So, this piece by John Bacon that appeared in Yahoo but has been floating around the internet for a while, tells about the cautionary tale of what Michigan Football is currently going against. Wolverine AD Dave Brandon has pissed off the Student Section, while pricing fans out of Michigan Stadium and such.
It's brought up pieces from Sam McKewon at the OWH and Steve Sipple from the LJS about how to fix the situation.
Steve was just telling folks about it, saying it's must read. Sam, however, took a few liberties about how to take care of this situation...
Whenever anybody asks me – as The Bottom Line host Mike'l Severe has several times over the years – what I'd do to maintain the highest fan loyalty, my response is the same: Cut ticket prices. Make it cheaper for families. Gut the parking costs, for goodness sakes; it's a strip of cement with lines on it. Make a little less money, in other words. Make it cheaper for students, and give them better seats, since most of them will not be falling into legacy tickets later in life. Why treat the students better? Well, they only go to the damn school and pay a chunk of tuition to do it. That's their donation to the school – their attendance. Of course they feel entitled; they're paying to be there. Those are the future fans and donors. If you want the students to "earn" the privilege of better seats, expect students to make their schools "earn" their donor dollars and support.
Furthermore, I saw this tweet from John Gaskins of 93.7 The Ticket in Lincoln and wondered where I could start on all of this.
The #Huskers athletic dept better heed Michigan’s arrogance toward fans. Start w lowering ticket & concession prices? http://t.co/IAypGf9CLD— John Gaskins (@937JohnGaskins) June 25, 2014
What if I told you that, outside of the ticket demand, Nebraska's AD has to do nothing that they aren't currently doing to keep things good (outside the on-field product)? Let me explain.
First off, it's not like Memorial Stadium is going to be unsold this year, or next even. If you're talking 3 or so years from now, when age turnover could play a factor, then yes that's when you better have something in mind to help the situation out.
Furthermore, considering that Nebraska has given everyone ample opportunity to get Season Tickets this year, even with zero donations, I don't see an arrogance involved. Speaking of those ticket prices, lets take a look at that, shall we?
Nebraska's cost per seat (not including donation) is $56 per game this year. There's no upsale for the marquee game against Miami, nor super cheap Groupon or LivingSocial experiment for McNeese State or Purdue or such. If you would like to start comparing, I'll go ahead and do the dirty work for you.
Iowa: 7 games for $395. $55 vs. Ball State, $60 vs Northern Iowa, $65 vs. Indiana and Northwestern, $70 vs. Wisconsin, Iowa State and Nebraska.
Wisconsin: 7 games for $315 ($100 discount for getting ST rather than purchasing single game tickets). $45 vs Bowling Green and Western Illinois, $55 vs. USF, $65 for Maryland and Illinois, $70 vs Minnesota, $75 vs Nebraska.
Oklahoma: 6 games for $443. $55 vs. Louisiana Tech, $65 vs. Kansas, $85 vs. Kansas State & Baylor, $105 vs. Tennessee & Oklahoma St.
Texas: 3 tier system, as much as $450 for STH, as less as $330. Games range from $100 each game to $55 for Iowa State for Tier 3. Six home games. (BTW, Red River Rivalry tickets are $110 per ticket for both OU & Texas)
Now granted, I can't honestly look at you and say that the Nebraska Home slate is good this year, cause outside of the Hurricanes, it's not. But, when you look around and see things like Oklahoma getting $100 a seat for the Bedlam game while only getting $65 for the same seat vs. Kansas, that should tell you that Nebraska really does a good job with ticket pricing. Could they go to dynamic pricing in the future? Well yes, but even if that's what the AD wants to do now, this home docket isn't an option.
As far as concessions, I honestly can not see a discussion saying that Memorial Stadium's cost of food is outrageous. From the Illinois 2nd half thread this year, found a pic of some concessions.
I mean, $3 for a bottle of water or soda? Nachos, okay, but Rico's is pretty good man. Runza's are $4 I know, and Vals are $4 a slice. Even if those both go up a buck this season, are you really priced out of it?
So you want to cut those costs? You think those tickets & food costs are too much? I don't, personally. If you cut ticket costs, something has to go up. Seat donations? Advertising? Parking? Concessions? Taking away from one thing means another has to replace it.
Remember, I see folks spending $340/seat, $65/parking spot, $9/Miller Lite and $6/40 ounce Pepsi at ATT Stadium in Arlington for not only regular season NFL games, but preseason ones as well. To be fair, most people wish not to have to buy preseason tickets, but the NFL forces that upon you. So the 4th game in the Preseason when people are going to see exactly one series of the 1's on either team costs you as much as Thanksgiving Afternoon.
Advertising and such are necessary concerns, but at the same time, I'd rather see the WiFi pick up so that, when you're watching McNeese State and such in the stadium, you can use that iPhone and BTN or WatchESPN app to view other games.
There shouldn't even be a worry about the secondary market in a season like this. With the ability for almost anyone to get tickets along with the slate of home games, scalpers are gonna need to worry about PBA tickets to make ends meet this year.
I do get the fight to get people in the gate to watch games. The NFL has fought this and made the same concessions a couple of years ago that schools (like Nebraska) are facing now. Better WiFi. More updating of what's going on across the country. Better ways to get you from the gate to your seat, and your seat to a restroom or concession stand and back.
Michigan's problems started a few years back, but Nebraska's are far smaller. There's is the Student attendance thing, but that's another show. TV moving times affects everyone, even in the NFL, but the age of being able to pay attention to what's going on with your phone and tablet takes care of that.
As I said above, Nebraska's AD should have a way to figure out how to fix the issue of turnover in a few years. But for now, enjoy the ride and realize how good North Stadium is trying to be to the common fan.