No Second MSU Game At Yost This Year Comment Count

Brian August 12th, 2014 at 11:54 AM

We found out why the first Michigan State hockey series was "TBA" yesterday, when it was announced that the two teams would play an outdoor game in Chicago. There are about 50,000 reasons that's a questionable decision—as in the number of people who won't be at this who would if it was on either campus.

Michigan is due to get two home games against State this year, Michigan and MSU have a contract to play at the Joe annually, and the other MSU game is still ominously "TBA":


I just called the ticket office, and they said they were told that the January 30th game is at the Joe.

I, like a lot of season ticket holders, have already renewed my season tickets, and now I am informed that a game against Michigan's biggest rival is going to be in Chicago. This is how you lose people forever, Dave Brandon. But I'm sure the one-time benefit from playing in Chicago is more important than not making your season ticket holders feel like saps. Clueless. This athletic department is clueless.



August 12th, 2014 at 11:17 PM ^

On July 21, 2014, the Athletic Department sent an e-mail to all season ticket holders from the previous season with the renewal deadline (August 6, 2014) and a link to the above article, with the February 7 game listed as a home game.

So as of 3 weeks before the announcement of the game yesterday, they were strongly implying to potential season ticket holders that the game would be at Yost...and they required us to decide whether to renew before they announced that the game would be played in Chicago, Illinois.

Space Coyote

August 12th, 2014 at 12:08 PM ^

I'm not a hockey season ticket holder, I'm not a season ticket holder for anything, so maybe I just don't understand. Does it suck that you get one less home game at Yost? Certainly. But in the same vein as "People in charge of things because they're in charge of things," I feel a lot of "people angry about things because they're angry about things."

Michigan and MSU both have a ton of Alums in Chicago, maybe more than in any other single city. People, in general, like going to hockey games outdoors, and Michigan/MSU has had a pretty good recent history of playing games outdoors. We've done Spartan Stadium, we've done Michigan stadium, I don't see a one-off even in Chicago as that awful of a thing.

It would have been better if they told people before buying season tickets. I'm sure contract negotiations and what not prevented such a thing. I'm not sure if people with season tickets get a ticket to this event or not. Again, if not, that sucks. But I just don't get outrage from this. This will probably be a money maker for hockey, it will certainly bring publicity to the program, recruits and players like all that and playing it, and the many alums in Chicago will get to go and see their team play near-by in an outdoor venue. It sucks that some others have to drive 4 hours and rent a room for a night and visit Chicago (a city I don't in general much enjoy myself) that otherwise would have got to see them play at Yost, maybe it would be better if this replaced the game at the Joe, but outrage over this seems to be overstated, IMO.

But I think that's the case for many of the things people are outraged about with the AD. I think there are some things that deserve some frustration, others as minor annoyance (jerseys), and others I can genuinly see both sides of the argument. But I dunno, like I said, I'm not a season ticket holder. I'm sure others have justifiable reasons for seeing some of it differently. I just think the constant outrage has made the whole outrage lose much of it's initial meaning.


August 12th, 2014 at 12:15 PM ^

Surprise! You disagree with me at length, and agree with whoever is making nonsense decisions. 

It is fucking bullshit as a hockey season ticket holder. If M wants to prioritize fans 300 miles away from their hockey program's struggling attendance that is a choice they can obviously make. But it will make everyone who bought a season ticket livid. 

You don't get the outrage about anything. We get it. You didn't get the outrage about Borges. You probably still don't. And that's fine. But maybe it's time to look at yourself as the problem there. I think you have Yes Man disease. 


August 12th, 2014 at 12:27 PM ^

You hit the nail on the head.  But that has to be weighed against the "It is fucking cool as an alumni in Chicago" and the "It is fucking cool as a hockey player" and the "It's fucking cool as a hockey recruit" and the "It's fucking cool as someone who likes more money". 

Does it alienate and upset season ticket holders?  Yes.  Does one of those season ticket holders happen to have a really powerful megaphone to broadcast his displeasure?  Yep.  That doesn't make the math and logic behind the decision obviously wrong...  


August 12th, 2014 at 1:01 PM ^

... perfect would have MSU vacating the home game so people don't have to enter that shithole of a city.  I 100% agree.  My point is that the answer is not often right for everybody and shouldn't be viewed as such.  It absolutely 100% sucks for season ticket holders, and I agree that this is not an audience you want to alienate.  That's the cost.  That needs to be weighed against the benefit to really understand the value.  If you are not doing that, you are no better than the columnists that write for the newspapers we rail against for being myopic or partial.  In this case, Brian, as an avid fan and season ticket holder, is putting on his editorial hat and providing his personal opinion based on the impact to him and people like him.  And, hell, it's his blog.  He can do what he wants.

In my opinion, though, it's dangerous as a blog that values data analytics to assert a position that's visceral without admitting that the position is visceral and the argument more nuanced.   


August 12th, 2014 at 2:09 PM ^

There isn't anything nuanced about your argument.  Your entire claim is that the borderline fraudulent behavior from the athletic department is acceptable because some people will benefit from the fraud.  Okay, yes, some people usually benefit when others are cheated out of what they paid for.  Most rational, intelligent humans don't factor that into the cost-benefit analysis because they are capable of recognizing such actions as inherently wrong.


August 12th, 2014 at 4:34 PM ^

... the season ticket holders should sue. I don't see it as "inherently wrong" when taken as a whole.  Do I think it alienates an important group?  Yes.  Is it inherently wrong?  No.  It needs to be placed in perspective and understood as part of the whole.  

It's not like murder has been committed.  And even in that case, people need to understand context before making judgement.


August 12th, 2014 at 1:46 PM ^

this behavior from the AD is systemic.  they take for granted the continued support of the season ticket holders and reduce the value of what they get in return for their dollars to help build something else.  

Before I was compelled to send in my PSL for this coming season (or it might have been two years ago -- the off season before a ND/OSU on the road schedule), I received something that implied how fortunate I am that my PSL was staying the same this season.  Well thanks. The slate of games was/is terrible and I should feel fortunate that I'm being offered a short slate of games for my PSL and most of the games are terrible (but still $75 per ticket).  

At the same time, the ever increasing ticket prices have caused most of the people I enjoyed seeing every fall to abandon their tickets.  Making it feel less like the communal Michigan experience it was for the prior 15 years than it has been for the last five or six.  

And the traditions that we all had as a common experience: hearing the band as the focal point of intermissions in play (in lieu of pop/rock music I can hear whenever I'm in the car), new uniforms and helmets (which scream Walmart Wolverine), and the effing non-stop drivel coming out of the Jumbotron speakers (ads/non-ad type things, Doug Karsch, etc), have all been traded in for building the brand bullshit.  Please stop trying to make every game the Super Bowl (but coming off as a minor league all-star game), and treat it like church where people are drawn to come every week.

Everything the AD does is about stealing from the loyal base of fans/alumni in an effort to make more money and hopelessly court fickle fans that at their heart, don't give a shit. The AD needs to think about who really supports things in the department, and start giving some back.  


August 12th, 2014 at 12:42 PM ^

A couple of years ago after I had written something about the annual January M/MSU game at JLA becoming a little tired, Shawn Hunwick pulled me aside and told me that the players love every chance they get to play in an NHL arena or in a special event. I suspect there is a recruiting draw in a team's continued participation in such venues.

I wish we played at Yost more and away from Yost less, but it's worth considering that 1 or 2 of our current crop of elite recruits might've chosen to come to Michigan partially for the opportunity to play in high visibility games/events like this (as much as I dislike an MSU game being taken from Yost)



August 12th, 2014 at 1:06 PM ^

Interesting point. And I'd have to believe that Red was at least consulted about this; if he and the players hated stuff like this, I doubt it would be Michigan who always seems to get these games.

Keep in mind that the "Big venue" draw is one thing that NCAA hockey has over the top competition in the OHL. The best OHL teams have rabid fan bases and great venues, but they never sniff big stadium games and never get to play in big NHL arenas. New Michigan recruits can look forward to at least three games a year in the new Red Wings arena when it opens and probably at least one or two stadium games.


August 12th, 2014 at 7:49 PM ^

road in football, and then voluntarily chooses to play its only hockey home game rival in a neutral site that while expedient for many Michigan alums outside Detroit still perpetuates the scheduling malaise that is 2014, and simply invites the hysteria that hockey season-ticket holders are feeling, especially when there is no discount or in lieu of compensation offered for this move. 

And what's more, making this truly a bullshit move by the AD is selling the idea that the fan base is somehow getting a price break without explaining how that price break materialized --shortchanging one of the marquee home games on the schedule. 

This thinking, by the way, whether seemingly innocent or not, goes against the contention that scheduling algorithims were the primary cause of facing all your football rivals on the road in one season. How does that ever happen? Yeah, next year, will be different, I get it. 

So to should one get the anger emanating from those upset about this scheduling SNAFU. It won't impact me because I'm not in town or a season ticket holder. But I get their anger. 

Doc Brown

August 12th, 2014 at 5:24 PM ^

Yep, I am pretty pissed off as a season ticket holder for hockey. Brandon advertised a 15% reduction in price. However, when one does the math you will find an increase in $1.62 per game this season. Hmmmm....Now those of us in the SE michigan area lose one home game, so Brandon can build the brand out of state. Now, I know how long time football season ticket holders felt when Brandon moved the Bama game to Texas. It is a bait and switch. With my two tickets for the season the increase in price with a loss of one game amounts to a total of ~$62. Not a lot, but it is the principle of the matter. You can only dick over your season ticket holders so much before they turn on you. 


August 12th, 2014 at 12:30 PM ^

I would love a show of hands of all the upvoters to Space's post who were Hockey season ticket holders.  My guess is the number would be very close to zero.  No WAY could you have invested money only to find out of the biggest games of the year is being moved several hundred miles away and not be pissed as hell about it.


Space Coyote

August 12th, 2014 at 12:38 PM ^

And indicated as much in my post. I probably don't understand the season ticket holder outrage here, because I don't have season tickets. If I had season tickets, I'd be bias toward that POV, because I'd want the ticket I thought I paid for. But as someone without season tickets, I am trying to see what the other side of the argument is, and I guess my point is in general that I see some understandable reasons for doing this. 

I do think Stephen RJ King brought very good thought behind why season ticket holders are upset though.

Honestly, my guess though, is that the people that upvoted my post didn't even necessarily strongly agree with my stance on this topic, I think it's more a general malaise to the constant AD-outrage than anything. As someone who is fairly prominent on the board it's easier for me to come out and say something than it is for someone who isn't as prominent that would more likely get blasted, even if he said the same exact thing. 


August 12th, 2014 at 12:46 PM ^

I pay Dave Brandon a thousand dollars a year for two hockey tickets. If he wants to piss me and everyone else who does the same off so he can have an outdoor game in front of a half-empty stadium with zero people in it who will ever buy a season ticket without moving, that is a terrible business decision. 

Doing it *after* everyone renewed their tickets with the promise of 15% off is one step beyond that. 

You are constantly trying to see the other POV even when that POV is incredibly hard to justify. That makes it seem like you are disagreeing just to disagree. This is a slap in the face to hockey season ticket holders in exchange for almost no long-term value. 

Can you agree with that? Is it possible for you to agree with that premise? 

Space Coyote

August 12th, 2014 at 12:50 PM ^

As long as it doesn't just make me a Yes man.

But yeah, I see how it seems to be a slap in the face. I tend to think the 2nd paragraph is the real slap in the face, the first one more of an adding fuel to the fire.

Again, maybe I'm just over-saturated here, I'll step back and not comment on these topics anymore a let the people that want to vent vent. As I don't have a dog in this fight outside of general occasional enjoyment of watching Michigan hockey, I'm fine with stepping back.


August 12th, 2014 at 1:08 PM ^

This is a slap in the face to hockey season ticket holders

No one is arguing this, it obviously is


in exchange for almost no long-term value.

This is the part that I think is debateable. Certainly in the short term, a lot of Chicago residents come out ahead and are excited. College Hockey needs exposure in general and big spectacles like this are great for expanding the sport. It's the same reason Real Madrid and Manchester United crossed an ocean to play at the Big House. I'm sure the players are excited and it probably almost certainly helps with recruiting as well. Granted, they might have been able to pull all that off without screwing over the season ticket holders.


August 12th, 2014 at 1:12 PM ^

As a Chicago resident, hockey is growing rapidly in this area.  There is nowhere to see College hockey within an hour-ish drive, and that's to Notre Dame.  While what happened to season ticket holders is unfair, there are a lot of benefits to expand college hockey into this region.


August 12th, 2014 at 1:14 PM ^

Yes the Madrid-United match was a great way to expand the sport in the US but neither one of those teams gave up a home match to play over here. It was part of a pre-season tour and was solely marketing based.

This, on the other hand, would be fine if they hadn't ended season ticket renewals five days before announcing it. A bunch of other people have beaten that to death at this point, but that's the main problem. Factor in that you just removed one of the two best games on the home calendar and it's a huge slap in the face to everyone who bought season tickets.


August 12th, 2014 at 1:23 PM ^

Most Chicago residents will not be excited. When they did this in Cleveland the stadium was mostly empty. This will be mostly empty. Even if they are, "excitement" in Chicago is not translatable to anything that affects Michigan hockey. Vague, short-lived good feelings 300 miles away from the arena are not useful assets. 

And the "granted" section is ridiculous. That is a big deal. Intentionally screwing your customers is a *much* bigger mistake than you are making it out to be.