcing that there would be no ticket price increase twice in the past, most recently at a press conference after coach Bobby Petrino abruptly left the organization for the University of Arkansas with three games remaining.

The letter opens with several paragraphs on the difficult season the Falcons just concluded.

"Last season was nothing close to what we committed to when we set about building this franchise nearly six years ago," Blanks stated in the letter. "The off-field challenges of the year, combined with a multitude of injuries, created our own version of the perfect storm. That's not an excuse it's a fact. However, we told you we would field a consistently winning team, and while we understand we may no be in the playoff hunt every year, we and you expect a better showing than this."

The Falcons season, which ended with a 4-12 record, began with the Michael Vick dogfighting case that resulted in the franchise quarterback's indictment and 23-month prison sentence. There was locker room unrest much of the season, with several players being opening critical of Petrino. The coach, who was hired a year ago after Jim Mora was fired after three seasons, left the team last month to return to the college coaching ranks.

The Falcons are currently searching for a head coach and a general manager after it was announced that president Rich McKay would no longer continue with those duties.

"I've said before that the disappointment of the 2007 season and all its surrounding events makes me even more resolved more committed to make the Falcons a success going forward. We will prevail. That's my pledge to you," the letter concludes.

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From my POV, I find a couple of things wrong with this approach:

1) When Blank took over the team, one of his stated priorities was to get the Dome full again. At the prices that were set prior to his franchise QB going down, there were two blackouts. I know that the letter states that some prices will go down, but if he was truly serious about reaching out 'in deference to the the fans', we'd be promoting across the board reductions, not selective reductions.

AND

2) About those selective reductions...were only those fans who get to see their ticket prices go down affected by the events that engulfed this team in 2007? No. Blank is treating a non-ticket price hike like some type of rare event when it actuality it occurs more frequently than that for other NFL franchises.

The Falcons are at, or are a little bit above average in terms of ticket prices now in the NFL. Our record the last 3 seasons is 19-29 - significantly below average.

IMO, Blank did the bare minimum here...if that.

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This would mean more to me if I didn't remember them hiring Petirno in the first place.

Do I get a refund for my season tickets last year? The front office was responsible for the garbage on the field last year because they hired Petirno.

I'm sorry but I need a little more than this to make me feel good about renewing my tickets this year.

I am terrified Blank will go with another suprise "sizzle" hire.

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Just out of interest, over the last 20 years how many teams have dropped their prices?

And I'm guessing, if the Falcons starting winning, making the play offs, winning a few Super Bowls - you'll all be happy at massive price increases??

How many other things are free in the States? It sounds like you guys hate paying for anything:D

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Over the last 20 years, how many franchises have been embarrassed to the extent we have? I will pay for a good product. But we didn't get a bad product this year...we got a disgraceful one.

Fact of the matter is, when Blank took over the Falcons, they have the 2nd cheapest average ticket in the NFL. Blank's 2002 sale made them the cheapest. Since then we've gone up at a faster rate in terms of average ticket price more than any other NFL franchise by a WIDE margin. This was done on the back of Meal Ticket Mike.

And now to get this type of selective and tepid response from the Falcons when it was clear by seasons end that many people who bought the product previously, were not buying or going to buy it...?

Bad move...tickets were already sold last year so the Dome wasn't nearly as empty as it could have been. But in 2008...? Good thing the seats will be red and black...

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im sorry.. i wasn't gonna say anything.. but after reading you guys complain about all this i had to... you guys act like YOU deserve to be reimbursed for the team on the field.. this is a freaking business... YOU choose to buy the tickets... YOU will choose to buy them again or not... Arthur Blank has NO duty to ween you back to the dome with cheaper tickets... this is where the true fans stick around... stop complaining and show some support for the guy that is working his ##### off to get this franchise back on track... Arthur Blank will turn the falcons around.. and you guys will soon realize.. NOTHING is owed to you for a bad season... that is just laughable im sorry... maybe you will learn how a business runs soon enough..

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John Brinson (1/3/2008)
I don't think a lot of you realize how low our prices were compared to the rest of the league. We were in the bottom tier of ticket prices, and are now in the middle of the pack.

that's true, it was just the timing of when the ticket prices were raised that angered some people.

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TheDirtyWordII (1/3/2008)
Over the last 20 years, how many franchises have been embarrassed to the extent we have? I will pay for a good product. But we didn't get a bad product this year...we got a disgraceful one.

Fact of the matter is, when Blank took over the Falcons, they have the 2nd cheapest average ticket in the NFL. Blank's 2002 sale made them the cheapest. Since then we've gone up at a faster rate in terms of average ticket price more than any other NFL franchise by a WIDE margin. This was done on the back of Meal Ticket Mike.

And now to get this type of selective and tepid response from the Falcons when it was clear by seasons end that many people who bought the product previously, were not buying or going to buy it...?

Bad move...tickets were already sold last year so the Dome wasn't nearly as empty as it could have been. But in 2008...? Good thing the seats will be red and black...

So you'll be happy to pay the most for tickets if we start winning?

I didn't realise the tickets were the second cheapest in the NFL when Blank took over. It says a lot that he had to reduce them to the cheapest before the Dome started to sell out.

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This is good news. The tickets are never going to be low enough to make most of us happy, but this announcement is clearly a good thing.

Personally, I may still elect not to renew. I have the power here and so do you. Each of us gets to make a personal decision about buying. We are not entitled to anything. Cheap tickets are not and should not be a "right." When the price exceeds the buyers percieved value, sales will go down. This season is a good example.

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So you'll be happy to pay the most for tickets if we start winning?

I didn't realise the tickets were the second cheapest in the NFL when Blank took over. It says a lot that he had to reduce them to the cheapest before the Dome started to sell out.

I'll never complain about paying a fair price for tickets. Winning breeds loyalty.

But in 6 years of ownership, we've reached the play-offs twice and have not ended our lack of back-to-back winning seasons streak. Where has Blank provided more entertainment for my dollar than the previous owners and at the same time why is it costing 116% more than when he first took over the team?

But let's also get down to another root of the problem. Atlanta fans are fickle and as such, you simply can't gauge them financially. The fans set the market, not the owner. In Washington you'll wait 15 years at least before you get a season ticket. In Atlanta, there is no wait and now you stand a 25% chance of having the game blacked out on local TV.

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But let's also get down to another root of the problem. Atlanta fans are fickle and as such, you simply can't gauge them financially. The fans set the market, not the owner. In Washington you'll wait 15 years at least before you get a season ticket. In Atlanta, there is no wait and now you stand a 25% chance of having the game blacked out on local TV.

Actually I think it's better than 25%.

What gets me is that I get the attitude like they're doing us a favor and we should be greatful that they're not raising ticket prices.

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Petrino is NOT my hero (1/3/2008)
im sorry.. i wasn't gonna say anything.. but after reading you guys complain about all this i had to... you guys act like YOU deserve to be reimbursed for the team on the field.. this is a freaking business... YOU choose to buy the tickets... YOU will choose to buy them again or not... Arthur Blank has NO duty to ween you back to the dome with cheaper tickets... this is where the true fans stick around... stop complaining and show some support for the guy that is working his ##### off to get this franchise back on track... Arthur Blank will turn the falcons around.. and you guys will soon realize.. NOTHING is owed to you for a bad season... that is just laughable im sorry... maybe you will learn how a business runs soon enough..

So I trust you spend in excess of $2K for Falcons tickets a year yourself?

You can talk about true fandom all you want, but what my business acumen taught me is to know your customer. And the Atlanta sports fan for better or for worse is a very fickle customer.

When you talk about 'weening' back to the Dome - are you telling me Blank doesn't have a duty to do this? It's not imperative that he keep the place to capacity? Give me a break! It should be a HUGE priority! If you don't think that's his repsonsibility, then please alert me to the business school you went to so I can ensure my children avoid it.

If you knew about business, you would recognize that the laws of supply and demand are no longer working in Blank's favor now the Michael Meal Ticket is no longer around and the (supposed) 40,000+ waiting list is down to negative 5,000-10,000. The fact that the franchise is way off track to the point where we are having to conduct concurrent GM & HC searches on the heels of a disastrous season and very poor 3 year stretch absolutely is his responsibility. In the business world, they fire the CEO after corporate performances like this.

Putting a product on the field that is worth watching and stands a chance at consistent winning is the first order of business. But we are a ways from that and have been since 2004 yet Blank has raised ticket prices at a faster rate than any owner since 2003 and is in the Top 5 since 2002.

So let's stop trying to give business lessons and realize that because of this move, it's a good bet you won't see much of the Falcons on TV this year unless his selective ticket price discounts become a lot more inclusive.

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TheDirtyWordII (1/3/2008)
Petrino is NOT my hero (1/3/2008)
im sorry.. i wasn't gonna say anything.. but after reading you guys complain about all this i had to... you guys act like YOU deserve to be reimbursed for the team on the field.. this is a freaking business... YOU choose to buy the tickets... YOU will choose to buy them again or not... Arthur Blank has NO duty to ween you back to the dome with cheaper tickets... this is where the true fans stick around... stop complaining and show some support for the guy that is working his ##### off to get this franchise back on track... Arthur Blank will turn the falcons around.. and you guys will soon realize.. NOTHING is owed to you for a bad season... that is just laughable im sorry... maybe you will learn how a business runs soon enough..

So I trust you spend in excess of $2K for Falcons tickets a year yourself?

You can talk about true fandom all you want, but what my business acumen taught me is to know your customer. And the Atlanta sports fan for better or for worse is a very fickle customer.

When you talk about 'weening' back to the Dome - are you telling me Blank doesn't have a duty to do this? It's not imperative that he keep the place to capacity? Give me a break! It should be a HUGE priority! If you don't think that's his repsonsibility, then please alert me to the business school you went to so I can ensure my children avoid it.

If you knew about business, you would recognize that the laws of supply and demand are no longer working in Blank's favor now the Michael Meal Ticket is no longer around and the (supposed) 40,000+ waiting list is down to negative 5,000-10,000. The fact that the franchise is way off track to the point where we are having to conduct concurrent GM & HC searches on the heels of a disastrous season and very poor 3 year stretch absolutely is his responsibility. In the business world, they fire the CEO after corporate performances like this.

Putting a product on the field that is worth watching and stands a chance at consistent winning is the first order of business. But we are a ways from that and have been since 2004 yet Blank has raised ticket prices at a faster rate than any owner since 2003 and is in the Top 5 since 2002.

So let's stop trying to give business lessons and realize that because of this move, it's a good bet you won't see much of the Falcons on TV this year unless his selective ticket price discounts become a lot more inclusive.

You missed the point of the post.. in regards to the people complaining about the fact that ticket prices will not rise and there will be selective ticket price lowering.... Blank does NOT owe anything to the fans other then to put a winning team on the field.. Blank has been workin like crazy to decide what GM and Coach are right for this franchise.. and seems to be doing everything the right way this time.. and you guys think you have a right to complain about something he is doing for the fans.. i would understand if we had the most expensive tickets in the league.. but ****.. we are not even CLOSE

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You missed the point of the post.. in regards to the people complaining about the fact that ticket prices will not rise and there will be selective ticket price lowering.... Blank does NOT owe anything to the fans other then to put a winning team on the field.. Blank has been workin like crazy to decide what GM and Coach are right for this franchise.. and seems to be doing everything the right way this time.. and you guys think you have a right to complain about something he is doing for the fans.. i would understand if we had the most expensive tickets in the league.. but ****.. we are not even CLOSE

Question, do you have season tickets?

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I'm not sure why you are telling me that but I'll give it a shot. My point was not to say that some sections are any less or more worthy of reduced ticket prices but more along the lines being a long time fan or customer, it would be nice if all sections benefited not just a select few. Unless someone is in that section all it really does is let the Falcons marketing team boast about being below the market "average".

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This is a token gesture to acknowledge an under-performing season for the franchise and is better than raising the prices. :)

As was noted earlier, we all can vote with our dollars and decide to either continue to be STH or not. You can buy Falcons merchandise or not, you can support the sponsors or not. It's your money: you should do whatever makes the most economic sense for your situation.

Owning an NFL franchise is a business and Arthur Blank isn't looking at the Falcons as another philanthropic endeavor: he expects to profit from his ownership, both in terms of dollars and in personal pride from championships. Obviously, one of these is more easily attained than the other.

Unless he gets the GM and coach selection right this time, staffed with people who can draft/sign the necessary talent to improve our many weaknesses, he will find it increasingly difficult to entice fans to a mediocre venue (GA Dome) with its appallingly bad access, parking, and tailgating areas.

I'm voting my confidence in the team by continuing to be a STH. Hoping for and expecting the best, not willing to settle for mediocrity.

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You missed the point of the post.. in regards to the people complaining about the fact that ticket prices will not rise and there will be selective ticket price lowering.... Blank does NOT owe anything to the fans other then to put a winning team on the field.. Blank has been workin like crazy to decide what GM and Coach are right for this franchise.. and seems to be doing everything the right way this time.. and you guys think you have a right to complain about something he is doing for the fans.. i would understand if we had the most expensive tickets in the league.. but ****.. we are not even CLOSE

And you didn't answer my question in regards to the annual investment you make in the Falcons.

The fact of the matter is that Blank's performance has been subpar and with regard to what he OWES us in your eyes, he hasn't provided that.

I don't care that Blank is 'working like crazy'. He is working on borrowed credibility now. In 2 of his 6 years, we have not made the play-offs or even had a .500 record even though previous ticket price increases were externally justified toward meeting that goal.

Do I have the right to complain for something he is doing for the fans. Change fans to customers and **** straight I do!

And as far as complaining about most expensive tickets, when you take out the major markets (New York, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC), we are less than $8 off the highest average ticket price in the NFL. And this figure is based off 2006 numbers, before Blank raised tickets prior to the 2007 season.

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