Attendance problem for MBB?

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on February 21st, 2017 at 8:32 AM

It looks like only single seats are available when I was going to buy tickets for Saturday's game, so Saturday might be a sellout.

But so far through 17 home games, we've had 0 sellouts. Not even the game against MSU sold out. In fact, it was the lowest-attended MSU game since the 70s.

What is contributing to this? Even in horrendous seasons we sold out at least a couple games.

If Saturday fails to draw an announced sellout, it will be the first time since the 1998-99 Brian Ellerbe season.

Here are the attendance figures so far-

Date Opponent Result Attendance
11/11 Howard W 76-58 10,094
11/13 IUPUI W 77-65 10,812
11/26 Mount St. Mary's W 64-47 9,410
11/30 Virginia Tech L 70-73 9,981
12/3 Kennesaw State W 82-55 10,687
12/6 Texas W 53-50 10,613
12/13 Central Arkansas W 97-53 9,486
12/17 UMES W 98-49 12,020
12/22 Furman W 68-62 10,634
1/4 Penn State W 72-69 11,385
1/7 Maryland L 70-77 11,527
1/14 Nebraska W 91-85 11,145
1/21 Illinois W 66-57 12,234
1/26 Indiana W 90-60 11,267
2/4 Ohio State L 66-70 12,196
2/7 Michigan State W 86-57 11,864
2/16 Wisconsin W 64-58 12,128




February 21st, 2017 at 8:37 AM ^

The WSJ yesterday had an article on the declining popularity of televised and live sporting events across the sports spectrum.  This is mostly driven by Gen Z (ie college students), but is now slopping over into other demographics.  Various sporting authorities are trying to figure out how to shorten games to attract people who don't want to spend so much time.  They even suggest shortening baseball games to 7 innings.


February 21st, 2017 at 8:42 AM ^

Make the events shorter? Is that really what the WSJ or the "sporting authorities" concluded (I did not read the article, I admit)? How about they drop the price on these things to less than the price of mortgage on a small house for a family of four? I consider myself pretty financially secure, but I have a hard time convincing myself that a few hours at a stadium is worth $400-$800 when I can get a better view in my living room... 

1989 UM GRAD

February 21st, 2017 at 11:19 AM ^

Where are you going for your haircuts?  

It's worth the extra $10-15 so that you don't look like a "shorn phallus."

Not to mention the excellent shampooing skills of the folks at a decent salon.  I know this CSB is going to open me up to ridicule, but I was once way overdue for a haircut when I was in NYC.  Went to the salon my good friend (gay) uses.  Haircut was $80, but the ten-minute shampoo/scalp massage provided more than an adequate ROI.

With tips, I'm currently at $40 at an upscale salon in Birmingham, MI.


February 21st, 2017 at 12:27 PM ^

Mine are $15 at the local barber. The haircut is better and faster than other bin name places I have been - and no, it's not a crew cut. He will aslo sell you darts and regrip your golf clubs. BONUS - he is a short walk from the bakery!


February 21st, 2017 at 12:55 PM ^

When I was younger, I used to get my haircut at very well known black barber's shop in A2 (there are only 2 of those as far as I'm aware, so you have a 50/50 shot at which one it is).  After far too many times of getting a bad looking fade/lineup to go along with some painful incidents, I asked my mom to buy a set of clippers.  For about 20 years now, I've been doing my own hair, and all it costs me is about $50 every 5 years for a nice new quality clipper set.

My offspring however, is all females, so I cannot pass down my skills and savings to them.


February 21st, 2017 at 3:37 PM ^

I cut my hair myself, I bought a machine to cut my dog's hair but he's afraid of it so I decided to use it myself. I just grab the #2 brush and take out the sides and then just kinda trim the top so it looks even. I don't know if I should feel good about saving 5 years worth of haircuts or if I look like a cheap bastard. Anyways nobody has ever said anything to me, unless I kind of go a little crazy and give myself a mohawk.


February 21st, 2017 at 9:14 AM ^

I'm curious the price of tickets nowadays. I will say, back in the 80's, I was able to get season tickets for basketball for maybe $75, iirc. And I vaguely remember season football tickets in the late 70's for maybe $250? I can't remember whether it was 2004 or 2007, but I went to the Rose Bowl, and we were able to get a ticket for face value for less than the cost of a regular season ticket today! When you add up food, incidentals, lodging, a ticket to the game, gas, maybe lodging, a program, maybe a t-shirt, it costs a fortune. Pro sports are worse. Honestly, I don't know how people really can afford to go to NFL, NBA, NFL games at all. I guess I'm too frugal. But the whole thing seems like such an obscene money grab.

Chalky White

February 21st, 2017 at 10:37 AM ^

I agree on the cost. The donation and PSD alone put season tickets out of the range of my 5 member family.

My main issue is the time of year. Parking is never convenient even though the arena is half full. Pioneer seems to be The closest lot unless someone knows a better lot. The season falls during the coldest months of the year. It feels like I'm walking 10 minutes from my car to the first traffic light. It feels like I'm waiting another 10 minutes for the light to change. Once I get across to the next light, I'm waiting 5 to 10 more minutes. I'm looking at anothe 10 minute walk from the light to Crisler if the crowd is moving at a decent pace. I'd rather watch at home than spend 20 to 30 minutes in 15 degree weather to and from the arena.


February 21st, 2017 at 11:07 AM ^

For season tickets (upper bowl corner) the price per game is about $20. Fewer people have interest in becoming season ticket holders. And those that aren't will have to pay a 50-100% premium in many cases for their tickets to the game. That, along with a less than entertaining team, I believe are the biggest factors. I will gladly go watch a game in the upper bowl for $20.


February 21st, 2017 at 12:58 PM ^

This is the exact reason i have stopped going to away hockey games for Michigan hockey. I used to try to go to Munn and one Wisky, OSU, or Penn State. Right now, my couch is looking a lot more comfortable than row 6 in section 13 of Yost. That, I can have as many beers as I want from the comfort of my own home. 


February 22nd, 2017 at 1:13 AM ^

MBB games for like $10.  Any game that is selling for $400-800!!! is in such high demand that it is sold-out.  Exchanges like Stubhub actually make it easier than ever to quickly find cheap, under face tickets than ever before.  Your logic does not hold here.

Length of football games is a total downer.  With college games regularly going four hours with super-long commercials they are for all but the most die-hard fans, insufferable.

But even with product and price issues aside there are just far more options for entertainment that people are choosing over live sports.  Kids would rather send photos of themselves with dog tongue filters and others would rather watch the insane amount of incredible scripted television available on-demand.

Sports are dying a slow death such that anyone but the most die-hard fans or gamblers probably won't care in 20+ years.


February 21st, 2017 at 9:20 AM ^

I'm sure that I am breaking some rule of the blog, but from the WSJ:


"What’s clear now, however, is that the urgency is coming from inside the games. There’s a general acceptance that younger audiences aren’t going to be spending as much time watching sports as their parents did—at the very least they’ll be consuming them differently—and this amounts to existential trouble. You try watching a kid watch sports today? The refrain goes. They don’t even really watch it! They’re watching 12 things at once—bouncing around on their phones and tablets and the TV and whatever SnapFace is. It isn’t just the big leagues that are worried. It’s every sport. And it isn’t only the sports we watch on TV—it’s the sports we all play, too. Every game needs to be fast. Golf, in particular, is in a high panic that asking anyone under 80 years old to play 18 holes is like asking them to take a month-long canoe trip down the Amazon. Are you kidding me? Eighteen holes of golf? What do you think I am, dead?"


February 21st, 2017 at 9:49 AM ^

Oh, I agree with the golf part at least. I don't play much any more, but who the hell wants to spend 5 hours on a Saturday or Sunday - plus a drive on each end, etc. - playing? That's a huge time commitment if you have other shit to do... 

Pepto Bismol

February 21st, 2017 at 10:10 AM ^

I'd be interested to see the golf numbers (attendance, viewership, recreational players) today compared to the 80s and early 90s. 

We all know golf spiked in popularity with the emergence of Tiger Woods.  A regression back to the pre-Tigermania norm would not be surprising. 

Lou MacAdoo

February 21st, 2017 at 10:31 AM ^

I'm a lover of golf and used to play a couple times a week, but ever since I got married, bought a house, and had kids that's changed. Now I really only like to go first thing in the morning. The hackers don't start chopping broccoli until 8 or 9 so if you can get out before that you're golden. Getting 18 done before noon and having the rest of the day ahead of you is ideal.  


February 21st, 2017 at 11:12 AM ^

Enjoy the beautiful weather? Relax? Be social? Unwind and reduce stress? It's the same time commitment as a football game. If you don't like playing 18, play 9. Almost every course allows 9, and damn near every league is 9. Par 3 are also great options for fun, short and cheap. We aren't pros, we don't have to play 18 holes.


February 21st, 2017 at 12:46 PM ^

Golf for sure has a pace of play problem, but like the doom and gloom about other sports it's hardly experiencing an existential crisis. In almost all cases, the demand curve (if you're not focused on one corse or one game or one team) hasn't changed much at all, but there's oversupply and/or prices have gone up significantly relative inflation. I was briefly part of the same exact conversations btwn the Maize Rage and the AD about attendance during the Amaker years. Ultimately, the AD needs to make it more feasible and enjoyable to attend games.


February 21st, 2017 at 2:28 PM ^

hear all this and that about the game of golf being on the decline and nobody is playing etc. etc.  Why is it then that every course is Southeast Lower Michigan is basically booked all day Friday-Sunday on every weekend day?  Why is it that it can be difficult getting a tee time on a summer weekday sometimes?  How is it that, at least the good courses, look like they are in better shape than ever?

I know that people say the sport is on the decline and it may be, according to certain metrics, but you would not know it when you go to the course.  It looks to me like there is as much play as ever.


February 22nd, 2017 at 1:24 AM ^

golf courses gonna make hay for the next 10-20 years until that huge generation ages out of the population.

I don't think we'll see as big decline in the participation of sports, in general, as we will in the viewing sports of sports though.  If you're going to look at a screen, you now have so many other things that are more appealing to watch/interacting with.

It'll still be a slow decline with a long tail.


February 22nd, 2017 at 1:02 AM ^

Where to start on golf?

Jordan Speith just turned 23 or something, and he's not alone, just the most accomplished of his peers. I go to the range at my local club and it's full almost all the time, with everything from grandparents to 20-somethings to HS kids to peewees with their dads. 

4-5 hours on a Saturday (on a nice day anyway) is a drag to you?! What the Hell would you rather be doing? And by all means please do that instead, so my round may only take 4 hours (minus watching you search for your ball every other hole!)


Pepto Bismol

February 21st, 2017 at 10:06 AM ^

"Whatever SnapFace is"?  

This is the guy dialed into the sporting viewership of today's young adults?  This is the guy who understands the social media multi-tasking of college students?  The guy with his finger on the pulse of today's youth?  Mr. SnapFace?

I doubt it. 


February 22nd, 2017 at 1:47 AM ^

readers of WSJ which are old accountants and business types that shake their fist at "kids these days".  Unfortunately, publishers have to use way too much editorialism and not enough journalism because people don't want to read actual research or facts, they want to read things that affirm their already held beliefs.


February 21st, 2017 at 10:29 AM ^

I'm 57 and like to attend games but cant stand slow-paced events and constant TV timeouts drive me nuts.  I dont go to baseball games anymore cause I cant see spending 4 hours (plus driving and parking) to watch a game and I dont golf anymore cause I have a family and would MUCH rather spend the time with them than 8 hours on a golf course.

Look at how long baseball games used to take in the 40's and 50's and compare that to today.  It's over twice as long and nothing more is going on - just more stoppages that take longer when they stop.  

As long as TVs keep getting better and games keep getting longer and more expensive to attend this trend will continue.  The economic model for pro sports cannot sustain itself IMO and something's got to give.