General Admission: The Hot Take Comment Count

Brian April 23rd, 2013 at 3:59 PM

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obligatory

The student section is going general admission next year, which basically confirms a long-standing nonpolicy in which your ticket was checked at the section entrance, but the actual section was a free-for-all. Students hate it!

Here's the poll on the @michigandaily facebook page: 589 "hate" GA policy. 104 "love" it. 44 "dislike but understand." 30 are indifferent

I love people who vote "I don't care" on polls.

Anyway, the given reason:

“This change in policy from reserved seating was put in place as the student section is the driving force behind our home field advantage and we need students to get there early and often to create a loud and full student section for kickoff.”

I guess that whole "you can get a t-shirt for going to every game on time" thing didn't work out despite being a Best In Class Loyalty Program. These are people involved in the decision to expand the Big Ten to 14 teams. We should not be surprised this was apparently unforseeable.

Michigan's also upped the price of student tickets by about eight bucks a pop. Sucks for the actual students. Might convince some of the DGAF crowd to pass, thus opening up seats for actual fans, but the kind of people who drop 200 bucks on season tickets and don't show up on time or sometimes at all are probably not going to be dissuaded by another 50 bucks on top of their tuition and whatnot.

Hot takes!

Hooray

I really wish I could find this email from a mewling brat of a student from the last time it was Complain About The Students time on mgoblog, because it was dripping with entitlement so vast it would have established a new frontier in Michigan Man jokes. It's lost in the deep recesses of my inbox, unfortunately.

In any case: I don't care about you, guy who shows up late. At all. If you're hungover or don't have time to get drunk or are too tired to show up on time, terrible subsection of students who think this blog is an inexplicable acronym, I don't care. I can't conceive of a world in which I, or anybody else, would find the slightest bit of sympathy for you. It's six or seven Saturdays a year—five or six now that they're going to have a night game annually. If you can swing that because of… actually, if you can't swing that for any reason whatsoever, I don't care. That is your problem.

For the students who read this blog this is a good thing. You can swing into the stadium at the appropriate time and plop down on the 20 yard line 30 rows up like I used to and get an excellent view of proceedings. Since I'm always in the stadium 45-60 minutes early I'll keep you guys abreast of the seating situation on the twitters so you can time your entrance to snag the seats for people who actually want to watch football. Since people will cram the first few rows overfull, anyone in the stadium sweet spot will probably be comfortable. And a drunk girl with JEALOUS on her ass can't show up in the second quarter to kick you out.

Problems: Still Extant

This isn't going to do much for the grey ring of apathy at the top of the section, which has always been a combination of the aforementioned crowding near the field and people who either don't show up at all or show up late, don't care that they're far away, and leave early. These people must be found and scolded personally.

I still don't understand why Michigan isn't using the ticket scans to give priority to people who show up on time. A subsection of primo seats for early-arrivers would do more to help out the future superfan types; I wouldn't mind telling perpetual late-arrivers they can get tickets at the full sticker price or not at all.

The reward gradation from awesome fan to terrible fan should be a lot steeper. Right now it is Free T-Shirt versus No T-Shirt. Do you know how many old free t-shirts I still have from my student days? Dozens. (AMD ROCKS!, says one.) I cannot think of a less valuable item than a t-shirt to a college student. The good half of the student section is the best subsection of Michigan fans, and right now they're getting too much of the crap for the other half without much in the way of tangible benefit.

What does bug me about the student ticket prices is that they're a terrible idea from a marketing perspective. Hook 'em young and you've got a customer for life. Continually piling annoyances on the new generation of fans bodes unwell for the future. Throw 'em a bone, starting with a kickass stadium wifi setup*.

*[YES IT'S FOR THEM AND NOT ME. I actually get out stuff just fine most of the time. I should see if my cell phone company wants me to advertise this fact for them.]

UPDATE: Kyle Meinke tweets that Michigan averaged an astounding 5400 no-shows per game last year, or 25% of student tickets sold. Anyone who missed more than one game should be told to pay full price, at the very least.

Comments

Marley Nowell

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:12 PM ^

Personally I would never miss kickoff but would cut it close a couple times.  What kind of seats will students who get to their seats 5-10 min before kickoff expect to get?

DH16

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:17 PM ^

I think it's made out to be a bigger issue than is actually. I mean, the first few rows kinda suck from a viewing experience anyway. I plan on just waltzing in with my friends down Hoover behind the band as we usually do, and we'll end up somewhere in the lower bowl, and that's good enough. Still the same experience, right?

I think the issue is that this doesn't solve the 5,000+ no shows at games at all, and in fact I think will possibly increase them due to the mentality of "If I'm gonna be late and sit nosebleeds I might as well not go." This happens at basketball games all the time, which is why the upper bowl was empty earlier in the season before the hype train of the #1 ranking began (any pre-Nebraska game, so basically all of 1st semester, didn't fill more than 2/3 of the section I would estimate). They try to alleviate this by charging more for the ticket to make it more valuable, and that just sucks. I could be completely wrong on this, and hope I am, time will tell, and I think there are better systems that would alleviate this problem.

Line chaos and stuff is overrated, Paternoville only filled something like 8 rows across the section at its largest game if I remember correctly. If you want the first 15 rows? Sucks, you'll have to wait probably. If you just want to get in and still get decent seats, I'd guess we'll all be fine just getting there for the pregame band and all.

lol at the "AMD Rocks!" shirt too

wile_e8

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:54 PM ^

I'm thinking general admission and higher tickets prices might cut out quite a bit of the 5,000+ no shows. Why? Because the type of person that no shows football games is even less likely to buy tickets if they cost a lot and they get terrible seats when they show up late. Then those tickets can be sold to non-students that will actually go to the games. There will be fewer obvious gaps in the student section if it takes fewer students to fill it up.

MGoBender

April 23rd, 2013 at 6:54 PM ^

Unfortunately, this is assuming that student is the one buying the tickets. In my experieces, the type of people that don't value their tickets are often the people that don't have to worry about how much they cost. Which makes total sense, of course.

imafreak1

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:18 PM ^

This was the obvious attempted solution.

The student section was essentially general admission through the 90s and it worked. People got there on time and packed into the stands creating an exciting, rowdy atmosphere.

If you preferred to arrive late you sat higher up. It wasn't even possible to get down into the crowd where your seats may have been because there were too many people. These people, who don't care and probably don't want to be packed like sardines can fill out the top of the stadium and have side conversations or do whatever they do that is not watching the game.

This did not lead to a Paterno-ville situation where you had to get to the stadium hours before hand to get a good seat. Arriving 20-30 minutes before kick off was fine--give or take depending on the opponent. You can only camp out at the stadium before it opens if they let you. 

MaizeAndBlueWahoo

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:22 PM ^

Having gone to a school with GA student seating, I'll predict for you the #1 problem: frats that send two pledges on ahead to save a whole row up front.  If you have an appropriately large group, it's possible to intimidate them into moving.  If not then you're at the mercy of the ushers.  A larger student section like the one at the Big House probably will require a few bouncer types to settled disputes.

That said, a semi-rush to be the first people in the stadium and a strong incentive to do so isn't a bad thing at all.  The only people who should be unhappy with the change are those who a) had good, theoretically guaranteed seats and b) don't arrive in time to not have to try and kick someone out.  Either way there'll be arguments; better that they happen 45 minutes before kickoff rather than 20 minutes after.

Wolverine Convert

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:22 PM ^

How about charging students at the FULL ticket price and giving a rebate of the cost difference only if they are at the game before kickoff? That should get some interest.

They could also give away something like an i-pad to one person each game that shows up on time. That could create a little buzz and bragging rights to some real fans.

JeepinBen

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:23 PM ^

Michigan averaged 5434 student no-shows. There were over 3,000 no show students for MSU (this years' best home game).

There were 21,770 student tickets sold. That means 25% of the students didn't show up (don't know if that nmeans they didn't show at all or just on time)

But that's some bullshit. Get to the games or don't buy tickets.

M-Wolverine

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:33 PM ^

The article link doesn't work anymore, but the numbers are the same-

http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/dave-brandon-says-students-actually-arent-showing

 

Last weekend, athletic director Dave Brandon said there were 11,000 empty seats — there are approximately 22,000 student tickets — for the noon kickoff against Northwestern. It only sparsely filled in as the game went on.

Apparently it's a problem at big, non-early games too.

 

For the 3:30 p.m. kickoff against Michigan State on Oct. 20, there were 3,500 no-shows, Brandon said. And, another 1,000 students came in and validated their tickets to re-sell, bringing the total to 4,500 no-shows.

kevin holt

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:25 PM ^

Not a student anymore, but I was debating against former classmates and current students that this is a good thing. We got seated in the middle during our junior and senior years just because we liked to have more people in our seating group (still not that many, maybe 8). We did fewer senior year and were still disappointed with middle level seats (though a great view).

I don't like being kicked out of seats when people show up at halftime, which sometimes leads to people just squishing in, being pushy, and standing on one foot to stay up.

I don't like people coming late to text and gossip and not watch except to go "Oo what happened?" though I understand that they have a right to be there if they got there on time.

I got there later than i wanted to on a few occasions. I would have happily gone to the top row and taken my punishment and learned from it.

I think in practice this will take some time to work out. How do they make sure seats fill up in the right way? Do they give you a seat at the door like bball? That seems good to me but bball is easier to police. It's not as easy in crisler to just ignore the ushers and go push through to find your friends. Big games will still find people pushing to the front.

What about opposing fans who got tickets online? If they're student tickets they could be in the front row. I know it's students own fault but that kinda sucks.

All in all, seems great to me. My ex girlfriend got tickets in row 70 or farther back our senior year. She was not pleased (and they eventually changed her seats after she unleashed wrath on the ticket office). That sort of system must be broken somewhere.

denardogasm

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:33 PM ^

I fully agree with everything Brian said on this occasion, mostly because I hated that belligerent drunk girl with a passion.  "NO BITCH I AM NOT IN YOUR SEAT. YOUR SEAT IS 3 ROWS BACK" x1000 causing me to miss most of the third quarter.  I liked sitting about row 20-30 a lot better than the first few rows because everyone was always way more laid back up there and I could actually stand facing forward.  So I have no problem with GA tickets but I think the people that would show up late all the time are now just going to say F it we're going to be in the back anyway so we might as well stay home.  Thus the empty top rows will continue to go empty.  

Blue in Seattle

April 23rd, 2013 at 5:42 PM ^

Clearly the ticket price is too low if you think people will buy season tickets and then not show up at all because it's "GA".

My freshman year (1985) I had season tickets.  My roomate grew up in Ann Arbor and taught me the tradition at the time for the student section.  It pretty much was "show up early because the students don't care what seat number they get, and the ushers will only enforce the sections, and really only for sections NOT in the end zone, which you Freshman are not in."

Of course, in 1985 the tickets were separate, not in a book, and if you didn't want to go to a specific game you just had to sell your ticket to the guy in Mosher Jordan cafeteria who had the job of swiping your card for breakfast.  He then went to the stadium early and sold the student tickets to fans who didn't care about sitting in the student section of the end zone and in general probably paid less than regular ticket price anyway.  They also pretty much understood that they had scalped a student ticket and went along with whatever was happening.  Although once, a guy had brought his 10-12 year old son with him, had bought scalped student tickets, and then attmepted to get the usher to kick out students who were in "his seats".  Since the rule that was never followed on student tickets was that you had to bring your Student ID to the game to prove you could use the ticket, someone started shouting "Student ID" and pointing at the man trying to sit down.  Quickly this built into over 200 people all pointing in the same direction and chanting "ID, ID, ID" until the usher shrugged his shoulders pointed to an open area of bench and then left.

I also remember being taught "the wave", and over my time as a student fan, my observation of starting the wave was that success was much more likely if it started in the student corner, and then went clockwise through the visitor section.  Going the other way usually was watching it die right at that spot near the 50 yard line where the old timers had been sitting for decades.  They'd do it if they could see the opposite side of the stadium standup, but couldn't be bothered at anything coming from the students.

Ahh the Bo Days.

 

MGoBender

April 23rd, 2013 at 7:03 PM ^

The proper wave died during the RichRod era.  I hope, some day, the correct wave returns...

In a blowout, starting in the student section, I believe the order is:

Standard wave

Standard wave (sometimes skipped if the first one is good)

Slow wave

Fast wave

"Send it back!"

"Split It!!!"

Wave83

April 24th, 2013 at 9:31 AM ^

Knowing waves, as I do, I wouldn't say that the wave pattern you described "died" during the RR era.  It is back with a vengence.  The problem is that waves only occur in good 'ol blow outs (which used to mean every game except Ohio State).

When you are getting your butts kicked, or only hanging on, waves don't happen (and certainly shouldn't happen).

I remember the first successful wave in the Stadium (1983) and it was an experience.  It was a revelation to 100,000+ people that they could do something together without advance organization.  Everyone fell in love with it immediately, except for Bo who threw a tantrum because the fans were cheering themselves instead of paying attention to the game situation (for which a cheer was not appropriate).

As I recall, the development of reverse waves and other enhancements occurred the following summer in Tiger Stadium during the 1984 wire-to-wire season.  Pretty soon there were waves doing in opposite directions in the upper and lower decks, televised on national TV.

Anyway, waves are a great tradition and require a dominant team to provide the opportunity.  They also need a robust student section.  I want them there early too, but beating the students up too much -- higher prices, etc. -- might lead to a time when the section is smaller.  If it does, it will be a shame.  Places like OSU don't involve all the students and seem to favor getting alumni (and truck drivers) into the stadium.  I think that is wrong.  College football is, first and foremost, for the students, not grouchy alumni.

If you really want to make sure the stadium is full, move the games to 1:00 and don't televise them.

cigol

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:35 PM ^

300 bucks for student tickets = way damn too much. The student section was basically GA already, so I don't care about that, but 300 bucks??? Just because they can raise the price doesn't mean they should. We're paying 2x or 3x the amount of tuition of the older "real" fans, even after adjusting for inflation. When I'm making enough money to where I'm flying back for games, ill gladly pay an extra 20 so the students making negative dollars aren't getting gouged relative to other universities.

What you get are a lot of students selling tickets out of necessity to friends and next thing you know, there are 100 assholes in OSU hats in the student section.

I love DB for most things, but charging students this much for tickets, and the fact that he charges us anything at all to watch the mediocre (relatively) baseball team in an empty stadium are areas that he annoys the crap out of me.

DH16

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:45 PM ^

Basketball tickets got raised to $200 as well. That means $515 for football and basketball tickets this year. Absurd. I bought tickets to all three sports for that much this year, now I'm gonna have to drop hockey which really pains me because I love Michigan hockey.

MGoBender

April 23rd, 2013 at 7:08 PM ^

I was a person that had to cringe when ticket purchase time came. I'm many tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt, so I understand the need to keep the prices down.  However:

What you get are a lot of students selling tickets out of necessity to friends and next thing you know, there are 100 assholes in OSU hats in the student section.

If you are selling tickets out of necessity, then you shouldn't have bought them in the first place.  Even as a dumb 19 year old I had enough financial sense to understand that.

CooperLily21

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:38 PM ^

I used to love getting to games early to get good seats back when it was quasi-general admission (in the 1990s).  I'd say the first 20-30 rows were full a good 30 minutes before kickoff and everyone was rewarded with watching pre-game warmups.  We would cheer everytime the receivers caught a long fade pass in the endzone and participate in general hijinks (like marshmallow fights).  Some of my most fond memories are from pre-game activities.

Kids are going to have to bite the bullet, tailgate and drink a little less, and treat games as both entertainment and a civic responsibility.  You're there obviously to have a good time but you're also there to cheer on your fellow classmates.  Going forward, selfish bastards will be punished with nose-bleed seats and I can't say I'll be sorry to watch it unfold.

#getoffmylawn

543Church

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:45 PM ^

20 years ago when I was in undergrad I seem to recall most of us being there 20-30 minutes before each game.   There was an excitement and urgency to be there and see the spectacle.  However, we also didn't have the luxury of being able to see every game on TV since there was no BTN to show the crappy games, so if we didn't show up we wouldn't see the game at all. 

Perhaps more students are just saying #$%# it, I'll watch at home?   I doubt it is more pre game drinking causing no shows, that has always been going on.

gbdub

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:47 PM ^

Everyone is missing the big obvious thing when they say "yah but seats will still be empty" - There WILL be over sold seats. Which is to say, the AD has worked out that x% of student tix will be no-shows for a given game, and the student section will be shrunk accordingly to allow full price asses to fill the remaining seats.

I predict a fuller student section, with more severe crowding higher up the bowl for bigger games.

CooperLily21

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:53 PM ^

I tend to mirror Brian's attitude towards a lot of the Brandon era changes but I think this general admission (and even overselling) idea to be gold, Jerry, gold.  It sucks for the affected class, but airlines overbooking flights is a great business strategy.  It ensures that flights are full.  Sure the airlines have to shell out some goodies to those "injured" but it definitely incentivizes people to arrive early.  Sit through one game squished on the top row and you'll think twice about having that 15th beer before heading to the game!

ChiCityWolverine

April 23rd, 2013 at 4:58 PM ^

This would infer there is a major increase in demand this year though. There are still the same number of seats in the student section unless he gets rid of an entire section. Don't expect a major boost in bought tickets and overselling in a year when Brandon increased ticket prices to $295.

gbdub

April 23rd, 2013 at 5:06 PM ^

Why does it have to be whole sections? Rope off the top half of a section and sell single game seats in the nosebleeds. Student seats have to be bought well before the season - plenty of time to work out the ideal section size and sell single game seats for the remainder, just as they do with other season tix.

I don't think the student section was the same size/ shape for any two consecutive years while in college. Always fluctuated year to year.

gbdub

April 23rd, 2013 at 5:10 PM ^

You don't think Dave "dolla dolla bill y'all" Brandon would do that? After doubling the price for MBB tickets and increasing football tickets by 50%?

I have a bridge I'd like to sell you...

But seriously, I assure you venues oversell GA tickets all the time. It would be stupid not to, because you'll always have no shows and giving a few refunds or dealing with a little overcrowding is cheaper than having vast unused capacity.

jmblue

April 23rd, 2013 at 5:19 PM ^

I just looked it up and I stand corrected - some schools do oversell (including OSU, apparently).  I still think we'd hesitate to do it, though.

I agree that football tickets are getting very pricy for students, although I don't think the cost of basketball tickets is that bad.  You get a lot of games for that $200.  

 

 

gbdub

April 23rd, 2013 at 5:29 PM ^

Well, again, why wouldn't we? You don't seriously think they tracked no shows just to shame us, do you?

Anyway, they were always be no shows, and not just because of apathy or poor fandom. The fact that you can't buy single game student seats basically guarantees a certain number of no shows as long as student season tickets are effectively cheaper than single game full price seats for the few games a year that more casual fans want to go to. Even marquee games will suffer some number of fans who just can't make it but couldn't or didn't sell their seats for whatever reason.

jmblue

April 23rd, 2013 at 5:44 PM ^

Because Michigan, by nature, is slow to embrace what it perceives as commercialization*.  We were one of the last major programs to adopt PSLs, our regents practically brawled over the addition of luxury boxes, and we still have no advertising inside Michigan Stadium (I think we are the last remaining school to hold that distinction).

I think that the school might view overselling as a potential PR mess if it leaves some students frozen out, however doubtful that might be.

 

*(Aside from selling merchandise.  We've always liked doing that.)

gbdub

April 23rd, 2013 at 6:21 PM ^

Eh, this is already a PR mess. You could ease into it and be okay. And you don't have to significantly oversell to make a big dent in the perceived emptiness of the stadium.

Apparently UGA has a GA policy that sounds like a good option: they determined that at their most full (an Auburn game) there were still something like 2500 empty seats in the student section (out of about 18000).

Their solution was to trim the student section by 2000 seats. The trimmed seats were then sold as GA to graduates less than 5 years removed from UGA for a significant discount over the general public price. There was no PSL the first year, a nominal one the second year, and the regular $500 one in year 3. That let the recent alums "ease into" season tickets.

Not sure how this worked out, but it sounds like a good idea.