No black and gold in RCA Dome?
Thursday, January 12, 2006
By Chuck Finder, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
INDIANAPOLIS -- For any Steelers fanatic planning to buy tickets to the NFL playoff game at the RCA Dome on Sunday, here's a few hints: avoid using a telephone with a Western Pennsylvania area code, find a Colts fan as a go-between, order anonymously online, or call out-of-work Bill Prus.
This is all because the folks in central Indiana have been counseled to refuse your cash or credit, if not your call.
These folks include Tony Dungy, a former Steelers player and assistant coach, husband of a Sewickley native, and the Colts coach who this week signed an e-mail plea to season-ticket holders asking them to keep the RCA Dome seats within the Indianapolis-fan family.
"I had to take my own advice," he said with a smile yesterday. "I had to tell the 412 guys, 'Sorry' this time around.
"I got a lot of relatives coming in, mostly from Michigan and Canada," said the Jackson, Mich., native. "A few 412s, too. But they're diehard Colts fans, ones I can vouch for."
As Cincinnati did last weekend, the front office of the Steelers' latest playoff opponent is attempting to erect a roadblock in front of the Steelers Nation, whose members are known to invade opponents' stadiums by the thousands.
The Colts administration sent an e-mail requesting that ticket holders keep their home dome a "sea of blue." The Indianapolis Star reported that the message read, "We are asking those of you who have tickets but cannot attend the game to do everything possible to make sure that your tickets end up in the hands of Colts fans. Our fans are critical to our success on the field, so if you cannot be there, please make sure that someone who bleeds blue is in your seat."
It was signed: Coach Tony Dungy and President Bill Polian.
Plenty of seats remain for the game, too. But not so many good ones, going by the reaction of several ticket brokers around Indiana yesterday. For the record, a few brokers remain willing to make a deal with anyone in the 412 or 724 area codes.
Ticket brokering, legal in Indiana, was moving at a brisk pace for the AFC Divisional Playoff between the Colts (14-2) and Steelers (12-5) at 1 p.m. Sunday in the 55,506-seat RCA Dome. Local experts maintain that the range hovers between $150 and $700, rather than the $200 to $1,200 shown on Web pages that sell the same tickets, though with the brokers' markup included.
"Demand is very good," said Chris Skidmore of Front Row Indy, where only a few tickets were unsold as of yesterday. "And a lot of people are adhering to [the no-seats-to-Steelers-fans stance] at this point. Doubt it will change. Don't like Pittsburgh Steelers fans. The opposition. Not going to sell to them."
Mr. Skidmore concluded the conversation this way: "Take care. Go Blue. Bye."
However, one broker advertising in the Star to buy and sell all types of tickets, though declining to divulge his name for publication, said a Pittsburgh area code wouldn't keep him from selling.
"I'd rather keep them in Indy, let people here be able to get their hands on them," the man said. "But if a Pittsburgh fan wants to buy a ticket, they can get a ticket." Then again, he can't see the attractiveness of this Steelers-Colts match-up seven weeks after the Colts won 26-7 in the same place: "We played them and beat them once. It's kind of like a re-run, really. A replay."
Mike Peduto, a partner at Circle City Tickets, has already witnessed a drop in interest. His company has dropped its price on upper-level seats from $175 to $135 -- even though competing Web sites list a higher price.
"Even with the fact Pittsburgh has such a big season-ticket base, a big following, [interest] is probably a little lower than it was in the regular season for the Monday night game. We don't know if they get the sense that last week was their game, or what. ... Maybe at the end of the week it will pick up a lot."
He added: "I think the clubs are going to say that for public-relations purposes; you want to encourage your fans, 'Hey, keep it here.' But if you're from Pittsburgh, there's no venue where you can't go."
Season-ticket holder Bill Prus -- who is advertising his four seats in both the Indianapolis paper and one in Marion, Ind., near his hometown -- is willing to sell to anyone, including Steelers fans. The reason: He lost his job after 34 years at a plant that manufactured RCA television picture tubes, which closed a year and a half ago, and this 53-year-old community college student needs the money for his family.
"I'd rather not sell to a Pittsburgh Steeler fan," said Mr. Prus of Gas City, Ind., one hour's drive northeast of Indianapolis. "Just like Cincinnati did, and they got screwed. You see how well that worked." (The Bengals lost, 31-17.)
Mr. Prus has four aisle seats, Section 125, low in an end-zone corner, Rows 22 and 23. He's asking $400 per ticket.
"I wouldn't even think about selling these tickets if I wasn't out of work. I'm starting over again," he said. "I'm asking for a higher price than most people do, but if I don't get it, I'll go to the game.
"And I'm definitely going to the AFC Championship game after we beat Pittsburgh."
I hate the Colts. I am from Tennessee, and I hate Peyton Manning. Those pussies in Indy
are already allegedly running the roar of the crowd through the PA system when the Colt's opponents are of offense, and now they are trying to block the Steeler Nation from getting
tickets to the game. I guess they are intimidated by our terrible towels.
I hope the Steelers beat the shit out of the Colts sunday. I naturally want the Steelers to go all the way, and for "The Bus" to get a ring before he retires, but right now I just want to beat the Colts.