Even before NFL free agency officially opens for business at 2 p.m. Thursday, it’s already been a solid offseason for Denver Broncos' season ticket holders.
First, the team did not raise ticket prices for the first time since 2011.
And now, for the first time in six years, the Broncos are making a substantial number of season tickets available to fans who have been patiently hanging in for years on their waiting list.
The team conducted an audit of its season ticket base to determine patterns of use. The audit revealed a number of season ticket holders did not use their tickets for a single game during the 2016 season. This could include ticket brokers who had no intention of going to a game but rather sold their entire package on the secondary market, which consistently yields one of the highest resale values in the league.
The result of the audit is several hundred season tickets were not renewed and will become available to those who have been on the Broncos' waiting list that is long enough to fill another stadium. The team is going on its 48th consecutive season of home sellouts, which marks the longest streak in pro sports in one city. (The Washington Redskins are excluded because they tarp their upper deck).
In their ticket agreement, Broncos season tickets are revocable licenses granted on a yearly basis at the sole discretion of the team.
“After careful review and consideration of our nearly 22,000 season ticket accounts, we are informing a number of season ticket holders that their licenses will not be renewed for the 2017 season based on their tickets not being used by them for any game in 2016,'' the Broncos said in a statement. " These decisions were made to reward our loyal season ticket holders, who have helped us to the longest home sellout streak in the NFL, and the many dedicated Broncos fans on our season ticket waiting list of nearly 75,000 people.”
In addition, current season ticket holders will have the opportunity to upgrade their seat location for the first time in several years.
The Broncos are also planning to increase the number of single-game tickets that are made available each year in July – and usually sell out in a matter of minutes.
These periodic checks also help keep ticket prices as affordable as possible for the average fan.
The Chicago Cubs conducted a similar audit after their World Series run last fall. They tracked season ticket holders who sold their seats to a high-percentage of games. The license agreement the Cubs have with their fans states tickets can be canceled if they’re bought with the intent of re-selling them to the secondary market.
While the Cubs did not renew agreements to those who resold tickets to a high percentage of games, the Broncos drew the line on only those who attended zero games in 2016.
Why should people who don't attend games take the place of Broncos fans who want to bring their spouse and kids to the games?