Michigan Announces New "BliMfold" Initiative Comment Count

Brian July 31st, 2013 at 11:37 AM


ANN ARBOR—Citing the ominpresent threat of terrorism, the Michigan athletic department has announced that all spectators entering Michigan Stadium will be issued blindfolds.

"In our modern age, it is just too risky to allow terrorists the privilege of sight," said athletic director Dave Brandon, "unless they pay a twenty-five dollar fee that drops five dollars per quarter. Twenty-five dollars is our most patriotic fee, until next year when thirty dollars will be our most patriotic fee."

Research shows that terrorists quail at the idea of playing patriotic fees, while Americans do not. This will allow Michigan to easily identify anyone who is a terrorist and shoot them. Anyone removing a blindfold without paying a fee is probably also a terrorist and will be shot. Other people will be shot randomly because the athletic department feels like it can get away with it.

"I don't see what the big deal is," said some guy on a message board who hasn't been to a game since 1982 but enjoys being a prick to people.

In a clever twist, the department has replaced the "n" and "d" in blindfold with a block M on the luxury silk, custom made "bliMfolds," because they have the power of marketing. "Just look at all this concentrated marketing," said marketing whatsit Hunter Lochmann, who marketed himself as "Lochdogg" on the internet for a rather long time, "it is marketing concentrated."

Brandon apologized for the patriotic fees, but stated that someone had to pay for the blindfolds, which are really quite nice. He also conceded that discounts will be offered for games where Adidas issues special uniforms.

In a separate move, the department banned seat cushions because terrorism America love it or leave it.


Hard Gay

July 31st, 2013 at 11:51 AM ^

Right, because they do such a good job of keeping the other prohibited items out of the stadium.

How much more are they going to charge for official seat cushions now?


July 31st, 2013 at 11:53 AM ^

The benefits include a new excuse to stand all game and fewer blue hair.s  But seriously, this is going to make things bad for folks who don't have season tickets as they won't have an option to have a seat cushion added.


July 31st, 2013 at 11:54 AM ^

Once again Dave Brandon proves he is at the forefront ad athletic departmenting. Glad someone is trying to make sure the greatest freest nation in the world is safe from the terrorists, hippies, bucknuts, communists, and she-devils. I only hope they use hollow points on those soulless heathens. I fully support this initiative.


July 31st, 2013 at 11:55 AM ^

I think the dynamic pricing scam sucks shit. Sure it generates more revenue but at what cost to the Maize and Blue faithful. And I'm not talking about $$$ wise, just the fact that the fans are getting raked over the coals.



August 1st, 2013 at 2:19 AM ^

I guess I'm not complaining as I have season tickets so this doesn't hurt me as bad as it does others.

Having prefaced this statement, I don't hate it. And here's my reason.

I remember a game in that not so distant past where, in Michigan stadium the red outnumbered the maize (and blue.)

Why? Because people who bought tickets flipped them for the highest profit.

The spelling aloud of ohio was louder than the booing that attempted to cover it.

People bought tickets for the game, then sold them for profit to whomever was willing to pay the most.

Obviously to those in attendance, the buyers were not fans of the Block M.

The "Dynamic Pricing" may curb those buyers who are in it for a profit from purchasing tickets, replacing them with buyers who are purchasing for purposes of actually GOING TO THE GAME. It seems shitty on the surface, but scrape away the plaque, etch through the surface, and maybe the best interests of the program, and it's fans are finally being looked at.


July 31st, 2013 at 11:56 AM ^

Meanwhile, all blindfolded spectators are allowed to carry concealed firearms because freedom.

Focus groups considered the risks involved in a bunch of blind people shooting at each other in a raucous, tightly packed environment filled with uncertainty.  Upon review, their foremost recommendation was re-naming Stadium Boulevard to Wall Street.

matty blue

July 31st, 2013 at 12:00 PM ^

...at some point, people - average fans - are going to going to get sick of being treated like nothing more than revenue streams at every single turn. 

there's more to michigan sports than an ongoing marketing opportunity, you dumb bastards.

you can bitch about tom goss all you want, and you'd mostly be right, but i for one would LOVE to have someone more like him running this department.  it's mind-boggling to me that dave brandon played for bo.  two more different approaches to michigan sports i cannot imagine.

the bubble is going to burst, folks, be ready.


July 31st, 2013 at 12:27 PM ^

We have had season tickets for more than 20 years, gave two back last year, and aren't going to a single game this year. It is not a protest thing, just that we do, indeed, have better things to do with our kids. I said about 10 years ago, I just hope they make it so the average fan can still attend these games. I think that line has been crossed. More power to the AD if they have marketing research that shows there are 10 people waiting behind me to take my place. I don't feel it. 


July 31st, 2013 at 1:17 PM ^

My family has had 12 season tickets since I got 4 of my own in 2002, 8 for the 38 years before that. All between the 40s.

This year, between the birth of my third child, the 2000 mile trip from the west coast for games, the ever-growing PSDs, the shitty even-year home schedules, and the fact that we could not even give away our *Homecoming* tickets last year vs Illinois, let alone sell them for $20, we gave 8 back.

Dynamic pricing or not, I'll happily pay $300-$500 per seat for games I actually want to attend rather than shell out $1100 per seat per year for 12 season tickets and getting stuck with a 3-6 unsellable home games each year.

It has gotten to the point that I'd rather give the secondary market my cash than give it to the AD.

Meanwhile I've redirected my charitable donations back to academic units and student organizations at UM, where they went before the rise of the PSDs.

Maize and Blue…

July 31st, 2013 at 2:09 PM ^

I hope you enjoy your windfall this year because with next year's schedule your going to have a hard time filling the Big House.  I will always love Michigan sports, but I no longer have any use for the athetic department.  Like others above, the athletic program will never see another dime from me as I will get my tickets on the secondary market.  Donations to athletics won't even be a consideration. 

When my kids ask me this morning if I got tickets to either the ND or Ohio games I had to explain to them what you did with your dynamic pricing policy.  When I told them end zone seats started at $260 and I couldn't afford that they weren't upset with me, but thought you were an a**hole.

You are turning your  back on the younger generation which is not all that smart for someone who always talks about "the brand."  You have priced me out of the opportunity to allow my children to experience the electricity of Michigan Stadium during a rivalry game.  They will never know the joy and emotion of witnessing the team smack Ohio in the Big House and the celebration that goes on inside that magical bowl. Thus, they will never develop the passion for the university I graduated from. This will only serve to weaken "the brand".


July 31st, 2013 at 3:59 PM ^

Your last paragraph really hits the nail on the head. I think live attendance at games of all sorts -- baseball, NFL, everything -- is going to plummet in the next 20 years, and you've explained perfectly why. If you don't grow up going to live sporting events as a kid, and experience the magic of it an an age where the magic means something and the money doesn't, then why would you ever fork over hundreds or even thousands of your dollars to attend a live event as an adult? Especially when you could just watch at home on HDTV?

I know Michigan is just keeping up with the Joneses on this, and that we were among the last major programs to institute a PSL. But being the last lemming off the cliff doesn't mean you haven't jumped off a cliff. And it's going to break my heart not to be able to take my kids to games, but it's not going to break theirs. They'll never know the difference.


July 31st, 2013 at 4:37 PM ^

I did not attend an NFL or major college football game until I had graduated from college and could buy my own ticket.

My family had neither the access nor the  money to afford those kinds of tickets--even back in those golden days of the entire stands being full of young children and their fathers for the OSU Michigan game.

If you want to take your kids to a game, I'm sure there will be plenty of CMU tickets available. It won't make any difference to them who the opponent is. Or take them to the local HS game.


July 31st, 2013 at 2:55 PM ^

away in the same year will push it over the edge. On the heels of the Irish chicken-out, the no rivalry years are a major loss for DB.

In the meantime, who knew a beachball was a projectile-like toy. Look out for those beachballs, you might lose an eye.


July 31st, 2013 at 12:38 PM ^

I think as long as the football team continues to deliver success on the field and excitement for the future they're going to be able to keep this up for a while yet.  If things start to slip, though - and I'm not talking RichRod era, I'm talking 8-4 becoming the norm - then I think the bottom's going to fall out.  See Penn State, Tennessee...


July 31st, 2013 at 12:54 PM ^

more about the money side of things. The higher ticket prices, PSDs, etc. Some people on this board have said that they can't afford to take their kids to games anymore. That is the next generation, and they simply may not care enough to spend the money, either. Get the money while you can, I say, but at what cost to your current and future fan base?

snarling wolverine

July 31st, 2013 at 1:07 PM ^

you can bitch about tom goss all you want, and you'd mostly be right, but i for one would LOVE to have someone more like him running this department.

Revisionism. Goss was no traditionalist. He jacked up ticket prices (while still somehow managing to run a budget deficit) and approved the "halo" around the stadium.

Brandon is just the latest in a long line of Michigan ADs (going back to Canham) who has tried to expand our revenue streams as much as possible.

snarling wolverine

July 31st, 2013 at 1:31 PM ^

If Canham were around today, he'd most likely being doing the same things as Brandon.  The costs of running an athletic department are several orders of magnitude higher now than they were today.   In Canham's day, Bo was making about $50,000 per year, and tuition for athletes was a couple grand.

It's easy to point the finger at Brandon, but his job is to keep the AD solvent without any financial assistance while expenses are skyrocketing, while also fielding winning teams and having nice facilities.  The money has to come from somewhere.   He's doing the job that U-M wants him to do.  The next AD will do the same.  


July 31st, 2013 at 2:55 PM ^

Those costs are not all imposed on Brandon.  He decided to pour a fortune into facilities for non-revenue sports.  He decided to add lacrosse, which offers him an opportunity to pay out-of-state tuition for a bunch of affluent kids to play a sport that (sorry) no one in the midwest watches and few cares about.  He (along with other AD's) creates his own emergency.

snarling wolverine

July 31st, 2013 at 4:09 PM ^

That's a fair point, but I get the sense that the fanbase is generally OK with those moves.  The decision to upgrade lacrosse seems to have been very popular - it's a booming sport in this state.  

But even if we'd kept spartan (no pun intended) facilities for nonrevenue sports and didn't add lacrosse, our costs would still be soaring, and we'd still have the $226M stadium renovation bill to pay off.  


July 31st, 2013 at 2:57 PM ^

What's worse than revisionism? Using a counterfactual to support your argument. No one can say what Canham would or would not be doing today.

Anyway, you might want to account for inflation. A salary of $50,000 in 1969 equates to $323,000 today. Hoke gets quite a bit more than that, but your comparison is misleading.

Finally, solvency is being in the black. The AD is firmly in the black. Maximizing profit =/= solvency.

snarling wolverine

July 31st, 2013 at 4:06 PM ^

Actually, Bo's first salary was $21,000.  I used the $50K figure as a general average.

I know this about Canham: he wanted to win, and he wanted the AD to make money.  He didn't put our logo on everything just to enhance fan enjoyment.   It's actually pretty easy to assume he'd support Brandon's moves.  We never heard a peep from him when his successors took moves to expand the revenue streams.  

What's more, pretty much everything Brandon does is in line with other athletic directors around the country.   Everyone is raising prices on whatever can be sold.  Other schools have gone further, in fact, selling naming rights, putting advertising in their stadiums, and so forth.  Brandon is presented here like some exception, when guys like him are the rule.




July 31st, 2013 at 4:10 PM ^

You know, if the athletic department were offering really cool branded (and maybe extra comfy) seat cushions for sale at the game, but didn't prohibit you from bringing your own, I think people would embrace this move as a smart way to make more money off those who are willing to pay.

The coersion is the key here. If you have to keep people from bringing their own cushions in order to sell cushions to them, you've lost your market.

Admittedly, this is no different than the situation with overpriced food and concession stands that have been there for forever. Then again, I don't think I've ever bought food from the concession stands at the Big House, precisely because I know that a slice of pizza is not worth what they want to charge me for it. And I'm not going to pay for a seat cushion either. And pretty soon, at the rate we're going, I'm not going to pay for the ticket either.

matty blue

July 31st, 2013 at 1:39 PM ^

defending tom goss was obviously not the point of my post, but ok.

i'll say this - i remember thinking that the goss athletic department didn't really know what it was doing, but i also never thought that he and twenty other people in his department spent every waking hour thinking about 'revenue streams' or 'brand' or 'insert marketing jargon here.' 

that is almost exactly the opposite of the brandon department:  they are, if nothing else, deeply, ruthlessly, and bloodlessly competent, every last goddamn one of them...and they NEVER miss an opportunity to squeeze out a few more nickels.

none of which is the point, not really - i don't think that this is necessarily a financially-motivated decision.  it does fit with the general approach toward the michigan fans as some sort of unlimited free resource that will always be there no matter how they are treated.

i keep going back to the 5k race that used to end in the stadium.  that was, to my ignorant, outside-the-department perspective, a 'free' event that built community and made the stadium an inclusive facility.  but the department cancelled it, specifically mentioning their 'private rental program' (or some such) in their press release.  admittedly, they also mentioned the special olympics event, which is a Good Idea by any measure.

i'm not saying that the department and the stadium are some sort of public utility - they're not - but it's hard to read this kind of stuff and think that the department cares all that much about normal fans.  unless such caring can get them a few more bucks.

snarling wolverine

July 31st, 2013 at 2:21 PM ^

When Canham was AD, he was accused of being a money-grubber for putting the block M on every possible merchandising item - people felt he was downgrading our school into a commodity to be bought and sold, betraying our traditions and so forth.  

When Goss was AD, he was accused of being a money-grubber for raising ticket prices dramatically.  He was also accused of not caring for tradition, with the halo as Exhibit A.  

When Bill Martin was AD, was accused of being a money-grubber for pushing an extremely expensive stadium renovation plan and introducing tiered seating costs.  A lot of the banned items on the list started under him.  He was accused of not caring for our "tradition of egalitarianism" by adding boxes to the stadium.

With Brandon as AD, here we are.

Our next AD will find ways to raise money Brandon never dreamed of - count on it.   People will then complain and claim that "Brandon wouldn't have gone that far."  It's how it is.  In college athletics, you either whore yourself out to raise money, or lose tens of millions.



Twin Otter

July 31st, 2013 at 3:02 PM ^

I'm also on board with the Bayern Munich president's sentiments.  Several sports - EPL, NFL, NHL - have already priced out loyal, everyday fans.  My parents didn't take me to Michigan games when I was a kid and money part of the reason why.  I had to wait until I was a student or started working after graduating to attend games.


July 31st, 2013 at 3:09 PM ^

Your points are totally valid.  I think the outrage here has more to do with the extent to which these strategies by DB squeeze money out of people, many of whom are of limited financial means, who have supported Michigan football for decades.  

It costs a lot of money to run an athletic department of this size, and I'm not pretending to have all of the answers.  But it leaves a REALLY bad taste in my mouth to see this resultant alienation of so many members of the Michigan family, especially considering how our community of fans and alumni make this such a great University with which to be associated.

matty blue

July 31st, 2013 at 3:45 PM ^

this is not a binary choice between whoredom and insolvency

look, i'm not saying that we should just drop ticket prices back to pre-canham levels and never raise them, or that the facilities shouldn't be improved, or sports shouldn't be added, or anything of the sort.  i'm well aware of what was said about canham and his successors.  i was there.

what i AM saying is that we are approaching some sort of critical mass here.  look in this thread - how many people say they've given up their season tickets because it's just too damn expensive...we're not average fans here, either, right?  i think that we're the proverbial canaries in the coal mine.



July 31st, 2013 at 4:22 PM ^

My friends all come back to Ann Arbor for one game every year. These people are doctors and lawyers and such. I bought two tickets today for Nebraska with the dynamic pricing and they were for $271 a piece after fees. They're on the 50 yard line row 75, so they are good seats, but goddamn that's a lot to pay per seat for the third best game of the year. And I am trying to get one of my friends to take the other ticket but I have no takers because they are all just planning on scalping because everyone knows that you can get a ticket for way less than that outside the stadium before the game.