Thursday, November 23, 2006

Bears Reward PSL Holders With Nothing

Everybody here knows my personal feelings about the PSL, or Personal Seat License. For those readers that are new, I will give a little background information.

About five years ago the Bears built a new stadium with the help of a hotel tax and some other concessions from the government. This is one of my soap box topics. It is my feeling that the government should NEVER give ANY money to build a stupid sports stadium, that benefits a multi millionaire owner. I don't see the government lining up to help me expand my business. But that is most certainly a different topic. The bottom line is that the stadium deal got done.

Along with every new stadium for an NFL team comes the PSL. The PSL is a fee that a season ticket holder pays for the priviledge to purchase the tickets. In other words, you pay a one time fee up front to reserve your seats. The Bears didn't make their whole stadium PSL. The west upper deck is not PSL, and neither is part of each end zone. The rest of the stadium is PSL. Here is the map if you are interested.

I am really not going to 'dis the Bears for implementing the PSL, as they are doing nothing unusual or odd here. And if they can get the money, that is great. My "line in the sand", is the PSL. I just won't pay it. I also think it stinks that the people that sat out there and watched the Bears in that terrible stadium (Old Soldier Field was undoubtedly the very worst stadium ever) and earned the good seats (many probably watched the Bears at Wrigley Field) were slapped with a PSL or booted to the upper deck with the rest of us peasants. But nobody ever said NFL teams cared about the fans, nor did anybody ever say that we HAVE to go.

You would think that these PSL seats would entitle the holders to some sort of premium treatment. They do not. The lower end PSL seats ($750-$2500) have crappy seats and use the same crowded bathrooms as the non PSL seats. The upper end PSL seats do have one benefit, which is admission to the Club Level. This is a huge bar area that wraps around the east side of the stands with a decent view of Lake Michigan.

The reason I am bringing up the lack of benefits to paying a PSL is that the Super Bowl is coming up. You would think that the PSL members that paid all of that money (for each seat) would be able to call in a favor. Sorry, Charlie.

I just received my playoff ticket invoice and the method of choosing who and who does not go to the Super Bowl (if the Bears go) is incredibly fair - FOR ME.

For the Super Bowl, here is how the tickets are distributed - there is NO public sale of tickets to the game:
AFC Champion 17.5%
NFC Champion 17.5%
Dolphins 5.0% (3,700 tickets)
Other 29 Teams 34.8%
NFL 25.2%

The stadium holds approximately 75,000. Lets do a little math, then I will explain how the Bears are going to do the ticket raffle.

17.5% of 75000 is 13,125 tickets. It is literally impossible to say how many the Bears will make available to the season ticket holders. I would assume all of the big shots that rent skyboxes and luxury seats will get a pair along with all of the Bears team family members and other important business connections. Mike Tice of the Vikings got famous a while back for scalping many of his allotment of 12 Super Bowl tickets.

I saw that the Seahawks when they went to the super bowl offered 75% of their 17.5% to the season ticket holders, which would equal this year 9,843 tickets. I couldn't find how many the Steelers alloted to their season ticket holders last year but I will assume it is a similar number. Knowing how things in Chicago work, I will round the number of actual tickets DOWN to 9,000. I believe face value on the tickets is about $750 each. By the way, the cheapest tickets available through scalpers for the last Super Bowl was around $2500. If the Bears go to the Super Bowl I predict demand will be so high that you would have no chance on scoring tickets for anything less than $4 grand.

So here is the way the Bears are going to NOT reward their high dollar paying PSL holders. Each seat (or season ticket) gets one "chance" in the lottery for Super Bowl tickets. PSL seats get one "chance" just as I do. The only preference shown is those in the club level, who get two "chances" per seat. As a reference, I used to own a pair of tickets in the upper level of the Jacksonville stadium (don't ask me why). My odds were 20-1 there as the drawing was heavily weighted toward the higher prices PSL and club seats.

Looks like my odds may be better than that 20-1 long shot I had before. More math.

66,000 seats = 66,000 chances for about 9,000 tickets. I think there are about 10,000 club level seats. That adds 10,000 chances (remember they get two chances per ticket) for a total of 76,000 chances for 9,000 tickets. I own four seats or chances. Of course the odds change as the chances are selected - the Bears say that if you are selected for a pair of tickets that your other chances in that account are eliminated at that time so SUPPOSEDLY each season ticket holder would only get one pair of Super Bowl if selected. Geez. That is an equation that I am just not able to do. My calculus is rusty to say the least.

Well, just one more reason to not own a PSL with the Bears - no preferential treatment when it comes to - anything.

ADDED: That equation gets more complex the more I think about it. Not only do the odds change as season ticket holders are eliminated after they get picked, but the odds change each time one pair of tickets is selected. For example if there are 9,ooo tickets available at start and 76,000 chances - after the first selection there would be 8998 tickets available and 75998 chances IF the season ticket holder had only a pair of Bears season tickets. If the season ticket holder held four, it would be 8998 tickets and 75996 chances. I think it may be very well impossible to put odds on this.


Carl from Chicago said...

You may not be able to calculate the exact odds but, in general, the Bears are screwing people who bought PSL's relative to those that don't, for sure.

Also, what the heck does the NFL need all those seats for. They all get scalped, anyways. What a racket...

Dan from Madison said...

I would bet that the NFL actually uses about half of those tix for huge corporate sponsors, politicians where they need new stadiums, etc. The rest, of course you are right, get scalped. Total racket. I bet that many times when hiring that they use those tix as an incentive knowing that it adds an extra $2-$5 grand to anyones salary right off the bat.

Anonymous said...

If the NFL isn't selling the tickets at a profit, then the other guy who gets them is. Why include another middle man?

Dan from Madison said...

Then the NFL should either auction the tickets or price them so high that only the most affluent people can afford them. Keeping the price artificially low does nothing but encourage scalping. It isn't anybodys fault except the NFL that they are leaving money on the table.