Daily Op-Ed: Michigan Football a Two-Star Restaurant

Submitted by GRFS11 on December 3rd, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Interesting op-ed in the Daily from today, which echoes a lot of what people are saying about price increases coinciding with a lesser product on the field.  I like that the author isn't a "die hard" fan, because it shows the perspective of - probably - the majority of the students who come out for the game.  Truth is, while anyone on this blog is probably a huge fan, most of the students have a lot of other stuff going on, and to be asked to pay more for an inferior product, while having it shoved in their faces in awful marketing schemes, seems kind of unreasonable.




Hard to disagree with the quote at the end:  "Would you pay another $280 tab for a full-course Pu Pu Platter of Appalachian State, Miami (not of Florida), Utah, Minnesota, Penn State, Indiana and Maryland in 2014?"



December 3rd, 2013 at 4:07 PM ^

2011 and 2012 are just 2 data points out of 7.  If gas during the week is priced $9, $9, $9, $9, $2, $2, $9 would you say that it was overpriced during that week?


Here is some Data:  Average college football ticket prices, Michigan is 3rd at $230



Since 2007 Michigan is tied with Oregon State and UConn for 48th in total wins.  This data doesn't include 2013 but a 7 win season probably doesn't move us up very much. 



By that discrepancy 3rd most expensive tickets in the country but only 48th most wins in the country I feel confident saying Michigan football is overpriced. 


And for comparison OSU is 2nd at $246, Nebraska is 4th at $210, Iowa is 9th at $166, and PSU is 18th at $133.  






December 3rd, 2013 at 5:15 PM ^

You keep throwing out this "since 2007" stuff.  It's a red herring.  I'm not arguing about 2007-10.  

In 2011 and '12, we went 14-0 at home.   Fans buying season tickets couldn't have gotten a better record than that.  They didn't pay to see the team on the road, or the teams from previous years.  They paid to see the 2011 and 2012 Michigan teams at home, and those teams won 100% of those games.  It's hard to argue that they didn't get their money's worth.





December 3rd, 2013 at 1:46 PM ^

program is unquestionably suffering from an uncertain identity.  Michigan football does not seem to blend well with this "post-modern" era of college football.  It is a puzzle that does not quite go together, the classic square peg-round whole.  As a die-hard fan, I can say that I relate much more so to the basketball program right now.  I don't exactly know why. 


December 3rd, 2013 at 3:17 PM ^

Maybe it's partially because when you listen to John Beilein's pressers, you know after 30 seconds that this is a guy who's in complete command of his team, and knows everything there is to know technically and strategically about the game in general and about how his players can best perform individually and as members of the team.

When you listen to a Brady Hoke presser, it's not particularly clear just what he knows beyond the obvious coachspeak clichés. It's reasonable to assume that he knows quite a bit, but it's not easy to divine that from what he says.


December 3rd, 2013 at 1:53 PM ^


"Legend has it some of his older family members, in order to stay mentally sane and keep their hearts healthy, now refuse to watch the games live. Rather, they record them, read the paper the next day and only watch if Michigan won."


Overall, a nice piece.  


December 3rd, 2013 at 1:59 PM ^

"We continue to drink the “Most Wins in College Football History,” “127 All-Americans,” “42 Big-Ten Titles” Kool-Aid even as we rush for negative 48 yards and get utterly steamrolled by cross-state “Little Brother” Michigan State."

In many other threads, we've mentioned that Michigan's brand equity does do a fair bit to prop it up sometimes and it is very fortunate in that regard. It seems to me that, historically, demand for Michigan tickets is far more inelastic than it is for other programs, and that for us, performance is not a great indicator of attendance necessarily. Very few programs could say that, I think. What I wonder is when do we pass the point where attendance does measurably decrease - are we years and years away or is it closer? I think it is an interesting question. 


December 3rd, 2013 at 2:16 PM ^

Most wins all-time : 27th most wins in the last 10 years

42 Big Ten Championships : 1 in the last 10 years (2004)

68-33-5 all time against MSU : 5-5 in the last 10 years

58-45-6 all time against OSU : 1-9 in the last 10 years


The more I dig into it the more I get depressed.

Everyone Murders

December 3rd, 2013 at 2:30 PM ^

I hate you and your stupid facts.  Well, mostly just your stupid facts.  I guess I don't really hate you.  Shoot, I don't even know you.


That stated, there is some rationality to our continuing loyalty.  Nearly every program has a down period, and we've not really seen one since Bump Elliott.  While this year was disappointing, I remain optimistic about the future. 


December 3rd, 2013 at 2:01 PM ^

What a great analogy.  But like a lot of resturants that used to be great at one time but no longer are, it's living on its reputation for greatness instead of the actual product.   You see it all the time in the food industry - a once great resturant living solely on what it used to be.

Making matters worse for this customer at least, is that the owner (Hoke) keeps telling me his head chef Borges is wonderful and whips up the most AMAZING dishes (like ND & OSU) but for me, every third meal is unedible (PSU, Iowa, Nebraska, MSU, etc) so I'm having a hard time justifying his 5 star prices based on his past glory.


December 3rd, 2013 at 2:18 PM ^

Indeed, and at some point, and I think we are very close to being there, all of a sudden people decide that there is not enough value in the ticket to justify their buying habits.

I my case, I am there.  This last year was the proverbial straw.  Whether I will feel the same way a few months from now, I'm not sure. but I suspect I will. If I really want to see a game, based on this year's activity outside the Stadium, just show up half an hour early......tickets are easy to get.

I believe that the only way Brandon/MSC and her succssor will get the message is when ticket sales fall off the table.  RIght now, I think such an outcome is perilously close to happening.


December 3rd, 2013 at 2:56 PM ^

I love Michigan sports and the university. It has been very good to me and many of my family members. For me, the threshold event that started me thinking and really pissed me off, is when Brandon decided to play his little games with the seat cushions, and then had to back off.  Every thing he does is about money.  I do appreciate the importance of making money in the athletic department, but then, damn him, he needs to have a product that justifies the cost.

The last time I looked, I believe Ohio's football program outspends Michigan's by a very substantial amount.  That needs to change.  

I frankly know of no other way to show my dissatisfaction with the program except by not buying tickets.

Wisconsin Wolverine

December 3rd, 2013 at 6:53 PM ^

I think that's ok.  The only language Brandon and the athletic department speak is money.  Refusal to spend your hard-earned money doesn't say "I don't love my football team" - it says "I'm not satisfied with my athletic department's ways".  And if someone chastises you for being not a good enough fan because the team "isn't worth enough to you" to go to the games, that's bullshit because people don't have unlimited money.  "Worth it" is not the same to a broke-ass PhD student as it is for a 45 year-old successful lawyer/plumber/what-have-you.  You want Brandon to listen, but the only way to speak to him is by pulling your financial support - NOT your fandom.


December 3rd, 2013 at 2:55 PM ^

But I'm not there yet... I've been holding these tickets for 20years now... and I'm wont to give them up yet. 

However I'm @ the tipping point, for what I spend on tickets I could have had a 70" LED  this year and now that everyone but students has to pay a PSL even makes it more and more of a strectch financially. 

I love going to the Big House though and watching the Wolverines play, just how much is the question.

m goblue

December 3rd, 2013 at 2:27 PM ^

I haven't read the article but would just like to comment about football tickets being a  declining product in general.  With dvr and the quality of HD televisions I can get a better view of the game, be more comfortable while watching it and do it for cheaper if I just watch it at home.

I miss out on the atmosphere but truthfully when I want to see a football game I'm paying attention to the game and not really focused on the atmosphere.  I think more and more fans are starting to feel similarly which is causing these seating declines across the country.



December 3rd, 2013 at 2:56 PM ^

I live twenty minutes away from the stadium. It takes me twenty-five minutes to get home after the game. Going to the games every Saturday is a great thing to look forward to every Fall. Some people want that time to get other things done but I have 49 others Saturdays and every Sunday for that stuff. Being in Ann Arbor on game day is really cool. If I were to sit on my couch and watch the game, I would be missing out on not only the atmosphere but having a chance to meet all the great people down there.


December 3rd, 2013 at 2:39 PM ^

Prices are climbing up and up and next year's home slate is awful. Would not be surprised to see one or two games slip under 100,000 actual people (even if the announced attendance is still over)

Students are busy. If the team is mediocre and expensive to see, they're just not going to show up


December 3rd, 2013 at 2:46 PM ^

It would be hard for the powers that be to get away with fudging the numbers that bad.  if 99,000 people attended a game around 10% of the stadium would be empty.  That would be really noticeable.  Even when Akron attendence was announced at 107K (first time under capacity in how many years?) the stadium didn't look much more than 5% empty to me. 


December 3rd, 2013 at 4:03 PM ^

Well I remember at the Big Chill when they announced that the attendance was like 113k when the stadium was clearly a good bit emptier than it would be a football Saturday. The actual count ended up being only 103k I believe.

Many football programs start announcing the sold tickets as the actual attendance when numbers get rough (see: every Eastern Michigan game ever). Wouldn't surprise me to see a spotty upper bowl and a half empty student section announced as 109,000 or something when it's obviously not


December 3rd, 2013 at 2:42 PM ^

Guaranteed garbage every year (Maryland/Rutgers), even-numbered years are worse than ever, massive required donations, no parking, still stuck with Al Borges.


December 3rd, 2013 at 2:46 PM ^

I once disagreed strongly with these types of sentiments.  But that was back when the Citrus Bowl had people whinging.  And before Dave Brandon incorporated and monetized our traditions, and turned the Big House into a garish evocation of the football industrial complex.

Blue in Yarmouth

December 3rd, 2013 at 2:48 PM ^

I've never lived in an area close enough to a professional (or college) sports franchise to know if I would continue to go to games when my team was under-performing. What I do know is that I have had the same favorite teams in sports my entire life and haven't changed those ever. Sadly, recent history hasn't been kind to me as my favorite teams are: Baseball, Toronto Blue Jays; Hockey, Montreal Canadiens; Football, UM; Basketball, Toronto Raptors; Soccer, ManU. Soccer is the only taste of success I have had in ages and the sad thing is, I would trade all my other teams going in the toilet if it meant UM would be good again.

I have never neared the point where I even contemplated rooting for another team but if I lived in A2 and were faced with the decision many of you are in relation to continuing to pay higher prices to see a game...I might be rethinking that purchase in the very near future. I wouldn't be there yet I don't think, but it wouldn't be far off and I wouldn't judge anyone for making that choice.