"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Carrot... Carrot... STICK STICK STICK
So I get an email from Rivals yesterday with the subject "Valued Member." Bad sign. Usually when someone calls me a Valued Member they're trying to screw me. Uh... in a bad way.
Anyway, the email contains good news:
For one whole year, you now have access to all Ultimate Ticket features (marked with a blue ticket) instead of only Team Ticket access (marked with a red ticket) on the Rivals.com network, all only at the same low price that you pay today.
The catch? Well, you can figure it out, can't you? They've stopped selling team memberships and are now only selling one global Rivals subscription, which will cost as much as the Ultimate Ticket did. And one year from yesterday, I'm going to have to relinquish the same low price that I pay today and pay the different high price I don't pay today because I don't particularly care how North Texas is recruiting. (Clever timing on that--the price increase will hit approximately one week before signing day.)
Rivals has discovered that most people are satisfied with just a Team Ticket. They've failed to up-sell anyone on anything, despite trying very hard. They started producing AMP, basically very nice highlight packages and ESPN-style recruiting reports. They added tons of prospect video for Ultimate Ticket subscribers. Then they made it available to everyone. Then they gave everyone Ultimate Ticket for free, probably because the ratio of Ultimate Ticket to Team Ticket subscribers is really, really low. This is a brute-force approach to increasing revenue.
So is the Wolverine worth 10 dollars a month? Apparently I think it's worth at least 6. But that's going to be a rapid 66% markup... I guess now I can read SpartanMag.com's love letters to Antonio Bass but other than that I'm going to be paying for something I don't want. Bleah. I'm paying for HGTV, Oxygen, and Lifetime, but that doesn't mean I'm happy about it. One interesting thing is that if scout.com doesn't increase its prices, it will actually be cheaper than Rivals, which didn't used to be the case--they're basically $100 a year. Rivals will be $120 instead of the $72 I pay now.
I really, really dislike this change but I'll probably get over it in a year. Evil but effective marketing from Rivals. I hate marketing.