Putting Fans in the Seats

Ravens Links Putting Fans in the Seats

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In an effort to fill some of the empty seats that have plagued M&T Bank Stadium over the past several seasons, the Baltimore Ravens are selling single-game tickets when the NFL schedule is released Thursday night, according to a report in The Baltimore Sun.

Prior to this year, the Ravens waited a few months before allowing fans to buy single-game tickets. However, the downturn in attendance has altered that strategy. 

Renewals for season tickets have decreased almost 5 percent, compared to last year, according to the report. The Ravens front office has made filling seats at the stadium a priority this offseason.

“The schedule release always triggers the highest demand for single-game tickets that we see all year, and we decided to give single-game buyers an opportunity to purchase tickets earlier than before,” Ravens senior vice president of ticket sales and operations Baker Koppelman said in an email to fans.

Last year, there were thousands of empty seats at M&T Bank Stadium, most notably in the final two games of the season when the Ravens were pushing for a spot in the playoffs. Many fans expressed some anger over the players taking a knee during the national anthem in London as a form of protest. The Ravens also had a mediocre product on the field, finishing at 9-7 and missing the playoffs for the third consecutive year. 

The team is confident success on the field will lead to a full stadium once again. 

“Let’s get the ticket sold and we’ll plug away at initiatives to get people to show up. Put a product on the field that people are enjoying,” Koppelman told The Sun.

Collins Looks to Build on Breakout Season

Alex Collins has focused this offseason on becoming the Ravens’ “franchise running back,” he told the team’s website

Collins was initially added to the Ravens’ practice squad after being cut by the Seattle Seahawks. He was promoted to the 53-man roster in late September and eventually took over the starting role in Week 6.

Collins finished the season with 973 rushing yards, which ranked 11th in the NFL. He also averaged 4.6 yards per carry, which was the eighth-highest in the league. 

Now, he is ready to carry that momentum into the 2018 season.

“Throw me out into the fire and I’ll show you guys my capabilities,” he told the media earlier this week. “That’s my main focus when I’m out there. Let them know in here now that I can do it, I want to do it, and I can take the load. It’s just as far as if they’re ready for me to do that or not.”

Flacco Not Looking Over His Shoulder

There is much speculation that the Ravens will select a quarterback as a potential heir to Joe Flacco in this year’s NFL Draft.

Flacco, however, is not the least bit worried about the strategy, according to a report by NFL.com

“It is what it is. It’s a business,” Flacco told the media earlier this week. “Eventually, at some point, that’s going to have to happen. It’s not really for me to worry about.”

Flacco has four years remaining on his contract, but the Ravens could release him by 2020 and not be saddled with an exorbitant amount of dead money, according to the report.

Flacco, 33, has dealt with both knee and back injuries over the past three years. He threw for 3,141 yards with 18 touchdowns and 13 interceptions last season. However, Flacco also had a career-low 5.7 yard per attempt average and the Ravens had the league’s 29th-ranked passing attack.

As a result, general manger Ozzie Newsome has prioritized adding playmakers on offense this offseason. The Ravens have already signed receivers John Brown and Michael Crabtree via free agency.

The team is also being closely linked to signing former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant

 

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Todd Karpovich

About Todd Karpovich

Todd Karpovich has been a contributor for ESPN, the Associated Press, SportsXchange, the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets nationwide. He is the co-author of “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Baltimore Ravens Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box,” “Skipper Supreme: Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles,” and the author of “Manchester United (Europe's Best Soccer Clubs).” Karpovich lives in Towson with his wife, Jill, daughters, Wyeth and Marta, and a pair of dogs, Sarah and Rory. More from Todd Karpovich

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