Season Ticket Sales: Solutions

Submitted by BiSB on April 24th, 2014 at 9:06 AM

There are no more opponents to watch, and the Twitterverse is a sad, scary place these days. As such, I am a man without a column. Anyone with ideas should tell me what to write about. In the meantime, I shall snark upon whatever suits my fancy. Today, that topic is Microeconomics.

HalfEmpty

So, as you may have heard, season ticket sales are really, really not going well for the University of Michigan men’s American Football teamsquad. Now, some might see this as an opportunity for a hearty I-told-you-so. Or to remind certain people that you can shear a sheep many times, but skin him only once. Or to recite The Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs in a somewhat condescending manner (I do a really good goose voice). But we try to be solution-oriented here at MGoBlog, and Aesop doesn’t know crap about marketing, so instead I’d like to offer a few suggestions for improving ticket sales:

Play Someone Interesting – This may seem counterintuitive, but some fans have suggested that the quality of the opponent bears some relationship to their willingness to pay to witness them in action. Now, I question the premise here, as those Twilight movies made a metric crap-ton of money despite that actress being the theatrical equivalent of a botox injection, but nevertheless the program might want to consider a few more intriguing foes:

  • Kansas Jayhawks – Kansas is a power conference team, which makes them automatically a big name, and a chance to watch Michigan beat up on a Charlie Weis team is almost always worth the price of admission. Also, reminding people about the Trey Burke things doesn’t hurt either.
  • Arizona Wildcats – A matchup against a former head coach? What is there to NOT like about this? Think of all the plotlines. The game practically markets itself.
  • Minnesota State Screaming Eagles – Not a traditional powerhouse, but they made a surprising national championship run a few years back. It would probably produce a win, too, as the Screaming Eagles are still in a transition phase after losing head coach Hayden Fox to the Orlando Breakers in a move that didn’t make a damn bit of sense to anyone.

    MinnesotaState
    But Jerry Van Dyke was still awesome.
  • Harlem Globetrotters – Another tradition-heavy program, and bring the WOW Factor Michigan needs in an opponent. Again, this one should produce a win, as the Globetrotters style of play lacks discipline and they are limited by a 28-man roster, only two of whom are over 225 pounds.
  • Appalachian State Mountaineers – How about a rematch that reminds people of one of the lowest moments in the history of the stadium you are trying to fill? Wait, never mind. That sounds terrible. Don’t do that. And whatever you do, don’t LEAD with that.

Move Michigan Stadium closer to the fans – Dave the Brandon recently opined that he wants to improve the “driveway to driveway” experience for fans. And I know my experience would be a lot better if my driveway was closer to the stadium.

Move the fans closer to Michigan Stadium – Related to the previous point, a fan relocation/resettlement program could get people closer to the stadium, and therefore make them more willing to buy tickets. But given real estate prices in the Ann Arbor area, moving an 87-year-old football stadium in every direction simultaneously might be the more feasible and cost-effective solution.

Promotional Giveaways/Tie-ins

Everyone who attends home games should receive the following:

  • App State – A hand-held memory-erasing device (a la Men In Black), or, if that technology isn’t developed in the next four months, a handful of forget-me-nows and a flask of moonshine.
  • Youts

    Two hwaht?

    Miami (Ohio) – A free iTunes download of a replay of Michigan beating someone good. Presumably those can be uploaded from 8mm tape somehow.

  • Utah – A Joe Pesci bobblehead
  • Minnesota – Smelling salts.
  • Penn State – A copy of the award-winning documentary “27 for 27”
  • Indiana­ – Three catches for 41 yards against the Indiana secondary
  • Maryland – 38 pounds of pointy scrap iron.

Name a Starting Quarterback – Okay, this one is unrelated. It would just make us all a lot happier. It’s Gardner. We all know it’s Gardner. Just say it.

Cooler Game Monikers – "Under The Lights" was cool. So was the "Big Chill." And "Under The Lights II." And "Michigan vs. Notre Dame." No one gives a crap about Michigan vs. Miami (Ohio), but who wouldn’t want to attend the Battle of Bo?  Or “App State 2: The Revengening”? Or the “Footprint Classic” against Maryland?

Hashtags – Like game monikers, everyone loves hashtags. Fortunately, Jim Delany had the foresight to bring in a couple of schools who really get this whole social media internet thing.  There is much genius to be gleaned from #BlackoutSparty and #ChopMichigan.

BlackoutSparty

ChopMichigan

#GopherTheJugular

#HoosierFreeSafetySupposedToBeCovering

#TerrapinsAreTerribleMascots

Fan Involvement – Give season ticket holders the chance to win some cool prizes. For example, have a randomly selected student be a “Player for a Day.” They would basically be an honorary member of the team, and do everything the team does on game day. They would dress with the team, run out of the tunnel, warm up, and then play sixty snaps at left guard. Or they could bring Score-O to the football field; have a couple of adults try to throw a football through a hoop from 20 yards, and then have a young kid try from like 5 yards and then the kid plays sixty snaps at left guard. Or stage an alumni golf tournament where your handicap is 100 x how much your name is Steve Hutchinson, and the winner gets to play left guard.

Contra
Tell me you wouldn’t pay a PSL for this.

Better use of the Jumbotron – Michigan is overlooking a huge and largely untapped asset: the two giant-ass televisions in the stadium. At this point, between plays they are mostly wasting those screens with the occasional replay and a bunch of videos of players telling me to get up get up I can’t hear you get up. They could be showing other, probably better games. They could be showing reruns of The Big Bang Theory (surely the stadium must have TBS). They could hook them up to an old school Nintendo, and then let people play huge games of Contra; if no one uses any cheat codes, all 112,000 should be able to play a turn. The possibilities are endless.

Monkey Rodeo – Obvious.

Obvious.

Ticket Prices – Maybe, and only if all of the above items fail, just MAYBE the Athletic Department should look at ticket prices, and whether it is a great business idea to double or triple ticket prices over the last decade, especially when the product on the field has gone to shit and the best games are shipped off to Dallas and you allowed the Big Ten to give you alternating years without either of your rivalry games at home and people can’t even bring a goddamn bottle of water into the stadium and the band has been largely replaced by BUILD ME UP BUTTERCUP and you just implemented and then rescinded a disastrous attempt at the FREEKING EASY concept that is General Admission seating and you implemented a “dynamic pricing” scheme that acts as a one-way ratchet on single game tickets and Athletic Department revenue is soaring as is the Athletic Department’s spending on the Athletic Department and you have otherwise done just about everything imaginable to milk every possible nickel out of our brand loyalty. Just a thought.

WiFi – Never mind, just get some free WiFi working in the stadium. That’ll fix it.

Comments

Hail-Storm

April 24th, 2014 at 10:13 AM ^

As throw away ideas, I was all excited about htis one, and the score-o idea seemed a great idea too.  Sending back some guy from the 20 to the 30 to throw a ball through a hoop while greatly cheering on a kid doing it sounds great.

Also, laughed out loud at the hashtags for the gophers and hoosiers. Also appriciate the Minnesota State throwback. Great humor piece, and just what this board needed.

bluebyyou

April 24th, 2014 at 11:53 AM ^

Playing some good OOC teams would help, but what really matters is winning.

With almost all programs, you need to win to gain the support of your fan base. A losing season or two and you survive, but eventually, fans get tired of paying a lot of money and going home losing.  Then, they stop showing up.  Another slightly over .500 season next year, and even with the vastly improved home schedule in 2015, I'd bet attendance won't be terribly good.  Tennessee is a classic case of a team that went from sellouts to a lot of empty seats, based on little except losing lots of games. My gut is that it is harder bringing fans back when you lose them than it used to be.  Inexpensive 65 inch HDTV's are a relatively recent innovation, and they can change your viewing habits.

I really believe that DB has a very large problem on his hands which can only be rectified by a serious, long-term reversal of the W's and L's.  With Meyer, Dantonio and now Franklin, whom I think will be a real force in a couple of years at Penn State, the bar has been raised. Whether Hoke is up to the task? I'm not so sure.

 

uofmdds96

April 24th, 2014 at 12:18 PM ^

winning games sounds kind of gimmicky to me.

 

But I did love me some Contra in 1987-88 along with some Punch Out.  Played those two all day when we skipped school the day we left for spring break Ft. Lauderdale.  Yeah. I am old, Ft. Lauderdale was the hotspot then.  Yeah, cool story bro.

Autostocks

April 24th, 2014 at 9:25 AM ^

All good points.  Even "win some games."

Personally, I thought briefly about not renewing my tickets, which is kind of a big deal after 35 years (including my undergraduate years).  The allure of a possibly better future schedule brought me around.  Notwithstanding, I have already decided I will not attend the Appy State game and will not sell the tickets.  Instead I will be flushing them down the toilet as soon as they arrive.

MGoBender

April 24th, 2014 at 6:17 PM ^

I appreciate the frustration as I have pretty much accepted that I'll never be able to justify being a UM season ticket holder, despite being twice an alum (my chosen profession does not mesh well with spending 1000s on tickets when I can pick and choose StubHub for 40 bucks).

But give the tickets to some kids or something.

dahblue

April 24th, 2014 at 10:54 AM ^

That commercial would've been better if, at the end when he hands off his jacket and hat to lowly employees, he said, "Hold this shit, you worthless peasant!"

Oh, Dave Brandon, only you could find a way to work yourself into the starring roles in commercials for terrible pizza.  Maybe those calling you the Jerry Jones of the North have a point.

mGrowOld

April 24th, 2014 at 9:41 AM ^

If that picture of the student section wasn't the one I posted here it was taken by somebody standing within 10 feet of my former seats. That is EXACTLY where I used to sit. Also, given my formally long game day commute I especially appreciate the "moving the stadium" idea somewhat closer to Cleveland.

Thanks BiSB.

mGrowOld

April 24th, 2014 at 11:06 AM ^

What the heck Bando - that wasnt the point of what I wrote.  I was talking about the picture.  If i write "where my seats are" then people post "I thought you gave them up".  If I post "my former seats" then you guys accuse me of bringing it up again.  There have been about 10 threads created on the subject (none of which were created by me) and two front page posts by the creators of this blog (which obviously I had nothing to do with).  And I can point to any number of other posters that have been just has vocal about not renewing as I have been so this isnt just an issue about my decision.

Quit trying to make me the poster child for some sort of movement - I'm not.  I'm just one person (of many it seems) than made a decision not to buy this year.

mGrowOld

April 24th, 2014 at 11:32 AM ^

I'm pretty sure it is but not 100%   I remember that dude in the yellow hat and the fact that I couldnt quite get the whole scoreboard in the shot to show how close to gametime the picture was taken.

Ironically enough I took the picture and created the thread because I was in the "mad at students" camp at the time.  Since then I've done a complete 180 and am now firmly on the "I feel bad for the students" team.

Jalm

April 24th, 2014 at 10:02 AM ^

I think a monumental idea would be to sell the name to every position on he field! The Smith Family starting QB Devin Gardener, or The Johnson Family left OT insert warm bodied walk on here.

jmdblue

April 24th, 2014 at 10:02 AM ^

to "inherit" my mother's seats (formerly my deceased father's) for the cost of a transfer fee of some type (this was 15-20 years ago).... I decided against it because I was fairly newly married and a new dad.  Money wasn't everywhere, nor was time.  My (then)wife had no interest in attending more than a game or two.  I thought briefly of scalping a good game or two to pay for the better part of the rest of the package (possible then), but I want to see the good games.  I've never regretted my decision other than the fact that I don't get to sit in the seats we had since I was 6 (Sec 10, Row 70, Seats 20 and 21).  I see all teh games I have time for and bring my 2 kids for $5 - $25/ticket.  Brandon needs to demonstrate a little more value and a lot less 7 Nation Army.

Yo_Blue

April 24th, 2014 at 10:07 AM ^

Count me in!  Unfortunately, the monkeys are currently voting on unionizing and if successful will price themselves out of business.  Either that, or David the Brandon will have to raise ticket prices, PSDs, or both.

NMU Blue

April 24th, 2014 at 10:11 AM ^

That was especially endearing. Rather than fix things, Dave will probably work on finally beating Hollis in golf, because it really is all about Dave.

Mr. Yost

April 24th, 2014 at 10:29 AM ^

...if I was Hoke, I wouldn't name a starter just to keep fucking with you guys. It's weird. It's like you all lose sleep over it.

The ultimate troll would be to have Shane Morris take the 1st snap and throw a bubble screen to Dennis Norfleet, and then come back with 10 straight Gardner stretch play handoffs to Green.

matty blue

April 24th, 2014 at 10:35 AM ^

that brandon is thinking about (and using the phrase) "driveway to driveway."  it really captures...the...um...

wait, what the hell was that?  did i just have a stroke?  there i was, reading what i thought were coherent sentences, and THAT shit popped up.  weird.

Evil Empire

April 24th, 2014 at 10:46 AM ^

is that for the good of the university and the brand, he will arrange mass transit to get me from my friend's house on Shadford Rd. to the Stadium so that I am not forced to walk.  All for the low, low price of $49.99 per game plus a $100/season convenience charge.