For the past several years, your Houston Texans opened a handful of training camp practices for fans to attend. The free tickets generally were gobbled up in a matter of minutes and often provided many fans with their only opportunity to watch the Texans in person. Tickets to NFL games aren’t cheap, and being in the same general vicinity as athletic marvels like Andre Johnson, Arian Foster, J.J. Watt, and DeAndre Hopkins isn’t something that happens every day.
With training camps opening later this month, I was waiting to see whether the Texans would open any training camp sessions to the public this year or if COVID-19 concerns would prevent that from happening for a second consecutive years. Well, good news...the Texans have announced that they will once again allow fans to watch the team practice.
The Texans’ first training camp practice will be July 28 in Houston.— Sarah Barshop (@sarahbarshop) July 14, 2021
Five practices (Aug. 2, 3, 6, 7 and 9) will be open to the public.
But “open to the public” isn’t entirely accurate, at least not in the sense that past training camp practices were open to the public. What the Texans really mean is that those five selected practices will be open to only season ticket holders this year.
#Texans announce training camp schedule with some major changes regarding fans:— Vanessa Richardson (@SportsVanessa) July 14, 2021
“New this year, public practices will be open exclusively to Season Ticket Members as a benefit for their support of the Houston Texans.”
You’d think an organization that has been absolutely pilloried for the way they’ve been run for the past several months would welcome anyone who wanted to spend time watching their product. Instead, the team opted to create a perk for season ticket holders. Is the thought that this will somehow stem the tide of non-renewals and “Thanks, I’m good” the team has resoundingly heard this offseason? Because I don’t see someone who was debating whether to spring for season tickets citing this policy as the thing that made him or her take the plunge. Perhaps the Texans think this will make existing season ticket holders feel special. Hard to see that resonating either, though.
So why would the Texans choose to reverse course and eliminate the opportunity for a large section of their fans to watch the team? Doesn’t it seem more likely—admittedly, not much more likely, given what’s expected to be a very bad football team—that a fan who doesn’t have season tickets might attend a practice, see something he likes, and decide to jump on board?