NFL

Cancer-stricken family opens up about Broncos revoking season tickets

Eric Siegler, Sports Authority, Broncos
Rachel Wold
Written by Rachel Wold

In March, the Denver Broncos revoked 144 season-ticket holder licenses for those folks who did not attend a single game in 2016, and instead sold their tickets. Recently, Sportsnaut covered one family’s story about a season-ticket holder who could not attend any games in 2016 due to a health crisis. Eric Siegler and his wife, whose mother was dying of lung cancer, sold his tickets while they dealt with the crisis.

As a result, his season-ticket license for 2017 was revoked.

After seeing our initial story, which was a cursory look at what happened to the Siegler family, Eric reached out to Sportsnaut to see if we were interested in doing a more in-depth column on what happened. Of course we said yes.

Siegler has been a devoted Broncos fan for 43 years and a season-ticket holder since 1996.

“I sold my tickets in 2016 in order to provide emotional and physical support to my cancer-stricken mother-in-law in Minnesota.  She was given a ‘2 to 6 months to live’ diagnosis due to lung cancer.  My wife pretty much dropped everything and moved in with her mom for what turned out to be 4 months.  I traveled back and forth as much as I could.”

“The Broncos never stated that there was a minimum number of games that a season ticket holder must attend.  Had I know that was the case, I certainly would have acted accordingly.  (I can’t say if that means that I would have attended a game in 2016; probably not given the circumstances.  At least then I would have known what the “rules” were.)”

Unfortunately, Siegler’s mother-in-law eventually lost her battle with cancer.

Siegler’s inability to attend last year’s games was due to extreme hardship. Football naturally took a backseat.

Siegler mentioned that he sold his tickets, and he pointed out to us that he was diligent enough to do so using Ticket Exchange. This allows the Broncos to still profit from the sales, according to Siegler. The Broncos encourage this method, should individuals need to sell tickets. Siegler said if he used Craiglist or Stub Hub to resell, the Broncos wouldn’t have known that he didn’t use his tickets.

It’s plain he was trying to do the right thing.

Then thunder struck.

Siegler was notified on March 10, 2017, via email, that he would not be permitted to renew his season tickets for 2017. The email came two minutes after the ticket office closed for that weekend, per Siegler.

He provided Sportsnaut with the email he received.

Thank you for your support of the Denver Broncos and your interest in renewing season tickets. As you are aware and as stated in our season ticket agreement, Broncos season tickets are revocable licenses granted on a yearly basis at the sole discretion of the club. Therefore, the purchase of previous season tickets does not guarantee the ability to secure future season tickets.

After careful review and consideration of your account activity, we have determined that you did not personally use your tickets for even a single game in 2016. As a result, we regretfully inform you that your season ticket license will not be renewed.

Thank you again for your support of the Denver Broncos.

Sincerely,

Denver Broncos Football Club

On Monday, March 13, 2017 Siegler called the ticket office and was told that he should submit written information to state his case as to why his season tickets for 2017 should not be revoked.

This is the very detailed letter Siegler sent to the Broncos.

Hello,

I am writing in response to the email that I received from your office on Friday March 10 in which you informed me that my season ticket license will not be renewed in 2017.  For the reasons stated below, I ask that you reverse this decision.

I have been a Denver Broncos season ticket holder (Account # ********) since 1996.  I have attended games every year since then except for the 2016 season.  Last year was a very difficult year for my family.  My wife’s mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer early in the year.  My wife and I made numerous trips to Minnesota to spend extended time with my mother-in-law throughout the year.  Sadly, she passed away.  So as much as I love the Denver Broncos, football took a back seat to my family’s situation.  I hope that you now understand why I did not attend any games in 2016 and that you reverse your decision to not renew my season ticket license in 2017.

I became a Broncos fan on November 28, 1974.   That might seem to be a very specific date, but let me explain…  I was a 12-year old kid living in New York and my family went to my aunt and uncle’s house for Thanksgiving.  I was watching football on TV for the first time and the Detroit Lions were hosting the Denver Broncos in the traditional Thanksgiving Day game.  Without having a reason one way or another, I chose to root for the Broncos that day.  Well, Denver won the game and my passion for the Broncos was born.  Moses, Odoms, Keyworth, Armstrong, Little, Alzado, Chavous, Gradishar – they all became my idols.  I was the only Broncos fan in a school of Jets and Giants fans.  I was ecstatic when the Orange Crush defense led the Broncos to their first AFC Championship and crestfallen when they lost in their first Super Bowl appearance against Dallas.

I have seen some amazing games in Denver.  I saw Kansas City leading 19-6 late in the 4th quarter when John Elway threw two touchdowns to pull out a 20-19 win.  I saw Mark Brunell and the Jaguars shock the Broncos in the playoffs.  I saw the last game at Mile High Stadium and the first game at Invesco Field at Mile High.  (By the way, that game was on September 10, 2001 against the New York Giants.  John Elway had his name added to the Ring of Fame and Ed McCaffrey broke his leg.  The next day was 9/11.  Feels like yesterday.)  I saw Jason Elam kick a 63-yard field goal.  I saw Peyton Manning break Brett Favre’s career touchdown record.  I saw the Broncos beat up on Tom Brady to advance to Super Bowl 48.  And two weeks after that, I saw the Broncos go down to defeat against the Seahawks at the Meadowlands.  (That was a painful game to see in person, but I had an incredible time in New York City just the same.)  And there are many many more games that I have attended that stand out in my mind for one reason or another.

I have traveled thousands of miles to see the Broncos play.  I saw them in Philadelphia (they whooped Buddy Ryan’s defense), New York (a tough overtime loss to the Jets), New England (it was Drew Bledsoe’s team back then), Miami (the most annoying fans in the NFL), Minnesota (multiple times, including the Elway-to-McCaffrey ricochet touchdown on the game’s last drive and most recently when Tim Tebow led the Broncos to a wild 35-32 win), and Chicago (Brock Osweiler’s first career start on a frigid November day).

I have provided this information to give you an idea of how the Denver Broncos are an indelible part of my life.  One season of missed games due to a family tragedy does not diminish that.  Again, please reconsider your decision to not renew my 2017 season tickets.

Sincerely,

Eric Siegler

Siegler also asked several friends and family members submit testimonials to the Broncos organization to further plead his case. He provided Sportsnaut with eight detailed testimonials asking the Broncos to reverse their decision.

In the end, it seems all of Siegler’s pleas fell on deaf ears.

The Broncos finally got back with Siegler on April 27, 2017 with this brief and very impersonal response.

The Denver Broncos have completed the review of your inquiry regarding the non-renewal of your season ticket license.

After thoroughly considering your previous account activity as well as any documentation you may have provided, we regretfully inform you that our decision has not changed and your license will not be renewed.

This determination is final and not subject to any further review.

Thank you,

Denver Broncos Football Club

Obviously, this was extremely disappointing, and bitter, news for the Siegler family.

Siegler said he is able to try to obtain season tickets for 2018. But he now has to join a waiting list that consists of 75,000 others who also wish to purchase season tickets. He doesn’t envision moving to the top of the list based on what has transpired.

It appears that the Broncos see things here as either black or white. There is no gray area. One must wonder exactly what type of extenuating circumstance if any, would get the organization to change its mind on an any appeal.

It’s also worth mentioning that, in the past, Siegler has donated some of his season tickets to charity when he was unable to attend games. He told us that he has donated to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Colorado, the Ronald McDonald House of Denver and Fort Carson, which houses military personnel and their families in the Colorado Springs area.

All the evidence tells us Siegler is not somebody just hunting for personal monetary gain.

We asked Siegler how he feels as a Broncos fan taking into consideration this unfortunate turn of events.

“I always cheered on the Broncos, whether they were 13-3 or 3-13. I can continue to support the team on the field, of course, and watch on TV or go to a game. (There is nothing better than sitting in the stands with 75,000 other orange-clad fans, all yelling at the top of our lungs.) However, that doesn’t seem right to me right now. Perhaps I will feel differently in the fall. If the last couple of months have felt like a separation, the recent decision from the Broncos feels like a divorce. To put a twist on the classic Groucho Marx line, I don’t want to belong to a club that won’t have me as a member.”

The whole thing is just very unfortunate, especially after Siegler went to such extensive lengths to appeal the revocation.

Not everything is black and white in life. The Broncos, unfortunately in this situation, are sticking to a zero-tolerance policy. They also have soured what was a tremendous relationship with a completely devoted fan who may not ever step back into the Broncos stadium again.

Note: Sportsnaut reached out to Broncos VP of public relations Patrick Smyth for a comment. At the time of this article’s publication, the organization had not yet responded to a request for a comment on the situation.

About the author

Rachel Wold

Rachel Wold

Rachel is a football lover of both the NFL and Fantasy and creator of Fantasyfootballchick.com. When she is not vacationing in Miami or Vegas, she is an NFL writer at Sportsnaut and a fantasy contributor at eDraft.com. Rachel's articles are also featured on Yardbarker, MSN and Fox Sports.

Follow Rachel on Twitter @liveocgirl and chat with her anytime!