Submitted by James Burrill Angell on April 28th, 2014 at 7:38 AM
Apparently Dave Brandon has the answer to making the Michigan Football experience better. Just read: http://www.freep.com/article/20140428/SPORTS06/304280022/michigan-wolve… I mean, is it me or does this article make our Athletic Director seem completely out of touch with reality. I know it's been said before but if the pizza doesn't taste good, the Noid isn't going to make people buy it. I just don't get this guy. If Brandon ever gets a statue on campus like Bo's, the wall behind it has better say "The Brand, The Brand, the Brand". I just don't see how they think better Internet connectivity is going to make it alright to charge what amounts to over $100 a ticket (with PSD's) for a bad schedule and a team that hasn't fared particularly well in the last seven or so years. I just don't get this guy.



April 28th, 2014 at 7:47 AM ^


Everyday I like msu more and more. At this rate, given my extreme hatred towards them, I won't be a fan for about 10,000 years, but this upcoming season, I am afraid, is going to see the attendance record drop under 100,000 an after that, what will we have?


April 28th, 2014 at 9:21 AM ^

and we are installing Wi-Fi in stadiums across the country - professional and NCAA.  The demand is there and teams are creating apps for their fans.  We did the whole campus for Stanford, including the iCardinal app.

Sprint installed Wi-Fi at NASCAR stadiums, but you have to have a Sprint device to use it.  Fans are not happy if they have service from another carrier. Most stadium Wi-Fi services are open to any device.

There will be a segment of the Michigan in-stadium fans that will like this added feature.  However, the a portion of ticket price from non-Wi-Fi users will be used to pay for this service.

Wolverine Devotee

April 28th, 2014 at 8:04 AM ^

This is very disturbing.

When Fielding Yost designed Michigan Stadium, he just wasn’t thinking about the Internet and bandwidth,” Brandon said. “We know that what our customers want is the ability to be able to sit there and be able to surf the web and call up replays and do all of the things they can do in their armchair at home

No, Dave. Nobody gives a shit about replays. Nobody cares about donuts, piped-in music, Kraft noodles or the WOW factor. People care about winning football games.

I don't want customers in Michigan Stadium. I want fans.

Not hard to see how this guy ran a pizza company.......into the ground.


April 28th, 2014 at 11:02 AM ^

are priceless. If you always look at them as customers--the corporate POV--you risk losing them as fans. Making them fans is sometimes the work of generations. Treating them as mere customers risks losing them very quickly. 

Looking at every single feature of human life through an economic prism is a relatively recent development. A tragic one. 


April 28th, 2014 at 11:12 AM ^

I logged in to upvote you.  I have worked in mental health facilities for the past 12 years.  The focused used to be on patient care.  Now the focus is on maximizing revenue streams.  I understand that money makes the world go round, but it seems that business interests trump all other interests these days.  It is sad.


April 28th, 2014 at 11:52 AM ^

desperate people to keep away from suicide; they just keep going up. His company provides a function that the state once did. They recently told him he can no longer bring clients a cup of coffee when they're upset--cost-cutting measure. 


April 28th, 2014 at 12:58 PM ^

A random note (downvote me if you must for going off-topic), but in regards to sammylittle's comment  on patients on healthcare facilities, I strongly recommend one watches the new HBO show "Getting On".  One of the main themes is the Supervising Nurse treats as patients as "customers" and obviously a lot of the nurses rightfully dislike that.  I also may mention it is a hilarious show and I am usually very picky with comedies.



Benoit Balls

April 28th, 2014 at 11:44 AM ^

to upvote you as well.

Recently I have been wondering if maybe this signals the beginning of the dystpoian futures we have all read about over the years.  Perhaps it's not the computers becoming self aware, or actually taking over, but since we can now quantify millions of data points, see everything on a spreadsheet and sqeeze every last  nickel out of everything from football fans to employees, we are basically being "optimized" for someone else's benefit.

Or, I may just have too much free time.


April 28th, 2014 at 12:16 PM ^

Here is a little story about true "Customer Relationship Management" (CRM), which has become a trendy buzzword:
I grew up in a former Appalachian coal mining town.  There's a bar on almost every street corner, where the miners used to go when they were done with a hard day's work.
When you go into one of these bars (you usually don't just walk in, you tend to go in with somebody who they already know) they get to know you over time.
You start the night out by putting your $20 bill at the edge of the bar.  The bartender serves you drinks, and for each drink he takes the money to pay for the drink out of the money you put at the edge of the bar.  He keeps on serving you drinks and paying for them out of that money.
Every once in a while, he serves you a drink and does not touch the money.  "It's on the house", he says with a smile.  He does not have to do it, we're going to drink there all night anyway.  The dude's got to make money.  The economy is poor in former coal mining towns.  Yet every once in a while, he gives you a free drink.    He wants you to know that he values you as a customer.  It's not all about scraping every last dime out of your hide as quickly as possible, and moving on to the next chump.  He treats you like he values your relationship.
This is what bugs me about Dave Brandon, he does not treat us fans as if he really values our relationship.  If he thinks he can make a quick extra buck by sticking a finger in our eye and charging for seat cushions or water or whatever, he'll do it . . . because he can.  If we don't like it, he'll move on to the next chump. 
That may work with mass-volume pizza marketing, but it's starting to not work with college football fans who are the epitome of "relationship" customers.  He needs to take a lesson from those bartenders in the mining towns . . . treat us like you actually value our relationship and we'll stick around.


April 28th, 2014 at 12:27 PM ^

and the ironic part about it, is that if you treat customers/fans with respect and don't treat them that way, they'll be more loyal with you in the long-term and spend more money in subsequent seasons.  The problem with Brandon sometimes is that (as with many business owners) their thoughts are only on the short term.


April 28th, 2014 at 4:58 PM ^

...with your point.  I was simply noting that there has always been a significant financial motivation to Michigan football.  The issue, as you rightly note, is that we appear to have crossed the line from "great thing I'm happy to support financially and that I have sincere and longstanding emotional ties to" to "mediocre, commoditized marketing blitz wrapped around that thing I love like a throbbing leech."  I still love that thing I love, but I desperately want to remove the leech.

I'm a fifth generation grad with a family that has owned tickets in Michigan Stadium every year it has been open.  Literally.

Both my grandfathers and my dad were varsity athletes at Michigan.  One of those grandfathers made at least 1 home game at UM every year from 1918-2008 (age 6 to age 96).  

I attended my first UM football game at age 2.5, and attended religiously until I moved a long plane flight away, and even then, I made at least 2 games per year, even when I lived in London.

I guess what I'm saying is that our family reasonably qualifies as "fans" rather than simply customers.

That said, I have to agree with your point re the corporate POV costing you "customers," if my own family is any indication over the past 2 years:

1. I've personally had season tickets since 2000 (5 years out of undergrad, when I finally got off the waitlist - that thing that no longer exists), and in the past 2 seasons, cut my season ticket purchase from 6 to 2.

2. My brother gave up his 2 season tickets.

3. My dad cut his season tickets from 2 to 4.

All told, our family went from 12 to 4 tickets in 2013.  

Our development officer in the athletic department called us 24 hours after the deadline to ask what was up, and we gave him an earful about value for money, gouging the ticketholders and the "brand experience" destroying the uniqueness of attending a Michigan football game.  It feels more contrived and less authentic every year.  

We then turned around and gave our PSD money to (1) the Engineering school (Dad's degrees); (2) the Ed School (mom's 2nd degree); (3) LS&A (my BA, mom's BA, brother's BA); (4) the business school (my MBA); and (5) the debate program.

We made quite clear that our money (beyond our remaining 4 tix) isn't coming back to the AD until they stop gouging for inferior experience.  Said we'd be quite happy spending our money on the secondary market to acquire tickets for games we'd actually like to see, but that, in essence, our loyalty to Michigan football was being commoditized, exploited, and taken for granted.

I have 3 kids.  I would love for them to grow up with the same sort of Michigan athletics experience I had as a kid, but it doesn't really exist anymore.



April 28th, 2014 at 10:30 PM ^

But you are a customer, perhaps always have been one and you defined yourself as one when you equated the quality of Michigan football with a price.  That isn't to say customers can't be fans, but those that see themselves as fans and not customers, don't allow quality of product to enter into the equation. 


April 28th, 2014 at 10:18 AM ^

few years the editors of the blog site have bemoaned the lack of wifi connectivety in the stadium, a near daily complaint during football season.  Odd though, I don't recall the same vitriol toward the idea as is being presented today.  Were you keeping your outrage toward the idea pent up for the day the AD announced that it would be forthcoming?

BTW, you don't really consider wifi and winning football games as an either or proposition, do you?

Wolverine Devotee

April 28th, 2014 at 11:25 AM ^

I'm one of the biggest Dave Brandon supporters on here.

What he's done for the other sports far outweighs the bad he's done here. This athletic campus is going to be just.....I mean, something that I've been raving about for months. It's like we're seeing the building of a nation or something. Absolutely incredible to the point where Michigan will be a national contender yearly in every sport. Simply too good to say no to.

What I don't understand is the athletic department trying to make every football game "a mini Super Bowl". The WOW factor. All this stuff is not needed.

I guess I'm just too simple for this day and age. All I want is to have a couple of normal priced hotdogs & drinks and watch the game.


April 28th, 2014 at 1:26 PM ^

In the era of high-def TV and 24-hour coverage, the athletic department feels that they have to provide more than the game itself, in order to compete for viewers.  In other words, what can they do to make sure that going to the game itself is better than staying at home and watching it there?

Maybe it's a necessary line of thought and maybe it's not, but the fact is that all over the country student sections are getting emptier and emptier, far too much to be an outlier.  If you're an AD executive, that's a worrying trend, and you start trying things to reverse it. 


April 28th, 2014 at 5:04 PM ^

...it's all about creating an experience that brings casual fans - the family of four from Grand Rapids - to Ann Arbor for the game.

I always thought the big selling point of watching Michigan football in Michigan Stadium was watching Michigan play football in Michigan Stadium.  Perhaps Dave Brandon's concern is that watching Michigan play football in Michigan Stadium these days is not a very rewarding experience.  

My oldest child (the 2 younger ones are not quite ready for football) does not require a mascot, a noodle, WiFi, Special K, etc. to love Michigan football, and neither did the last generation.  


April 28th, 2014 at 11:30 AM ^

I don't think anyone minds the idea of wifi in the stadium.  I think they're pissed because Brandon thinks that's THE reason ticket demand is down, not the increased prices, lame schedule or lack of success on the field.  If he said, "fans aren't buying tickets until we win more games," I bet the board would be more likely to agree with him.


April 28th, 2014 at 10:30 AM ^

I know that I like having replays and so does my family.  I am short, so sometimes I miss what happened and they don't replay everything in the staduim. We had a fan vision, but they stopped supporting it last season. It was great, you could get replays, stats, great plays from other games.

So, I guess DB is doing this for me.

Sten Carlson

April 28th, 2014 at 11:00 AM ^

Calm down Beavis!

You, my friend, need to get out more ... enjoy your youth, run, play, try to get laid -- take it from someone who knows, it is VERY fleeting.  Reading your posts is not only depressing, but it saddens me to know that you're nothing but a young buck and you have so much worry and angst stemming from Michigan football.

What's going to happen to you when you're 40 with a wife, kids, mortgage, two car payments, health insurance, etc.?

Maybe it's time to find something else of which to be a devotee, ya think?


April 28th, 2014 at 11:55 AM ^

I wish they treated us more like customers. Customers patronize businesses until they feel like they get better value elsewhere and leave. Loyalty generally goes as far as it is earned. Fans, on the other hand, are fiercely loyal and often line up at the trough no matter how badly a team treats them.

Not every revenue source needs to be tapped, especially when it's almost always at the burden of your greatest resource, your fans. 

Having said all that, improving internet access is a big deal and will improve the experience of attending most games, particularly the shit games where you'd almost rather be at home watching a more interesting game.


Blue in Yarmouth

April 28th, 2014 at 2:23 PM ^

I have many issues with DB, not the least of which is manifest here. Because of my job I have been involved with making decisions that would impact a great deal of people. This ususally comes during the development of policy and procedures that will have to be carried out by other people and adherence to those polices/procedures is imperative.

When you are in a position where success is dependent upon numerous stakeholders, you get input from those stakeholders during the developmental stages. If you fail to do this, you put the success of the project in jeopardy.

What I have seen from DB since he walked on campus those years ago is a guy who "knows best". No one can tell him anything and he's shown that he doesn't value the opinion or desires of the fans whatsoever. In each and every email I have seen, he has responded to fans in a condescending way, basically asking how dare they question his decision making.

If he really cared about this program and it's fans he would have sought the input of the fans. whether that be through questionnaires or some other medium, there are plenty of very quick and easy methods of gathering information that he could have utilized. Instead what does he do? Make changes he feels are appropriate with no attempt to determine what people reallly want.

The problem with this is DB doesn't really represnt the average UM fan. This means he may sometimes get things right (like in this instance, it certainly seems like people would enjoy having this), but many times he'll miss the mark. Heck, given the choice many would probably live without wi-fi if they had a choice between that and lower ticket price. But how could anyone actually know that??? Oh yeah right....ask them.

Darker Blue

April 28th, 2014 at 8:01 AM ^

Dan Brandon: The Man Who Knows Something, what exactly that something is remains to be seen. 


Bo said Mr. Brandon should run for governor , I agree. Get the fuck out of the AD's office Dave. 

Mr. Yost

April 28th, 2014 at 8:04 AM ^

Meaning the majority of this board is not going to read because we do not give clicks to that site.

Feel free to summarize and then seperate your opinion paragraph from the link because right now it looks like you're summarizing the link --- but you're not.

No one understands your rant if they don't read your link...but people will read your rant thinking it's a summary of the link. When they realize that it's not they will be frustrated and downvote you.

You may also want to go as far as to say FREEP: (Title of the article)....because your current title tells you nothing about the article and then when you click it, you tell us nothing about the article in your rant. Plenty of people will want to know what the answer that Brandon has, but there is no way of finding out without clicking the link....that many people don't want to click.

Just a heads up. #MGoBlog


April 28th, 2014 at 8:08 AM ^

I don't see the issue here.  The OP is sort of mixing 2 issues.  People want broadband at the stadium for the cell phones if we played Bama, FSU, USC, and Stanford, or if we played a bunch of...well next year's schedule. The schedule issue and price issue are their own situations.  If the bad schedule drives the athl dept to do the broadband quicker, then I guess it's a tiny silver lining.  They have not had to worry about these things for decades since they always sell out and have 10s of thousands on the waiting list.  Based on Brian's story last week they had 8% (or slightly less) non renewals which I found a staggering figure and eventually you run out of waiting list.  So the fire is lit I am sure under everyone's seat, including Brandon.

I do agree with WolDevotee above on the word customers - sounds bad.  How about our fans or our fanbase Dave?  I mean it *is* all about branding.

And bottom line if we went 12-0 with a typical Wisconsin schedule people wouldnt complain about the schedule THAT much.  The fact we are mediocre for quite a few years now is exposing a lot of other fissures.


April 28th, 2014 at 8:07 AM ^

You know I think the best thing about the Michigan Stadium experience the last few years has been the lack of "lol Michigan" texts you can receive there.