Players are employees. Fans are customers.
Well, fans were customers. Increasingly, fans who are not rich are no longer customers.
Brilliance is brilliant even if it's not yours. Via the comments of The Only Colors:
This is not a criticism of Brady Hoke. Brady Hoke went for it on fourth and two. Hoke uber alles.
Fleming many places. The AV Club has launched in Ann Arbor with a few stories, one of them focused on the response to Patrick Fleming's death not only at Michigan but around the marching band world:
A group of representatives from the Ohio State marching band drove from Columbus to Ann Arbor just so they could say a few kind words during Wednesday’s practice. And MSU posted a YouTube recording of their entire band playing “Amazing Grace” as a tribute to Fleming. (The band’s version of the song, by the way, is just the way it should be: proudly, wonderfully loud and brassy.)
style="FONT-SIZE: 12pt">The goodwill doesn’t stop with the Big Ten. If you go to the MMB’s Facebook page color=#000000>, you’ll see condolences from members of seemingly every college marching band in existence. Notably, there are a fair amount from the University of Massachusetts, the roles reversed from when their band director George Parks died last year while his Marching Minutemen were en route to Ann Arbor.
The goodwill doesn’t stop with the Big Ten. If you go to the MMB’s Facebook page, you’ll see condolences from members of seemingly every college marching band in existence. Notably, there are a fair amount from the University of Massachusetts, the roles reversed from when their band director George Parks died last year while his Marching Minutemen were en route to Ann Arbor.
How much money again? Via the magic of FOIA, AnnArbor.com reveals the finances of next year's matchup against Alabama, but they are not specific enough about a critical detail:
In addition to $4.7 million, U-M will receive 200 tickets, two luxury boxes and one field-level suite. The U-M marching band will receive free entry and reserved seating. U-M cheerleaders, dance team and mascots will also receive free entry.
Officials will provide approximately 25,000 tickets for Michigan to sell.
Does Michigan buy those tickets to resell at basically no gain or do they get them for free? The difference there is huge. If it's the former that $4.7 million makes this a negligible financial gain. Michigan made $41.3 million from spectator admissions last year, or about $5.2 million per game. They have to write checks for bodybag games but if bowl trips are any indication the cost to ship the team and the band to Dallas will be at least as much as half-million or so Michigan is hypothetically making if it's just the 4.7 million they're banking. If they're also flogging 2.5 million worth of tickets that's a big bump.
There are also some quotes from Brandon than make this seem awesome because it's like "a regular season bowl experience," by which he means a crappy environment thousands of miles away from either school run by a guy in a blazer. I'd rather play Alabama than San Jose State but Michigan playing in Dallas against a team from Alabama just reinforces how fan-screwing college football has become.
Here's a fantabulous statement that should totally obliterate your opposition to players getting more of what they bring in:
Brandon said the 967-mile trip is a part of U-M athletics’ effort to rebrand itself.
In the past year, U-M has hosted its first night game, purchased and installed a $20 million pair of scoreboards and drastically restructured its athletics marketing arm to include more than a dozen marketing professionals, up from three at the start of 2010.
“Where we were before, I don’t know if we would have considered going off campus to play a game like that,” Brandon said of the Alabama-Michigan game.
Insert Lloyd Carr sneering "money" here. Guy was 150% right about the direction college football was going upon his retirement. Maybe I'm just watching baseball right now, but rebranding the Yankees would get you shot, and deservedly.
(Budget HT: cutter)
BONUS BONUS, and by bonus bonus I mean not bonus not bonus. Michigan just sent out a letter to everyone on the season ticket waiting list telling them "500 bucks or GTFO." The 500 bucks guarantees you nothing except the privilege of waiting for season tickets. The privilege of buying split-season non-guaranteed seats will run you $100.
This may be a good time to revisit next year's home schedule:
You could scalp half the season for the 100 bucks they're charging you just to be in line for tickets.
Hoover Street Rag on this development:
I've always wanted my own Michigan season tickets, and I was waiting out my opportunity. I've cobbled together season ticket packages from the Alumni Association, from the Athletic Department's general sale, from friends, from other means. So I have gone to my share of games, especially over the last five years. But the reality is simply that I don't have $1000 to spend on six games in 2012, especially if the highlights are Michigan State and Iowa. I suppose this is the new economic reality of big time college football, the middle class are being squeezed out of a stadium that can hold a medium sized Michigan city; the wealthy, those who can afford to donate to the athletic department, are the lifeblood of the program, the core customers to whom need to be catered, both figuratively and literally. Season tickets are not about having tickets for all of the games, but rather assuring that you have tickets for Ohio State or Michigan State, depending on the year. This is not new, but it's going to become more and more common with the ever escalating financial demands on the season ticket holders. The Athletic Department now faces a stadium for the Ohio State game which may lack an enthusiastic student section because of the post-Thanksgiving date of the game, and may lack the focused pro-Michigan crowd they want due to potential highest bidder ticket sell off by season ticket holders. Perhaps it doesn't matter to the Athletic Department. As long as the ticket has been paid for, it doesn't matter who is in the stands. The partnership with StubHub seems to indicate this line of thinking may have merit.
I wanted to quote a lot less of that just so you'd click through but there's at least twice as much discussion of this. During the season I don't have a lot of time to spend on this but I feel the papercuts incrementing. In the long run finding the exact breaking point at which your mostly-full stadium puts up with your marketing seems like a recipe for long-term decline.
Speaking of long term decline…
Ohio State business. There is more of it and it further tests the idea that there is anything resembling compliance or control within a 200-mile radius of Columbus. I'm wary of exposing myself to more homerderp statements in the aftermath of the NCAA not even bothering to charge failure to monitor, let alone lack of institutional control, in the aftermath of tatgate, but, like, seriously.
Even the intentionally bland ESPN Big Ten blog is beginning to ask WTF:
"These failures are individual failures, failures of individual athletes, obviously a previous coach," Smith said Monday. "It's not a systemic failure of compliance."
There's that line again. Just a few bad apples. Apple cart's fine. Nothing to see here, NCAA. Keep moving along.
"These individual decisions were made to go off the reservation," Smith said. "At the end of the day, it’s not a systems problem."
Remind me to ask Smith where I can find this reservation. Getting paid for not working? Sign me up!
"These were individual decisions by individual people," Smith said. "It's not 30."
It's getting close.
• A former head coach who admitted to (and was formally charged with) covering up major NCAA violations by multiple high-profile players for nearly nine months, including the entire 2010 regular season and the 2011 Sugar Bowl, even after said violations became public.
• A starting quarterback who was initially suspended for accepting more than $1,000 in improper benefits, and later forced to leave the team amid reports that he a) Accepted tens of thousands of dollars more in exchange for autographing memorabilia, and b) Had been regularly accepting money from a businessman in his hometown, with whom the head coach kept in frequent contact, for more than two years after they had been specifically warned to cut all financial ties.
• Four other veteran players suspended along with the quarterback for accepting thousands of dollars in improper benefits.
• Two of those same four players suspended further for accepting more improper benefits after having already been suspended for accepting improper benefits.
• Three other players suspended for accepting small cash payments from a booster, apparently via a teammate who had already been suspended for improper benefits.
• A booster formally disassociated from the program for providing said payments.
That's what Ohio State has more or less owned up to, not including the discounted cars and other assorted freebies that have failed to progress beyond the "rumor/allegation" phase. That's what we can realistically say we know.
So... that seems sort of less than controlled, you know? Here's someone who agrees:
The fact that Smith has failed to notice Bobby DiGeronimo, an OSU booster who has apparently been secretly paying OSU athletes for years, or Edward Rife, the architect of the tat-gate scandal, to communicate with its athletes is embarrassing. Even after all that has ensued this offseason with the punishments and sanctions, athletes are still finding ways to get in trouble. For Smith to say OSU doesn't have a problem with their "system," is a joke.
That's Fox Sports's Thayer Eva—Wait… that's Eleven Warriors. What?
Etc.: Not one but two sets of excellent Northwestern wallpaper. The Illinois-Northwestern game in full. Five hours of Calvin Magee explaining the spread n shred three years too late. Shorter Houston Nutt: "a verbal commitment is a sacred bond; a signed letter of intent is for me to poop on."
Players are employees. Fans are customers.
Well, fans were customers. Increasingly, fans who are not rich are no longer customers.
People who make the money are called employees, among other things.
The ticket situation is a real bear. My parents shifted their tickets to my name a few years back when they let them do that and I love those seats. At this point, my wife isn't really interested, my daughter is too young, and my parents are still around, so I can just pay for my one seat ($980 including PSD) and make it work. There's going to come a time though when I'm going to have to make the decision whether to pay $3920 plus whatever increases come down the road or just get tickets through other channels on a game by game basis. My wife and I are both UM grads with a household income well into six figures, and I'm still not sure I can justify that. I don't know who the target customers are.
It's just a tough situation. I have such an emotional connection to those seats and being a season ticket holder, but there's really very little rationalization for paying that kind of price. The business person in me recongnizes that they're maximizing their revenue, but in the long run they are really ruining it for a lot of people. I don't know if they really care, but that's the truth of it from my perspective.
DB's still gonna put the lean on you.
was the straw that broke my folks' season-holiding-streak that went back to 1975. They're retired U, good bennies, the U is even in the will several times, but the word 'voluntary' make them choke.
Come on, who're you kiddin'?
It doesn't help your cause of quoting less that I seem to have an aversion to paragraph breaks. I am, glad is not the right word, nor is comforted, but perhaps heartened to see that others share similar feelings and stories.
I figured I would stop by and let you boys know that Michigan is getting destroyed in the team spirit competition over at www.OurCollegeHub.com. You may want to stop by and call for reinforcements. Just saying....
This is really textbook marketing. When you sell out every game, you keep raising the prices to "maximize your revenue center" until people stop buying. The prices will keep going higher until people stop buying season tickets. Then, they will figure out whether it is more profitable to back them down or to keep them where they are.
Athletics is never about the students or the fans; it is always about revenue. Even the concept of branding is about revenue; the better the brand, the higher the number of admissions applications. The higher the amount of applications, the more they can charge for tuition until that revenue center has been maximized, too.
Even though sports has nothing to do with academics, schools that win championships usually experience admissions spikes. Even nerds love a winner.
The textbook shows a nice little graph and a simple little curve, so DB and his marketing crew are sliding their pens toward the point in the book that will generate the most income ...
except real-world marketing is not that simple. Demand is not automatically renewable; if they push prices beyond a certain point and attempt to back them down, they will already have lost a number of longtime ticketholders. Not everyone will be willing to go back to the top of the section and work their way down. The waiting list would have hidden the problem for a while, but the new fees will whittle that down as well.
Combine those approaches with the steady erosion of interest that is happening across all sports - there are so many more activities available to people as alternatives to attending games, and many can be combined with following the game - and Michigan, and other schools like them, will end up where professional sports are now: the tricks the pro leagues use to hide the drop in attendance eventually wear off, and then you have, say, Jacksonville.
And even that scenario, where Michigan runs out of deep-pocketed alumni willing to pay to see Western and Eastern, ignores the proverbial elephant in the room. Should athletic departments have to give their players more than what they are getting now, that money will have to come from somewhere, and if they've already bled the excess from their waiting lists, it won't be nearly as easy to come up with that money.
A big bad man because you can make a smarmy comment on an Internet message board? Neat.
EDIT: Well, there was a post here to which I was replying. Maybe a mix-up with the Droid app.
I saw that post too. I think the population of Bolvian just went up by one.
You act like you're being forced to be here. So, um, keep fighting the good fight?
There was someone other than you caved from the thread. you can get off the cross now.
Looks like there were actually 2 people sent to Bolivia.
Dammit people, you are screwing with my troll torture!
When a person gets caved, they can still see their posts. All sorts of mean things happen to them but they do not realize that this is because they got caved until they realize nobody's responding to them or somebody makes a bolivia reference.
If you're so mad then why are you still here?
For the record, I was at first unhappy when Hoke was hired. Obviously I was wrong and I readily admit that.
Enjoy your crusade.
Brian goes the "free market" route for tickets to avoid being in debt to UM and to preserve his ability to say whatever the hell he wants.
You think you are smart now? Uh!
Hearing doom and gloom all season about how the AD is ruining your program >>>> hearing doom and gloom all season about how the coach is doing it.
It really seems like Brandon is actively going at the season ticket holder. He is having us pay more for bad teams, playing good teams in Texas, and now making people pay just to stay on the list. He is also pushing partial ticket packages. I am beginnig to suspect that he wants to eliminate the season ticket package altogether and go with a game by game auction on Stubhub.
I wonder how much he is going to charge for the "brand" package that he is going to put together with "M partners" Expedia, Delta and Hotel X for the privilege of seeing what would otherwise be a home game in Texas. I wonder if the ticket holders will get to buy a ticket at a reasonable price. I bet not.
I get that this is pure corporate marketing, profit maximization. That is the point. "This is Michigan," not Dominos pizza. I also get that he has to take care of the bottom line. However, you should not run the Michigan Atheletic Department the way you would run a company. He needs to balance profit with a consideration that this is college football. He doesn't need to be a profit maximizing machine every second of the day, particularly when he is targeting people who have supported this program for decades. If he doesn't find this balance, he will forever ruin something that is very special. I, for one, am starting to hope that his tenure as AD ends soon.
How about we judge him based on production for the sports he oversees, rather than jump to conclusions based on subjective opinions from people that don't know what they are talking about?
huh? He's a customer dissatisfied with the product DB is providing. "production" (wins?) don't matter if you alienate fans. It's a valid opinion, even if you disagree.
Is it that he is dissatisfied with the product or that he is unhappy that it may cost him more to go to games in the future? If the former, then I have no objection to the opinion. If the latter, then i feel for him, but it is a bit selfish to bash DB because what DB is doing is still overall good for the university -- more money means better facilities, better faculty, larger endowment, better resources, etc. I think it is more appropriate for our athletic director to be looking out for the university's best interest instead of the affordability of tickets for the average fan.
So it's "selfish" to want tickets to stay affordable for the average family, so that a wider range of people can experience everything good about Michigan? And it's "selfless" to gouge people so that the AD and coaches get bigger salaries? But whatever, the guy's expressed his opinion that tickets aren't worth the cost anymore. If there are enough people like him, we'll have a problem, regardless of what DB wants to use the extra scratch for.
Look, I'm all for capitalism. But Michigan isn't supposed to be a capitalist enterprise - it's a nonprofit educational organization and an important communal tradition. I wish DB would try a little harder to pretend this is still the case.
ia Dave Brandon.
Thanks for the defense. I can't read the other guy's post, witch sucks. If I am being called "selfish" for wanting season ticket holders to be treated better I would like to know why.
However, you mistated my popsition (I wasn't very clear). I haven't reached the point where I think the tickets aren't "worth" the price. Hell, I will pay more next year. I know that. However, that shouldn't be the point. Brandon should not be on a quest to find the maximum price that the enough season ticket holders will bear while scheduling bad teams so he can max out the number of home games. He should not sell large Papa John's adds throughout the stadium or put Arby's logos on hockey jerseys. He should not create a fake throwback jersey just so he can sell more merchandise. He should not be throwing long time victor's club members out of their parking spaces just because he found someone else willing to pay a few more dollars. (See post above.) He should not be forcing people to give up their spot on the waiting list just because others have $500 they are willing to sell out. He should not be selling partial game packages when there is waiting list to begin with. He also should not set up a secondary market that allows tickets to end up in the hands of opposing fans just so the Department can take a cut.
All of these things are sound business decisions. However, this is not just a business.
I don't view myself as a customer. I view myself as an alumnus, season ticket holder and supporter of Michgian athletics. This is part of who I am. If you are on this blog, I suspect it is part of who you are too. That is just not the same as buying a pizza. It is a shame that Mr. Brandon cannot grasp that concept.
I think our athletic director should be looking out for the university's best interest instead of the affordability of tickets for the average fan -- at some point those two lines blur where the high price of tickets actually hurts the university, but I don't think we are there yet.
DB is an ex-CEO of a private equity backed company and I am sure the regents knew what they were getting when they hired him -- a strong focus on boosting revenue and maximizing profitability. If you don't like it, blame the regents and MSC to try to effect change at the top, but don't blame DB for doing the job he was hired to do.
Personally, I have confidence that DB will prove to be one of the best athletic directors (if not the best) in the NCAA over the next few years.
I hear you, but I think that keeping things affordable for the avgerage fan is in the university's best interest. The fans are part of the tradition.
I don't think that Brandon was told to gouge the fans until they start walknig away and then sell their tickets to corporations. Writing the regents and MSC is a good idea, but I will still criticize the AD for doing thinks I disagree with. Just my opinion.
When Canham started putting the block M on anything that could support it's weight he was branding Michigan into what we see today. Decades later we applaud his foresight and history views him as one of the most influential people in modern collegiate sports. This branding is not new; neither are the complaints.
Can anyone here name a single thing Brandon has done to increase revenue that he hasn't been vilified for on this board? Here's what I've learned.
We should be playing more home and homes with tough opponents and not worry about selling more tickets and concessions. Those awful retro style jerseys for the UTL game were just a way to increase merchandise revenue at the cost of our traditions. Heaven forbid we ever have advertising in the Big House. We fans would gladly pay more to avoid seeing ads.
That isn't really true though, is it? We don't want Brandon to come up with ways to increase revenue. Let it all come from more lucrative TV deals and wealthy donors. Or maybe not, if it means those donors want to take some prime seats away from us and our games get stuck on the BTN with crappy announcers.
We love the idea of him spending more though. Rather than settling for a relatively cheap hire in Hoke he should have shelled out what it took to get Harbaugh or another big name here.The only move that escaped criticism was paying Mattison triple what the previous DCs made.
It looks like he was right about those moves. Maybe we should judge him on what he actually does instead of what we imagine he will do eventually. But apparently he is some sort of corporate hack intent on wringing every possible dollar out of every possible source without regard for anything else.
Sorry for venting. I have sympathy for fans would can't justify keeping their longstanding season tickets. (Although I've also heard a lot of complaints about all the blue hairs who detract from the atmosphere for football and basketball.) I'm not even completely sold on Brandon, but I'm tired of the constant over the top criticisms directed his way. I'm willing to at least acknowledge that he's well aware of the value of Michigan athletics and cares deeply about it.
I like going to Michigan games and I was thinking about trying to get season tickets until I found out all the hoops you have to jump through just to get season tickets. I still would like to go to the Ohio State game but I'm not sure how much I want to pay. I can't imagine what it's like to take kids or whatever to a game.
So "$500 or GTFO"=The New Maths for David Brandon. Nice.
Money for nothing and your chicks for free...
I typically detest all things Spartan, but the Amazing Grace video was just that, amazing. A classy move by SMB, no matter what school they attend.
And as an alum who gave up season tickets years ago due to conflicts with my kid's own sporting schedules, I appreciate DB offering partial ticket packages so I can now resume going to games. I don't dig the shakedown letters to stay on the ticket list, but I do like the fact that I don't have to buy a season's worth of tickets.