Colts season tickets available for 2012

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For the first time since 2003, season tickets are available for Colts games. Thousands of fans who held seats for years decided not to renew.

For sports fans, there's nothing quite like being there for the game. Jason Anderson supports the Tribe, but he's been a Colts season ticket holder since 1994.

"Since Marshall Faulk was a rookie. That's when I first got 'em," Anderson said.

But fewer fans are renewing their seats.

For the first time in a decade, Colts season tickets are available: 4,000 of them.

13 percent of last year's season ticket holders decided not to come back as the team rebuilds.

The Colts even exhausted their season ticket waiting list of 10,000 people and still could not sell all the seats.

Some fans say considering last season's losing record and all the changes on the team, they're not surprised.

"No, it doesn't surprise me," said Colts fan Scott Hunt. "I've lived in Indiana long enough to know the community comes out when there's a winner."

"It's because Manning's gone, I guess, and the 2-12 season," added fan Ray Petronzio.

"It's been a decade since someone could call us and get season tickets right away," said Larry Hall, Colts VP of Ticket Operations. "It's a unique situation, but it's an opportunity for Colts fans we haven't had in quite some time."

The tickets available are in the upper levels and cost between $690 and $790 per seat.

Some cite the economy, a poor team record, and the loss of Peyton Manning for struggling sales.

But sports marketing expert and Dean of the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management at IUPUI Jay Gladden says there's something else at play, and it's not limited to the Indianapolis Colts.

"I think the NFL is even acknowledging now that the in-home experience is competition for the in-game experience, so getting people to attend is becoming more challenging particularly when the teams are not successful," Gladden said.

So how do you bring the fans back and sell those season tickets? The Colts are trying a new tactic: not necessarily marketing players, but marketing "making memories."

"We are in the memory-making business and that's really what we're about, having shared experiences. You can't affect the game from your couch," Hall said. "The rhythm of the game, the once-a-week ritual, if you will, is pretty special."

"The key there is to be able to say I was there when this happened or I saw Andrew Luck when he was a rookie," Gladden said. "To be able to say you were there and to share that experience with others is certainly part of the emotional message that they need to convey."

While the Colts believe draft day next week will cause a spike in season ticket sales, fans say there's one sure way to sell out.

"Win," Anderson said.

"Win. I think that's it," Hunt agreed.

For more information on buying season tickets, you can call 299-4WIN or click here.

If season tickets don't sell out, single games will be available starting this summer.