anything you can charge I can charge at almost equal efficiency
A cherry-picked statistic from Michigan's worst home schedule in a long time and an eyebrow-cocking assertion caught my attention yesterday:
Michigan increased football ticket prices for this fall's six home games, but could another increase be in the works?
It certainly seems that's the direction.
Dave Brandon, Michigan's athletic director who spoke to the Wolverines Caucus on Tuesday, said 43 percent of the athletic department revenue comes from ticket sales.
"We're woefully under-market," Brandon said.
Michigan earlier this spring announced what it called a "modest" increase in football ticket prices. The six home-game package is $390, or an average $65 per game. Ohio State charges $75 a game, and Brandon said that gives the Buckeyes more money to put back into their athletic program and makes them more competitive.
This claim probably catches anyone who writes a check to the university by surprise so I thought I'd check it. It's hard to do so since the documents you can FOIA from the two schools list things a lot differently. They also do things differently: OSU has no mandatory annual PSLs. Instead they have a "Buckeye Fund" you donate to which gets you points that gets you priority, etc.
But the bottom line is I don't think Michigan fans are getting off easy. In 2010 OSU's eight-game home schedule netted them a total of $42.1 million. Michigan's seven games that year brought in 33.1 million. In 2011 OSU's seven home games were projected to bring in $36.4 million; Michigan's eight were projected to bring in 41.3 million. Over those two years that's a deficit for Michigan of about 270k per game, or about $2.45 a ticket.
It's hard to get a grip on exactly what the comparable numbers are in donationland but Michigan seems to have an advantage. In 2010 Buckeye Fund donations were around 10 million. Michigan's PSDs were $8.9 million plus another three million in "other gifts." Their nascent club seats and suites brought in $7.8; the year after things got in full swing and the fancy seat donations brought in $13 million. In 2011 OSU brought in $11 million from its fancy seats and another 3.5 from a "stadium ticket surcharge".
Add it all up and…
|Regular ticket sales||78.5||74.4|
|Suites and club*||22||26|
*[I used the 2011 numbers twice here since it was clear Michigan expected the 2011 number to be closer to accuracy going forward.]
…the gap is essentially nonexistent, the equivalent of $1.70 a ticket over those two years. Without the temporary surcharge Michigan would have an advantage. It's not clear what market Brandon's looking at. If it's the one in Columbus he's wrong.