Sad Picture at Stadium Just Before Kickoff

Submitted by winterblue75 on September 14th, 2013 at 9:51 PM

courtesy of @mvictors Twitter

Comments

stephenrjking

September 14th, 2013 at 11:40 PM ^

Tennessee and OSU were on the road, and for various reasons don't draw that much. Any word on whether or not PSU sold out? Michigan probably outdrew them.

This isn't the first time Michigan had failed to sell out. Given the game, not surprising. The significant numbers are the capacity, the crowd records, and the streak of 100k plus games.

I think that streak could be in danger in a few years, btw.

Doc Brown

September 14th, 2013 at 10:05 PM ^

Perfect picture for the current state of the athletic department's attitude towards its non-millionare ticket holders. Dave Brandon doesn't give two shits about Joe ticketholder unless you are donating another at a healthy rate. Go ahead raise mandatory donations in the form of a seat license to the point where it locks out middle class ticket holders. Don't suprised when the rest of Michigan Stadium is just a empty in the near future. 

/End Rant

Bando Calrissian

September 14th, 2013 at 10:43 PM ^

I'd say he's the Athletic Director who finishes off the job of killing off the remnants of the goodwill Don Canham spent years cultivating between the Athletic Department, the alumni, the students, and the fanbase. It managed to survive through Weidenbach, Roberson, and Goss, but started to nosedive with Martin and the PSDs, and has pretty much plunged beyond repair under Brandon. It's all attitude.

Talk to anyone who dealt with Athletics in the 1970s and 80s, when you were working through guys like Don Lund and the early Victors Club folk, versus the emotionless human calculators they have manning the store now. It's shocking how impersonal, cold, and calculated it has all become. They're systematically pissing off the folks they shouldn't want to piss off, people who have been giving for decades, because they're chasing the new donors for the luxury boxes. And the sad thing is I really think they don't care.

Loyalty is dead. Apathy is growing. It's not too long before this becomes visible in more than just the student section.

M-Dog

September 14th, 2013 at 11:26 PM ^

You have a point.  If all you are trying to do is maximize revenue, you can do it by charging at a rate that results in overpriced tickets and a half empty stadium.  But you still bring in more dollars in total from the people that can afford to pay the overpriced rate.

There should be more to it for the AD at the University of Michigan than to maximize revenue.  You have other responsibilities.  You are a steward of the program, not just a check-out counter.

The problem is when push comes to shove, none of us knows where the AD's heart really is.

 

 

Bando Calrissian

September 14th, 2013 at 11:50 PM ^

The metric is the number of empty spaces and tailgate-less cars in the Champions and luxury box parking lots three hours before kickoff on any given Saturday, compared with an aerial picture of the same lots any time in the 1980s and 1990s.

Today, you'll find many of those tailgates in the Gray Lot, Pioneer, or in living rooms all throughout SE Michigan, while their former locations sit empty or underused.

stephenrjking

September 14th, 2013 at 11:51 PM ^

Sure there is--attendance. I think it will be in danger if Michigan goes through a down period.

Which is part of what DB is doing. I hear a lot of grousing, but I think at least a decent amount of it is the natural frustration with rising prices, nothing particularly unique to this AD.

Unfortunately, in today's athletic landscape, Michigan would not be able to remain athletically competitive if it did not become more aggressive in chasing revenue. OSU got a BIG head start on us in maximizing revenue and developing top-line facilities, and we are only just catching up; even MSU was doing better for a while.

The upshot is that if Michigan were not financially competitive, it would struggle to be athletically competitive as well. We'd have a hard time paying for good coaches and a hard time attracting top recruits.

We've already seen the benefits of DB's philosophy (and the inherited progress from Martin) in the Final Four run this year, made possible by hot recruits that had new facilities to look forward to. Football is dazzling top recruits in ways not possible in the Carr era, and competing for recruits it has never had shots at before.

In short, the $$$ philosophy is a pain, but its pain with a purpose.

Bando Calrissian

September 15th, 2013 at 12:13 AM ^

I really do think a lot of the objections to DB are less about the ticket price increases (which people begrudgingly anticipate) as they are people being generally wary, if not exasperated by the tone and attitude behind them. Here is Dave Brandon running a department with a humongous surplus, nickel-and-diming the fanbase and pimping out the Michigan identity as if we're still in the red. It's the attitude, not the actions. I simply can't trust anything the man says anymore, and know many people in the same boat.

Sure, it's important to bring in money. But at some point, DB and this Athletic Department need to realize that their strategies may be working in the short-term, but may not have the decades-long staying power Canham's efforts had. Canham built a community of people who gave because they not only wanted to support Michigan, but really enjoyed the camaraderie of the other folks who gave as well. Those Victors Club luncheons built more good will than a million glazed donuts ever could. That community, sadly, is now just about obliterated.

The more and more you indiscriminately gouge, market, and exploit in pithy ways that do little more than add small mole hills to a gigantic mountain of profit, the less and less fans think they need to take a financial stake in what's happening. 

Long story short, when you ask people for money, and then ask them for more, and then ask them for more, and all the while are touting your gigantic surplus, your credibility begins to wane.

 

Sambojangles

September 15th, 2013 at 2:14 PM ^

Do you think that everyone in the athletic department is so dumb they don't realize this? Are you so smart that you know more than they do?

Brandon does not seem like a seat-of-his-pants, do it because it feels right kind of guy. If anything, I get the impression he's extremely calculating and exhaustive in his analysis. I'm sure he focus-grouped and financial-modeled the heck out of every ticket price decision, and has pages of data that show that whatever level it's at will maximize whatever metrics they need to in both the short and long term. 

Also, could you tell me where the "humongous surplus" and "gigantic mountain of profit" is? Also, you should probably copy the department, because I just read the AD's financials (surprisingly hard to find) for the last two years, and they had net decreases in fund balances every year. Yes, they're operating surplus is great, but they also spend all of that and more on capital expenditures. 

Doc Brown

September 15th, 2013 at 9:46 AM ^

Yep, bando is completely right. The AD for all intents seems to be more of a CFO than a CEO of the athletic department. All the goodwill Brandon built up in his first one-two years of his tenure has been eroded. Our tailgate has lost several season ticket holders this year that refused to buy season tickets in principle against the ever increasing seat license while also running a massive surplus. It is great to be renovating and building beautiful facilities. However, what about throwing your non-big money donors a bone and reign in costs and the shakedowns for donations. I firmly believe the empty seats you see in the student section will appear in other sections as well in the very near future. 

Bando Calrissian

September 14th, 2013 at 10:05 PM ^

Can't wait for the students to show up and complain about the noon start. Bonus points if they bring up studying and dorm food.

If you can show up for a 9AM lecture in Angell C on a Wednesday without thinking about it, you can make it to Michigan Stadium by 11:50 on a Saturday morning. No excuses, show up to play. 

Purkinje

September 14th, 2013 at 10:21 PM ^

(Sadly, I must preface this by saying that I agree that the student section's attendance today was humiliating. That said...)

Some students at one of the nation's premier schools care more about their education than watching what should have been a boring-as-hell football game. When I was a student, I skipped games like this to study. How horrible of me.

Bando Calrissian

September 14th, 2013 at 10:33 PM ^

A pat on the back to you. Cool.

But, let's be honest, there are seven days in the week. If you can't schedule your time enough to take an afternoon off and go to a football game on a Saturday, you can't manage time worth shit. It's not that difficult. 

The percentage of student no-shows who are actually studying instead of being at the game is far less than the "but some students need to study!" crowd would ever want to acknowledge. It's just as valid and realistic an excuse as the students who said they couldn't make it on time for a noon start because of the cafeteria schedules. That's my point.

jmblue

September 14th, 2013 at 10:38 PM ^

That excuse doesn't hold a lot of water with me.  College classes can be difficult, but there's a lot of time during the week to study.  I used to do a lot of studying on Friday during the day to clear up time to watch football the next day.  People should be able to manage their schedule enough to take out a few hours on Saturday to go to a game.  If not, they shouldn't buy tickets. 

 

bklein09

September 14th, 2013 at 11:58 PM ^

Let's not forget that students don't all get tickets. I have a feeling that most of those empty seats are not made up of super studious types that are locked in the library during the game. A good portion of those people don't buy tickets to begin with. 

That leads me to beleive that those empty seats are probably empty for "other" reasons. Reasons that I have no sympathy for sadly. I know some students work full time and have families, etc. That is a very, very small proportion.

DealerCamel

September 14th, 2013 at 10:06 PM ^

Not sure if there are more students than last year compacted into a smaller area, or fewer students last year were more spread out.

Anyway guys, as a student who did show up to the game on time, by saying things like "pathetic," "disgusting," and "disgraceful," you come off as pretentious snobs.  Is it sad?  Yeah, maybe a little.  But please don't insult us.

robpollard

September 14th, 2013 at 10:12 PM ^

What's "pretentious" about it? That's a sad display, any way you look it. It reminds me of what you could see at Indiana or Maryland home games.

The team comes off a huge win last week, has a beautiful "fall" day to watch the team, and the student section is barely half full at kickoff. That seems pathetic to me.

Bando Calrissian

September 14th, 2013 at 10:14 PM ^

Some usher was on here last week confidently claiming Athletics oversold the student section this year to make sure it was full. I find that hard to believe (and probably illegal with fire codes, etc.), but if that is indeed accurate information, it's even more laughable that this happened.

There's no obvious solution here. Student apathy is directly proportional to both time and opponent. This isn't anything new, of course, but now Athletics is getting fed up. Or, at least, Hunter Lochmann is wondering why all his best-laid plans aren't working as well in real life as they do on paper. Just like the best marketing strategies culled from his Ross textbooks.

Basically, it looks like there's nothing you can do unless you're playing at night.

Michigan Eaglet

September 15th, 2013 at 11:51 AM ^

I got to the game early and they were giving tickets for each row that you had to sit in, but there was no seat number on them so they could fit more people in. They literally tried to fit 5 more people in our row after we were already all sitting ass to ass with no room anywhere. They then tried to threaten us and say we HAD to move down because they screwed up and printed too many tickets per row. 

As far at the attendence for the game, I went an hour early to the central game and got almost the same seat I got for the Akron game that I showed up for 10 minutes before kickoff. Everyone (including this blog) took Akron as a joke. People were trying to sell tickets for $5 and didn't have takers. The section did eventually get filled up, which honestly surprised me, but at least they did show up. This isn't going to happen for the rest of the season, but I can promise you that the athletic department will cook up some crazy scheme again to try and reward/punish students for showing up early or late at the next game.

Michigan Eaglet

September 15th, 2013 at 11:51 AM ^

I got to the game early and they were giving tickets for each row that you had to sit in, but there was no seat number on them so they could fit more people in. They literally tried to fit 5 more people in our row after we were already all sitting ass to ass with no room anywhere. They then tried to threaten us and say we HAD to move down because they screwed up and printed too many tickets per row. 

As far at the attendence for the game, I went an hour early to the central game and got almost the same seat I got for the Akron game that I showed up for 10 minutes before kickoff. Everyone (including this blog) took Akron as a joke. People were trying to sell tickets for $5 and didn't have takers. The section did eventually get filled up, which honestly surprised me, but at least they did show up. This isn't going to happen for the rest of the season, but I can promise you that the athletic department will cook up some crazy scheme again to try and reward/punish students for showing up early or late at the next game.

MGoShoe

September 14th, 2013 at 10:15 PM ^

Sounds like you've got a lot to learn about what it means to be a Michigan Man, because that's like our thing, man. By the way, it's the student body ticket holders who have insulted us by this pathetic display. Thanks for showing up on time, though. Good job, good effort.

I'm not Brian

September 14th, 2013 at 10:10 PM ^

This doesn't surprise me one bit, the GA process was such a miserable mess for students that a large number didn't think it was worth it this week.

Last week, I arrived 3 hours early, waited in line outside of the seating area for 45 minutes waiting to get into my section.  I was then yelled at by ushers, herded like cattle through ropes, and sat with nothing to do for the next 2+ hours waiting for the game.  Casual fans will not be treated like animals and waste half their days waiting - it's not what makes the gameday worth attending.

WolverineHistorian

September 14th, 2013 at 10:30 PM ^

Our stadium seated 106,000 in the 80's when Northwestern won 2 games in 5 seasons, yet the Big House was always packed at kickoff when the Wildcats were in town.  MAC opponents in the 90's, games against Rice, Memphis. I went to "The Horror" in 2007 against a FCS school, well, that was packed too. 

But thank you for adding to the excuse list for the last couple years. 

1. RichRod

2.  Not everyone grew up a Michigan fanatic

3.  Can't have alcohol in the stadium anymore. 

3.  It's a MAC school. 

4.  We have to study. 

And now my personal favorite....

5.  Our stadium is too big. 

NiMRODPi

September 14th, 2013 at 10:47 PM ^

The Horror was definitely NOT packed. I was also at that game. That game had about 2k more fans than today's game, and also had the benefit of being the season opener.

*I should add here that today's attendance was totally inflated, as was The Horror's. It's been common knoweldge for a while that the attendance announced hardly ever passes the smell test.

ESNY

September 15th, 2013 at 9:41 AM ^

Selective memories to fit the narrative. Every school, even Michigan, struggles with getting people to show up on time for noon kick offs against (supposedly) vastly inferior teams. Has been that way since I was a freshman in '95 and I'm sure even earlier. The anti-DB brigade will love to convince you it's due to his policies only, GA or some other BS when it's well recognized its a consistent problem nationwide.

Face it, doesn't matter if tickets were free or $200 per game, every school will struggle getting people in the stadium early for a noon game against Akron.

TheTeamx3

September 14th, 2013 at 10:09 PM ^

If the athletic department is so concerned about people showing up for shitty games, they should just get rid of the charge for selling a student ticket to a non-student. Whose going to pay $25 to validate a student ticket when they can buy a regular ticket for $10?

It's supply and demand. I'm sure there were a ton of regular season ticket holders that gave away their tickets today. There's not a big demand for invalidated student tickets