Thursday, August 18, 2011

Suddenly, Tennessee Titans tickets aren't hard to get

Tennessee Titans fan Ricky Adcock has been trying to sell a pair of south end zone season tickets on the open market for several weeks.

So far, there have been few nibbles. Well, actually “none whatsoever,” Adcock says. “Sad, ain’t it?”

Mike Woodke considers himself luckier. The Brentwood fan unloaded a pair of loge-level seats at the 45-yard line at LP Field for his asking price via an online ticket exchange, but he said there was less interest from buyers than he’s seen in past seasons.

“I had about twice the interest in the past two seasons’ ticket advertisements than I did this year,” he said. Woodke said the NFL lockout could have been a factor in the weakened market.

A mostly down economy, a four-month labor lockout and recent mediocre won-loss records by the once-proud Tennessee Titans are causing a little pain at the box office.

Ticket sales for the team’s 2011 home games are lagging behind last year’s pace, and a growing number of personal seat license (PSL) holders are putting their season tickets up for sale rather than attend all the games.

Nevertheless, Titans officials remain optimistic the team’s 12-year streak of 125 consecutive sellouts at LP Field — which includes preseason, regular season and playoff games — won’t end this year.

“We’re encouraged that we’ll be able to sell out all of our home games,” said Marty Collins, the team’s senior director of ticketing.

The Oct. 30 home game versus Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts is nearly sold out, and just 600 to 1,800 tickets remain for each of the other seven regular-season home games, he said.

LP Field’s official capacity is 68,798 seats.

Still, the secondary market seems filled with Titans tickets for individual home games or the full season. Sites such as Craigslist and others are littered with sales offers from ticket brokers and private owners.

That’s a departure from the dozen previous seasons, when the entire home schedule sold out within hours of single-game tickets being made available to the public. This year, not a single regular-season home game reached sellout status when single-game tickets went on sale early last week.

However, both home preseason games were sellouts, largely because of big purchases by corporate sponsors that plan to give the tickets to military personnel.

Loyalty praised

Collins said 96.8 percent of Titans season ticketholders renewed for 2011, down slightly from 97.2 percent renewals the previous year.

It was the third consecutive year the renewal rate has fallen, despite a six-week extension of the deadline to place ticket orders because of the lengthy lockout.

“It’s still a phenomenal renewal rate, especially in this economic climate,” Collins said.

Most of the surrendered seats are in the less-desirable upper sections of LP Field and are being sold as single-game tickets because the lockout left too little time to resell them as season packages, Collins said.

The Titans now have 59,705 season ticketholders.

But several are looking to sell their tickets via outlets online.

Danny Bridges of Hendersonville hopes to sell his upper-deck tickets and cash in by scoring better seats at lower prices for any game he wants to attend when football season cranks up in earnest next month.

“My thoughts were mainly even if I can’t make it to all the games, I could find equal or cheaper tickets outside the stadium,” Bridges said.

Thousands of tickets online

According to a popular ticket search engine,, secondary ticket sites had 6,000 to 9,000 seats available on Tuesday for each Titans home game for as little as $30 each, depending on the location.

John Vrooman, a Vanderbilt University economics professor, said the Titans’ recent instability, a head coaching change, a newly acquired starting quarterback, the star running back’s contract holdout and other issues are dampening demand for tickets.

“The good news is that most of the off-season moves were made to create increased stability,” Vrooman wrote in an email. “When team performance picks up (which it predictably will), single-game sales will again max out and as the long-term outlook improves, season-tickets and PSLs (personal seat licenses) will begin to strengthen.”

For now, few longtime fans appear willing to give up seat licenses, which they secured by paying a one-time fee ranging from a few hundred bucks to $6,000, plus agreeing to buy season tickets every year.

PSLs can be sold, but the number of them trading hands has stayed fairly constant at about 900 a year, Collins said.

Stacy Pride of Spring Hill said her husband hopes to sell their season tickets for six north end zone seats this fall, but ever the optimist he will hold onto his seat license because of one perk: first crack at playoff tickets.

“He’s still holding out hope they’ll go to the Super Bowl,” she said.