Ticket sales to football games

Yahoo had a link to a new article out today talking about Michigan's ticket sales and the trend that's been hitting the nation. I know TKP had discussed it at one point last year, but the article brings up some good points. It's a little long winded, but covers a few different things.

Article Here

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If the people running college football see their universities as just a brand, and the athletic departments merely a business, they will turn off the very people who've been coming to their temples for decades. Athletic directors need to remember the people in the stands are not customers. They're believers. Break faith with your flock, and you will not get them back with fancier wine.

If you treat your fans like customers long enough, eventually they'll start behaving that way, reducing their irrational love for their team to a cool-headed, dollars-and-cents decision to buy tickets or not, with no more emotional investment than deciding whether to go to the movies or buy new tires.

THAT... THAT RIGHT THERE. This statement perfectly captured what my absolute #1 biggest complaint about Jim Weaver was. He was a penny pincher that viewed the Virginia Tech fan base as business customers, and didn't care for long standing 'traditions' that rubbed his high dollar customers wrong. I never truly felt like the fan base as a whole mattered to him. We were an annoyance that got in the way of his dollars and cents day to day activity. And the students were the customers he cared the absolute least about, shoving them into the worst seats in football and basketball to allow for the high dollar customers to get theirs. I always felt like the 2000s were a slow devolve from a rabid fanbase to a corporate entity, and the result is the apathetic, bland stadium experience we have now. And the statement is true, at least for me. The erosion of the gameday experience in Lane is the biggest reason I'd rather sit with a bunch of Hokies in a bar watching the games rather than trying to make it up to Blacksburg every weekend. I just end up having a better time at the bar.

"Does it get any better than Thursday Night in Blacksburg?" - Reece Davis
"People who like to brag about how smart they are, are never as smart as they claim." - Colin Cowherd

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” - David Wilson

"We are better than we think, but not quite what we want to be" - Nikki Giovanni

http://www.brinkleys.org/users/tsl/Files/Whitnesses.png

"Does it get any better than Thursday Night in Blacksburg?" - Reece Davis
"People who like to brag about how smart they are, are never as smart as they claim." - Colin Cowherd

Too legit to Whit

@VTimHokie85

and you don't have to sneak in booze!!! You can just reach across the bar and pour your own drink...

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

I've tried that before. Let me tell you, that cute bartender did not like me as much as she let on.

Perhaps because it wasn't her lemons you were squeezing...

I liked the article a lot, but I take exception with a contradiction:

If the people running college football see their universities as just a brand, and the athletic departments merely a business, they will turn off the very people who've been coming to their temples for decades.

If you treat your fans like customers long enough, eventually they'll start behaving that way, reducing their irrational love for their team to a cool-headed, dollars-and-cents decision to buy tickets or not, with no more emotional investment than deciding whether to go to the movies or buy new tires.

If the desire is to achieve 'irrational love for their team,' then you WANT to have a strong brand identity. By definition, the brand creates the 'emotional investment' that does an end-around on rational, reasoned, cost/benefits decision making.

Alumni associate their university experience with fond, positive memories and that emotional connection is the foundation upon which ongoing fan involvement is built. I certainly wouldn't be a Golden Hokie with season tickets if I didn't have the emotional connection.

Reality has a mighty pimp hand.

I've been to 1 NFL game in my life. It was at Jack Murphy Stadium in 1984.
That was only because I was part of the halftime show.
Last Pro baseball game I attended was in the 90's, a farm team in Norfolk.
Attended hockey once or twice at Norfolk.
Never attended any other kind of pro game other than baseball and the 1 football and hockey.

I have season tickets to Lane.
I've been fans of numerous club teams and college.
For many of the reasons listed in the article.

Danny caught that ball.

Friends don't let 5 star friends commit to UVA.

I have inside info. - Whit

High definition TV and cell phones are not the only reasons ticket sale is down at Michigan. The team is not what it used to be and seat prices have increased too much for the average student who can watch the game at a bar, in dorm, or at home.

Even if the team were playing at a high level, jacking up the price of tickets like they did is squeezing out the student body. The students already pay an arm and a leg to attend the university, and if they're anything like Tech, a portion of this absurdly high tuition already goes to the Athletic Department. A lot of these kids are racking up 6 figure debt by simply going to college, some of this money is already going to paying the Athletic Department, and then the school has the audacity to turn around and try to charge them ~$300 per year for the right to attend football games? I mean, lets not mention these kids, on top of tuition, have to cover the cost of food, textbooks, and if they live off-campus, the cost of rent and parking/transportation. For a college kid, $300 of disposable income is A LOT of money, and the school is charging them that price just to attend 7 football games in the fall. Oh, did you want to attend basketball games as well? Might as well jack up that price to $500-$600.

I don't blame the students for giving the school a collective middle-finger and to stop attending.

"Does it get any better than Thursday Night in Blacksburg?" - Reece Davis
"People who like to brag about how smart they are, are never as smart as they claim." - Colin Cowherd

The fallacy in that argument is to presume that students are being overcharged by paying X amount for athletic fees. To falsely pretend that the student themselves are paying the $300 (or whatever) amountis pretty naive. The parents pay the amount and the student never feels nor understands the amount paid. I often heard the ridiculous claim that students couldn't attend bball games if they didn't 'win' the lottery because it might cost them $5 per ticket to do so if they actually manned up & bought a ticket outside the Coliseum. As if that $5 were the difference in their being able to eat 21 meals a week. In actuality, the $5 was (approx) the price of a pitcher of beer for their midweek adventures downtown. Understanding of course that the $5 was not the extent, but rather only a small portion of their expense. Bottom line, to pretend that a student - the average student - is unable to absorb the cost of attending any football or basketball game while in school is extremely myopic.

holly sheiiittt....

Myopic- lacking imagination, foresight, or intellectual insight.

if anyone needs clarification, I wasn't ready for these big words this early in the am and neither was UNC

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

....wow....

So students should just shut up and take the price gouging (yes, when they're forcing you to pay extra to attend something you're ALREADY paying for as part of tuition, thats a price gouge) for tickets because, for some of them, mommy and daddy can afford to cover the costs, ignoring the fact that, in a vast, vast majority of the cases, the cost of tuition (which, at even the cheapest of schools can be $4k per semester) actually covers an athletic fee that already pays the Athletic Department?

Seriously, this might be the first time I've ever heard the argument "oh, college students have plenty of money, so they can afford this cost".

"Does it get any better than Thursday Night in Blacksburg?" - Reece Davis
"People who like to brag about how smart they are, are never as smart as they claim." - Colin Cowherd

Way to knee jerk and totally ignore the reality. Do you want to still pretend Tech students are charged huge amounts for athletic events, or do you want to be real? As I said above - the students who 'lose out' on the lottery are very capable of walking across the street to accept free tickets to basketball/football games, or even having to pay the 'outrageous' prices of $5 a ticket for the games. Compare this with the amount of money the students spend in an average week in downtown Bburg? Can we be realistic, or do you prefer to exist in FairyTaleLand? Tech students are charged modest fees for athletic events, and their access to those events outside of those fees is extremely cheap. When you falsely pretend otherwise, you are simply ignoring truth and obfuscating the actual situation, which is lack of desire by some students to attend games. It is what it is. To pretend otherwise is to lie about the truth of the matter.

I wasn't going to bother responding to your first post but I will now.

I knew plenty... and I mean many... students that went to Tech who didn't ever go downtown or really anywhere that they'd have to spend money because they COULDN'T. They had zero money. If they hadn't paid for a meal plan, which was all the money they had basically, they wouldn't eat. Someone I'm very close to is racking up tens of thousands of dollars of debt every single semester. You think you know the situations those people are in but I really would have to disagree with you there.

Even still, I don't think I've ever seen a $5 football ticket unless it was for someone like Austin Peay. Even then I'm not sure I've seen it. How is that realistic?

Furthermore, what's with this confrontational attitude?

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

I was pretty broke as a student at Tech. But I was happy every time the team won .

Even still, I don't think I've ever seen a $5 football ticket unless it was for someone like Austin Peay. Even then I'm not sure I've seen it. How is that realistic?

Thats because they don't exist, unless you scalp one after kickoff.

When I was at Tech (albeit 10 years ago) you had 2 options. You could either enter the lottery every week and take your chances (for football, you'd probably miss 2 games a year this way... for basketball you might have been able to attend 2 games a year) or you could purchase a season ticket plan, with tickets that were slightly reduced from the face value donors would pay (after donation to be eligible). Generally speaking, the season ticket package would run about $260 for 6 games for football (I don't know the cost for basketball, cause I could never afford it after shelling out the money for football season tickets). As for the just showing up and picking up a ticket at the gate if you missed out on the lottery... That wasn't an option when I was there, and from what I understand is still a very new but very flawed process in basketball right now.

"Does it get any better than Thursday Night in Blacksburg?" - Reece Davis
"People who like to brag about how smart they are, are never as smart as they claim." - Colin Cowherd

Wow. 260 for student football season tickets. They are only 70-80 right now depending on the amount of home games. I think face value is 12 dollars per ticket.

Edit: Unless you're including the athletic fee then it would be about 300 more.

"Facyson is a baller."
-CFB

Calm down, sport.

First of all, you can use as many big words as you want, it doesn't mean your argument is based in facts. You're using VT sports as a complete straw-man here. First of all, we're not talking about VT sports. We're talking about Michigan, and in the article it explicitly states

But Brandon did away with that last year, with a new student seating seating policy. Instead of seating the students by class -- with the freshmen in the end zone and the seniors toward the 50, as Michigan had done for decades -- last year it was first come, first served. If you wanted to sit together, you had to walk in together. (They also raised the price from $195 for six games in 2013 to $295 for seven games.)

Now, mind you, this doesn't say its $295 for season tickets... No, thats $295 to have the right to attend Michigan football games. You don't pay, you don't go. I was saying that, should VT have attempted something so absolutely asinine as that, I'd be completely outraged, and justifiably so. Thankfully, at Michigan, it appears that the cost of tuition (which is already $40k per year) does not go towards athletics at all. (But at the same time, I still think its a bad idea to charge current students to attend any sport event at their own school when they're already paying thousands upon thousands otherwise to be there).

"Does it get any better than Thursday Night in Blacksburg?" - Reece Davis
"People who like to brag about how smart they are, are never as smart as they claim." - Colin Cowherd

Let's say 20% of students are very into football, hardcore fans who buy jerseys and know the players and things like that. If the other 80% is also being charged ~$300 in AD fees and falls under one or more of a) doesn't really care about sports b) does not have disposable income or c) wants to watch on tv because it's free and convenient, I'd say a decent amount of people would look to attend if the games were free than before. I'd even bet it's more the principle of not wanting to be charged when they don't have to be than the amount of the ticket. Other schools have a free 'first come first serve' policy which is great for them, but I'm not sure if I want Tech to do that. There will always be students who don't want to go to games, which is perfectly fine. But stop using the logic that students are going downtown and making it rain as an excuse to basically double charge students. And stop being a condescending ass.

Nailed it.

Yes, the college experience wasn't free, but it was paid for in the form of tuition that helped subsidize the cost of extracurricular activities and events. Most of us had a loan to cover these costs.

Myself and most of my friends had very limited cash funds to pay for anything else beyond our rent and books.
A weekend of splurge spending would be 5 dollars for my share of the keg and 10 dollars to order pizza or jimmy johns. I probably filled up my gas tank 2 or 3 times a semester. That would be my total budget.

There would have been no leftover 300 dollars (what is the idiot at Michigan thinking??) to pay for football tickets - and I'm a hardcore fan. Myself and the other hardcore fans would probably figure out a way to get to every home game at reduced costs - but it would be a huge pain in the ___. The ones who care less about football wont bother and will stay home or just hangout at the tailgate. The thing is, I enjoyed going to games with the less hardcore fans just as much as the ones who lived and died VT football - so not having those friends attend games would make the experience less enjoyable.

"Can we be realistic, or do you prefer to exist in FairyTaleLand?"

FairyTaleLand? Is that the mythical place where football tickets only cost $5?

"you are simply ignoring truth and obfuscating the actual situation"

This seems like a pretty accurate description of about 90% of your posts. To pretend like every student has his/her tuition, room, board, and athletic fees paid for by mommy and daddy is either naive or purposely thick-headed. I, like the majority of students who attend college, paid for my education through student loans. I ended up paying for my room, board, tutition, and fees plus interest. I rarely went downtown, because I did not have the money to do so. I worked a part-time job while in school and a full-time job during summer and holiday breaks to save up money for food, rent, utilities, and the occasional purchase of alcohol. Maybe your mommy and daddy paid your way, or you just think all colleges kids have it that easy. Maybe you never even attended college so you do not know how students actually live. Heck, maybe you are just a townie that hates VT students. Whatever the case, you are wrong. But please continue to interject your vitriol and erroneous assumptions into every single post on here without bothering to back them up with any shred of evidence.

Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.

Just to jump in, student season tickets for this past season were 90ish dollars for 7 home games, its basically a bar gin. Basketball has been more expensive just because of the higher quantity of games. Its definitely affordable for most students.

When I graduated (a year ago), I believe student season tickets cost $12/game + processing fees. That's reasonable IMO. I also go season tickets to basketball for around $70 my freshman year (~$6/game). Also fair IMO.

I do not recall what the athletic fee was but I think it was $60ish/semester (I co-op'ed a semester, pretty sure I payed $50 tuition + $60 athletic fee, but whatever) - this included my ability to go to games, enter season ticket lotteries, uses the campus gyms, play intramural/club sports (did not cover entry fee, just allowed me to enter), etc. I do think that ~$200 to use the gyms and get season tix to Basketball and Football is fair, but I'm not sure that still is/was the actual price. Even if it is, that is absolutely an amount of money that warrants a cost/benefit analysis. Even now, being successfully employed and well compensated, $200 is not a small enough amount that I ignore it as it leaves my possession.

Also, I did buy a student ticket at "market value" once freshman year - it was $75. That, for a student, is unfair IMO. Not to get further off topic, but PSA to all students - if you can't make a game, and you're selling to a student, always sell it a face value. Don't be a douche. If it's an employed alumni, then it's morally acceptable to try to make a buck. Just my $0.02.

Twitter me

Last fall the athletic fee was $136.50. The tickets cost $92 after processing for this upcoming year. This year that means the total is $224.50 if the athletic fee is the same.
And some students are jerks when they sell their tickets at marked up values. It's really frustrating when you're trying to get a friend into a big game and people are selling the tickets at a profit.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

I think I might actually agree with your larger point...I think most students can afford to pay the student prices to attend football and basketball games.

But, as a personal anecdote, my first year at Tech, I wasn't eligible to buy season tickets at student prices and had to rely on the lottery. I didn't get a ticket to the first game, I looked around the stadium and asked everyone at the tailgate I was at, and there were no free or $5 tickets to be found. I finally found a ticket, but I paid $50 for it.

Also, as a student who has lived extremely frugally for 6 years, held summer jobs and worked at Taco Bell during the school year, and is about to graduate with about $30k of student loan dept, the comment about parents is equal parts laughable and insulting.

Not the bagman VT deserves, but the bagman VT needs right now.

Also, as a student who has lived extremely frugally for 6 years, held summer jobs and worked at Taco Bell during the school year, and is about to graduate with about $30k of student loan dept, the comment about parents is equal parts laughable and insulting.

So many great comments in reply to this post. this one hits home for me most though.

My parents payed zero dollars for my time at VT. I was lucky to get a car for high school graduation that could travel across country and they got that car next to free from my mom's company. I had scholarship, grants, student aid, money from grandparents and I sill worked 2 - 3 jobs a semester while taking a full course load to finish in 4 years. You're kidding yourself if you think students are living the same way you're describing. I'm happy your family was wealthy enough for this not to be an issue for you personally but for those of us not in that position having access to the things our tuition is meant to pay for is critical. I would add "benighted, insentient and obtuse" to what petebuddywilson finished with.

Also I can sit/stand in my living room butt naked and yell at my 75" LED (Its like I'm there) TV and take multiple shots of whiskey and no one will judge me!!

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

No one wants to picture you naked but 75' LED? Thats huge.

Its wall mounted for optimal safety during games! Yeah it was a huge upgrade but needed since I can't be in Blacksburg for the games might as well feel like Blacksburg during the games!

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

“When life knocks you down plan to land on your back, because if you can look up, you can get up, if you fall flat on your face it can kill your spirit” - David Wilson

"We are better than we think, but not quite what we want to be" - Nikki Giovanni

Ohh man I just re-read all of these comments and decided to forget I was talking about a TV and WOW.. (walks out)

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

Not just 75, but 75' (feet). He must have the Jumbotron in his house!

lol

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

Couldn't help it. Although I do like the idea of having my own personal Jumbotron...

fat fingers.. urgghhh

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

well no one was judging you before...

I can't believe you have enough wall space for a 75' TV. I mean 75' that's like 7 stories tall!

it's the Bucky Hodges model ... a necessity for any true VT fan

Sidenote: some of those UM chicks are pretty hot.

True Hokies STICK IT IN!!!

STICK IT IN Army of Virginia Tech

Fosterball

I know I'd like to see the numbers for some of the major schools and their venues to see the downward trend, and if there are schools that buck the trend.

I can see a huge argument that all of these are contributing factors, but what was said by the first response, students are seemingly less interested in school spirit as a whole. Whether it be less indoctrination, or less sense of community, or more of students as seeing college as a means to an end, it's beginning to seem like people just don't care about their schools.

I wonder what that 75' sounds like when the volume is turned all the way up. Must wake up the whole town.

I don't listen to the commentators during Hokie games, 98% of them have no clue about VT football for all they care we are a team full of walk ons and TE's that play QB. I listen to the radio call of the game, much better and informative.

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

My only issue with that is the time lag issue when watching away games. Roth makes the call and the TV follows 2-3 seconds later.

I don't mind that it gives me more time to look in that area of field/whats going on and see how/why that happened.

Lets say Roth is calling the game" Byrn's is Byrning down the sideline and Brewer spots him wide open and throws it deep. I can find Byrn and go dayumm thats a sexy *** ball Brewer just threw to a wide open Byrn for the 40 yard TD vs anOSU

Golf Clap ensues along with a Lets GOOOO... (runs to other side of house) HOOOKIESSSS

"I'm high on Juice and ready to stick it in!" Whit Babcock

My main takeaway from the article was that Michigan hired the former CEO of Domino's Pizza to be their Athletic Director. What? Because being the Athletic Department of a large university is just like running a chain pizza company (whose stock happened to drop quite significantly under his tenure)? Was Ronald McDonald unavailable? Now they are wondering why things are taking a downturn. Really?

As outlined in the article, just about every one of his quotes comes off as completely tone-deaf. I am even more grateful that we picked up Whit for our AD. Look how much worse it could have been.

Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.

 Michael meets Charles Miner

Someone is doing it right.

Sh!t I forgot to respond to the student ticket email.

Oh well, if I went to all the PSU home games I'd miss a bunch of VT games.

Actually I think I'm good.