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Colts struggling to sell tickets

Houston Texans v Indianapolis Colts

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 22: A Indianapolis Colts fans shows her support during the NFL against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 22, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

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At the box office in Indianapolis, the future promise of Andrew Luck is not enough to overcome the departure of Peyton Manning and the stench of a terrible 2011 season.

For the first time in a decade, Colts season tickets are available, as thousands of people who had season tickets last year decided not to renew this year. Colts Chief Operating Officer Pete Ward told the Indianapolis Star about 4,000 season tickets will go on sale, and that it’s not particularly surprising given what happened last year.

It’s not unexpected considering the things that have transpired, [the team] going 2-14 and the departure of Peyton,” Ward said. “In all honesty, we thought the economy would have affected us more than it has to this point, and then there’s the fact we’re one of the NFL’s smaller markets.”

In Manning’s prime years, the Colts had a season-ticket waiting list of about 10,000 people, and that list hardly ever moved because season-ticket holders almost always renewed. This year about 13 percent of last year’s season-ticket holders decided not to come back.

If Luck (assuming he’s the first overall pick) gets off to a hot start as a rookie quarterback, the Colts should be able to continue their current sellout streak, which goes back 79 games to 2003. But if the Colts are as bad this year as they were last year, TV blackouts could be coming in Indianapolis.