In 2012, 51.7% of undergraduate students applied for need based aid. Of that 51.7%, 78.8% had their need fully met by the University:
This doesn't include merit based aid.
If you aren't already, get used to this, and I wouldn't blame the students.
In news that will come as a shock to many, charging students $295 for a home schedule in which the best game is against Penn State and the race for second is between Indiana, Minnesota, and Maryland doesn't go so well—especially a year removed from alienating much of the student fanbase with an unpopular, poorly implemented, and subsequently scrapped general admissions plan.
The deadline for renewing student tickets came and went on Tuesday, and in years past there's never, to my knowledge, been a need to extend the deadline. Student/poster bdsisme noted an email went out today urging some students to renew their tickets for the fifth time—in the three years prior, according to him, there'd been just four combined emails of that nature, which is consistent with how it was when I was in school ('06-'10)—and offering an extension to "Michigan Football SuperFans":
Thank you for being a Michigan Football SuperFan! According to our scanned data, you attended 5 or more home football games on-time last season (prior to or at kickoff). As a result, you have been granted SuperFan priority for the 2014 season.
Earlier this week (Tuesday, April 15) was the deadline to renew your season tickets for the 2014 season. However, since you have proven your loyalty this past season, we would like to offer a one-time extension of the season ticket renewal deadline in order for you to continue your devotion as a Michigan Football Superfan.
We know you are busy closing out the Spring semester and may have questions regarding the new seating policy for the 2014 season. By extending the renewal deadline to Friday, April 25, we hope you are now able to guarantee your seat as a Michigan Football Student Season Ticket Holder.
How magnanimous of them.
In 2012, 51.7% of undergraduate students applied for need based aid. Of that 51.7%, 78.8% had their need fully met by the University:
This doesn't include merit based aid.
Honest question -- doesn't "need-based self-help aid" just mean the students were offered loans?
Dave Brandon's cluelessness starts with thinking he's some kind of marketing whiz. He isn't.
He's got one of the most intelligent student bodies in the conference, and he sends out "Superfan" emails? Really? He couldn't come up with anything less juvenile, or less obvious, with that marketing brain trust he hired?
What he imagines people want, and what people actually want, are two different things.
Brandon imagined that Michigan fans were hungry to see Michigan get revenge on App State. Well, seven years has passed, and no one really cares. Brandon imagined that we'd love traveling to Dallas to get our butts handed to us at Jerryworld. He imagined that students would come out in droves to get first come, first served seating. He imagined that playing MSU away two years in a row wouldn't be a problem, and that a year without either MSU or OSU on the schedule wouldn't hurt attendance. He imagined that Brady Hoke would be a Bo-like hire, despite all evidence to the contrary that was there for anyone to see based on the man's win/loss record.
"“I have a little experience in branding,” he boasted to reporters the other day in Detroit. “In the world of branding, you build what’s called brand equity. If you look at the Big Ten, you have brand equity that’s built over decades and decades and decades."
Funny thing about branding, Brandon, it's very easy to devalue the brand with foolish shenanigans. It can happen quickly when execs become arrogant and think they know better what their customers want than the customers do. That's what happened, for example, with the US car companies who felt that they could always dictate to their customers, instead of listen to them.
2014 will showcase a team struggling to regain its lost footing, with a relatively boring schedule, and a disinterested and somewhat alienated student fan base that is being overcharged for the experience. No wonder there will be empty seats.
And this has nothing to do with Brandon, since the decision was made before his turn at the helm, but why does a public university that is supposed to be a symbol of equal opportunity, collegiality, and whatever else all that entails, have a stadium with enormously expensive luxury boxes at all? How does that jibe with the university's mission?
Having been in luxury boxes for professional functions on many occasions (though not at UM), I can say that it's the absolute worst way to see a football game, and I'm willing to bet that unlike the rest of the stadium, the luxury boxes aren't "dry" and that alchohol is served freely. What the elitiists prohibit for the masses and the great unwashed student body they liberally consume for themselves.
The amount they charge for student tickets is bullshit. With the amount that they are paying to go to school there, the tickets should be no where near that expensive. At Alabama, the student tickets are $10 a game. At South Carolina, the school lets the students in for free on a firs come, first serve basis. Say what you will about the SEC, but at least those schools treat their students with a minimal level of decency.
In response to a number of comments saying scheduling Appy State was a bad "business decision". I disagree.
IIRC the reason Appy State was scheduled a few years ago was because they were willing to come to the Big House for only $400,000 (far less than any Div 1 team). That came out to less than $4 per ticket. Michigan got to pocket the rest. The cash registers were humming.
It seems to me this all comes down to fan vs. consumers. Fans support the team unquestioningly, consumers make rational decisions. By exploiting fans' loyalty with continuously rising prices and a declining product, the AD is forcing more fans to think like consumers.
I do not think that students should have to pay that much. And strength of home schedule is not too bad for this year. Like it or not, a lot of those games will be competitive. I for one still want to watch these young men grow, even if we turn out not to be championship caliber this year
Just some numbers to consider:
In 1980, 6 games, student tickets were $8 a game, so a $48 package. Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI inflation index, that comes out to $135 in 2014 money (purchasing power parity.), or $22.60 a game
In 1998, 6 games (including Syracuse and Notre Dame and Michigan State), student tickets were $14.15 a game, so an $85 package. Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI inflation index, that comes out to $121.38 in 2014 money (purchasing power parity.), or $20.23 a game.
In 2006, coming off the "worst" Michigan season since 1984, 7 games, student tickets were $22.42 a game, so a $157 package. Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI inflation index, that comes out to $181 in 2014 money (purchasing power parity.), or $25.90 a game
In 2011, 8 games, student tickets were $30 a game, so a $240 package. Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI inflation index, that comes out to $248.36 in 2014 money (purchasing power parity.), or $31.05 a game
In 2014, with the "worst" Michigan home schedule in recorded history, 7 games, student tickets are $42.14 a game, so a $295 package.
So yeah, maybe, just maybe, the spike has been a bit rapid.
Great info, Yostal. It'd be interesting to see the same breakdown with regular ticket-holders. I suspect the price spike has been even more pronounced.
I actually have more data on that end. Will post when I get a chance.
There is clearly a problem with the stadium not filling up. It is much more recognizable in the student section. Michigan had a problem with attendance and Canham did quite a bit of interesting things to fix it while Bo certaintly helped. In the discussion of student attendence there seems to be a few sticking points, but I think everything should be on the table.
Revenue loss needs to be considered as an option to fill up the stadium. This may be some sort of combination of lowering student ticket prices or offering "_____ days" in which a certain group of people can get into the stadium at a reduced cost. I would be partial to young families or youth groups or something like that to get a younger generation more exposure. If revenue goes down in the short term to increase attendence in the long term, it needs to be considered.
Reducing student ticket allotment should be on the table. I would consider cutting by up to 50%. This may be coupled by changing how student tickets are sold. Instead of season tickets, it could be at the door tickets that are paid for at game time. Students scan an M card at the gate and pay for and are granted admission to the game. The amount of available tickets can vary on a game by game basis as the department works to market toward individual groups.
I think changing the pricing and attendence rules are a good idea, but it is not a long term solution, as it relies on pricing and incentives rather than desire to attend. The problem is that there are empty seats, and the solution is to market those empty seats to individuals who may be able to pay and maybe giving tickets away to large groups.
My aero engineering degree from UM allows me to readily identify two culprit factors causing the student ambivalence.
1. Product is inferior. That's on RR and Hoke.
2. National trend against students coming to games. If Alabama has the problem, you know something is amiss.
But I think #1 is 99% of the problem. If we were coming off 12-1 record and Rose Bowl win, my guess is, ticket sales would not be this kind of a problem.
Could it also be our home schedule is terrible? Combine that with #1, and increased prices... Wouldn't find me at the games.
will cure the attendance issues, but the historical record would suggest it's not that simple.
The statistical record of game attendance can be found here, and this link is to 1969:
Bo got here in '69, and in spite of the obvious improvement in the team, average attendance was only 71K. The only crowd over 100K was OSU.
In '70, even after the magical '69 season, average attendance was still only 79K. The only 100K crowd was MSU. Even though we were undefeated and ranked #5 in the country, our last home game (Iowa) drew a paltry crowd of 66K.
In '71, we went through the season undefeated, but still only averaged 80K. The only 100K+ crowd was OSU. Going into the Nov. 6 game with Iowa we were ranked #3, but only drew 72K.
The '72 and '73 seasons continued the trend of gradually rising average attendance, but still only one game—either MSU or OSU—was over 100K, and attendance in late season games when UM was undefeated and ranked in the top 5 was still substantially below 100K.
'74 was the first season in which we had two games over 100K, but still only drew 88K for the game against Purdue in November when we were undefeated and ranked #3 in the country.
'75 was the year we began the consecutive streak of crowds over 100K, but we still had three games under 100K.
The fact that it took six seasons of elite on-the-field performance to get attendance to exceed 100K on a weekly basis would indicate that the relationship between attendance and performance is not as simple as wins and losses.
Don Canham had to sell the daylights out of Michigan football to get attendance up, and he wasn't above using a bit of chicanery to goose attendance numbers, which is partially what Band Day was about—he invited high school bands from all over the state to perform, and he sat all those band members in the stands to help fill the seats and increase the official attendance.
However, I'm pretty sure that Canham did not raise ticket prices dramatically in those early years, regardless of how well Bo was doing, and even after 1975, ticket prices were reasonably stable year-to-year.
I don't blame a student for not buying a ticket, That is up to them, and 295 is steep. I do have a problem with those who buy a season and then can't be bothered to show up on time. However, that is not what is going on. It seems that the the interest level among the students is just not enough to fill out the current student section.
The solution is simple - if the students don't buy, then shrink the student section towards the endzone. Sell the unused tickets on the 35-25 yard lines as single games or whatever this year, and then sell them as non-student season tickets in the future. The student section will then shrink so it better matches the interest level of the student population.
Actually, this will significantly increase profits as the best two or three student sections will generate high dontation levels and prices. This begs the questions: Aren't the students giving Brandon exactly what he wants?
I was a Michigan student for 9 years from 1993-2002. Student tickets were $85. I showed up 2 hours before game time and sat in the front row (except the last 2 years when my seats were awesome due to seniority). If they jumped to $300, and the team was this inconsistent, most of my friends would say screw it.
Ohio State is selling full season student tickets for $252. That is steep. However, they also offer a "Big Ten" package to students which includes only conference games for $144.
I've been an OSU season ticket holder for nearly a decade, ever since I graduated. Last year was the first and only time that I was ever able to purchase tickets directly from the Michigan Athletic Ticket Office for the OSU game. In fact, I was able to purchase the tickets cheaper from UM than OSU. I think that had much to do with Michigan's "dynamic pricing" architecture. The demand was lower than anticipated so the prices dropped by the time I got around to purchasing the tickets.
It appears that the AD's are trying to capitalize on the secondary markets (Gene Smith not excluded) but they are too late. The consumer is already exhausted by the increased cost of living, while TV continues to produce an attractive free alternative to the live experience.
One of the first things you learn in business/marketing is to understand your customer. The loyal decades long alumnus donor pool is shrinking. Meanwhile, students are "short-term donors" who should be treated like fringe customers. Raising prices while offering a sub-par product (noon games against inferior competition) is not going to build any brand loyalty.
this is kind of late in the discussion, however it would be interesting to know what is happening at other universities. Are the buckeyes seeing a drop in student attendance at the games? What about other schools around the country, is this a trend or is it just happening at M due to the prices? Also what is the currrent student demographic-are there more ethnicities that simply aren't interested in football anymore or are there more women at Michigan? If they gave student tickets away would the student section be full? Somewhere there are answers....
Yes, no one will argue that the cost has gotten higher and is beyond what some are willing to pay, but think of the cost of NFL season tickets. That is much more, both per season and on a per-game basis than any college football team charges, and that hasn't been affected even with the less personal connection relative to one's college loyalties
$295 for seven games? That's $42 per ticket, I got tickets for Wis in 2010 for $45, single game, no donation. Not a good game, but on the nausea scale no worse than Nebraska 2013 for $110. Yeah, I can see why students might take a pass.
They have this 'dynamic' pricing, i guess it's diodic, increase prices when demand is high, god forbid you lower them when demand is low.
Seven home games that year so season tickets were $45. Using the inflation calculator at http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/ that was $262.55 in 2014 dollars to sit high up in the freshman part of student section behind the goal posts.
That year Michigan went undefeated in the regular season and lost the Rose Bowl to Stanford (12-13). They played Virginia, UCLA, Navy, Illinoise, Indiana, Iowa, and OSU at home. At home they out scored their opponents by 282 points, 309 to 27 beating OSU by 3 and no one scored more than seven points against them. On the road they outscored their opponents by 57 points, 100 to 43 beating MSU by 9 and Purdue by 3.
I don't have actual sales numbers to tell how many student tickets were sold that year, but it certainly seemed like student attendance was virtually universal. Campus was a ghost town by game time. Of course student tickets wrapped all the way around to the fifty yard line in those days with seniors getting first shot at mid-field seats.
I don't think it's just about the money or maybe not about the money at all. General inflation numbers often don't track specific items well. Premium gas was about 32 cents a gallon back then so that $7.50 would buy about 23 gallons of gas (roughly a tank), which would be about $78 today. Compared to the price of gasoline, a seat at Michigan Stadium has gotten cheaper. The same is true if you compare it to milk or a cut of steak or a pound of ground chuck (all items whose price was sensitive for a college student).
1971 was Bo's third season and the student body had not become accustomed to winning all the games prior to OSU as a matter of course. We loved a close hard fought game, but we also love blowing an opponent out by 50+ points. We weren't so used to winning that we didn't delight in crushing an obviously over matched team. Also, while we destroyed Navy that year, they'd been pretty good compared to Michigan when the game was arranged.
Unlike today, there were no sky boxes or corporate seats. It was a college football game. Students got priority for seats. If you were willing to camp out a night (or maybe two) before tickets went on sale you could pretty much guarantee that, as a senior, you and your friends would be sitting inside the 40 with great seats. We "smuggled" in alcohol (not that there was any serious attempt to stop it) and enjoyed the game. Forty+ years later I still fondly remember the first Michigan game I attended as a student. I suspect that if ticket sales are tanking it's because the collegiate aspects of the game are being lost.
When the team returns to dominance (and eventually it will) ticket sales will recover and the stadium will again be full, but I am not sure if a committed fan base will return. It seems to me that requires students and alums who have an emotional connection to the program. I wonder if that can be built in the current marketing environment which the athletic department is pursuing.
I am a lifelong UM football fan and next year I will be a senior at UM. If you ask me what the greatest factors are in me not buying student tickets I would say Product > Price > Schedule. I do not trust the football team to win more than 8 games in 2014. It was so excruciating to watch our team last year and I still have a bad taste in my mouth. In addition I know I can still go to every game by buying tickets off other students for $20 or less (except MAYBE the PSU game) and I will save at least $100 by doing so.
Freshman and sophomore years I didn't buy student tickets, because I figured I could save money by just buying tickets off other students (which I did). In 2013 I did buy season tickets because I genuinely (and naively) thought we had a very good shot at winning the B1G or at least winning 10 games.