[Should] Brandon Waive PSDs?

Submitted by Black Socks on January 5th, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Like many of you I want to see a full Michigan stadium for each game.  Based on the product for the past six years plus the cost of purchasing season tickets, I fear that there may be empty seats next year.  Don Canham always said (paraphrasing) it's better to have excess demand than one empty seat.  He also preached that the Michigan ticket holder should feel they are getting the best deal around.  Based on recent performance and the weak home schedule next year - should Brandon waive PSDs for our loyal season ticket holders?  Why or why not?

[MOD ED: modified title for clarity]



January 5th, 2014 at 11:15 AM ^

i don't have season tickets but what is the deadline for renewal? I think we'll get an indication that the renewals aren't going so well if the deadline is indeed extended


January 5th, 2014 at 5:00 PM ^

In Michigan stadium I would take the end zone seat in row 90 over a row 20 seat at the fifty, and I don't even think its close. I sat in the end zone for a couple of years with my Dad and they were awesome seats. When I got my own season tickets I actually asked for end zone seats but got up in the corner. I have sat on the fifty and I don't feel like you can see as much of the game or of plays developing. Guess it is all personal preference.


January 5th, 2014 at 11:16 AM ^

but just out of curiousity, I wonder what the specific financial impact on the athletic dept's bottom line would be if the PSLs were cut in half.

In other words, given the various financial outlays that the dept is responsible for now, would it be financially possible to reduce them and still stay in the black?


January 5th, 2014 at 11:16 AM ^

Should he?

Absolutely. I don't understand the annual PSD (my Browns season ticket PSL was paid once and that's it) and my guess is he'd get a lot of very pissed off ex-season ticket holders to re-up immediately if he did.  It would be a powerful message that long-time loyality and financial support of the team meant something and was being rewarded.

Will he?

Not a chance in fucking hell.


January 5th, 2014 at 12:01 PM ^

PSD's are just another way to give to a university's athletic department.  I don't know how muc revenue is generated from Michigan Stadium';s PSD's,a but the number has to be very substantial and I have my doubts that the athletic budget would be in the black if PSD's were eliminated.  At the very leats, profits would be reduced substantially.

Ultimately, it will be a question of whether the product is worth the cost in this day of 65" HDTV;s whose prices are very affordable by anyone capable of paying for a PSD.


January 5th, 2014 at 4:35 PM ^

I like that too.  It allows for people to still contribute to the non-revenue sports whos lifeblood is donations, in the form of monies from football (ticket sales, concession revenue, and PSDs). This also helps people swallow the terrible football product on the field the last couple years.  

I really do hope people don't run away from buying football tickets.  It helps fun successful programs - through better facilities, good coaches, education support, etc - like swimming / diving, volleyball, field hockey, softball, and gymnastics.  All of these sports have won championships recently partly due to people being willing to fill Michigan Stadium.


January 6th, 2014 at 9:59 AM ^

I think what people are forgetting is that if it could go down some it could go up more. 

The question about lowering PSDs this year is moot.  Will not happen.  The real question is whether Michigan has started to price itself out of the market.  Most people think the ticket prices are crazy.  But it only takes about 45,000 buying two tickets each to sell out the stadium.  That's something like 0.01% of the US population.  Even if 99.98% of the people think the pricing is crazy, the demand from the 0.02% currently has the financial model working.

When will watching at home be a better option for fans?  For many it already is, but not enough to lower the PSD.


January 5th, 2014 at 4:39 PM ^

Not sure this is the case . . . People will continue to crave catharsis.  When we win, they will buy tickets so they can experience the euphoria that comes with it.  When we lose, they will buy tickets to help weed off their fears that our prorgam is becoming a tire fire. 


January 5th, 2014 at 11:22 AM ^

Please don't! If there is a chance to change the direction of this program, and if losing and mediocrity continues, that is one thing that will expedite the end....loss of revenue. Seems it is what DB (hah, DB, ironic isn't it) cares most about.

Section 1

January 5th, 2014 at 1:49 PM ^

Time will tell.  I think the only way that it won't look embarassing, is if the Athletic Department does something between now and than.  Such as greatly reducing the number of student tickets.  Or scrapping general admission, so that the expanse of empty seats isn't so exposed.


I expect that this discussion will ramble on through a snowy weekend, but if anybody is going to any events where Dave Brandon will take questions, here are a few that I'd like to see put to him:

  1. The Athletic Department has an officially-sanctioned relationship with StubHub.  And last year, you attempted to install a "dynamic pricing" model for single-game tickets.  But what StubHub shows is that tickets on the open market have been selling for a lot less than face value, and for FAR less than face-plus-PSD.  Why do you think season ticket holders should continue to subscribe, given that pricing reality?  What did your "dynamic pricing" experiment show?
  2. Can you explain in detail why Michigan had to give up its position with hosting MSU in even-numbered years and OSU in odd-numbered years?  Why and how was Michigan forced by the Conference into accepting that?
  3. What exactly are you doing, in concert with other collegiate athletic directors, to reduce the cost of collegiate athletics?
  4. Do you have any prediction or projection as to departmental budgets for the next ten years?  Do you expect rising budgets and if so where do you expect the revenue to come from?  Are you projecting any ticket price or PSD increases during that time period?
  5. What plans are there to improve game-day parking and the rest of the football game-day experience?

I dumped the Dope

January 5th, 2014 at 4:09 PM ^

Just to build on a point Johnny U. Bacon has made, I think its a generational thing.

Arguably the current paying fanbase is built of people who have gone to games for many years, enjoy them, and the costs would have to get really stupid to wean us off that.

Possibly the current student section attendance is a forecast of what could happen in 10-20 years as they become part of the income-earning section of the population.  As mentioned HDTV is downright awesome and they serve low-cost (read: grocery-store priced) beer.

The other issue is simple economics.  When the 'Hub is a better economic choice than the Athletic Dept for a fan, its going to be a large conundrum.  To maintain sales the ADept would have to sell on the market at less than face.  Not that the U really loses anything, but if the Hub is a super deal and season tickets arent...

I think if it was ever driven to that point either by AD greed or an economic crash or simply continuous annual poor play, I think we may have crested the hill in terms of the program overall.  I would not like to see it get to that point.

I go back to the other certainty of life...that any institution or corporation or government that's building a NEW facility has pockets full of cash.  Not that the football stadium is getting any of that...its all the other sports...golf, soccer, laundry (?) etc, that are getting stately brick facilities within the last few years.  The cost of those continues ad infinitum as there's going to be the addition of maintenance and personnel to run them.  Long ago it was kind of a feel-good proposition...that the football program was kind of like a big brother to the other sports and kept them functioning and economically viable.  Its big business.  The interesting thing is costs are probably really low.  Whats the cost of playing a football game?  I bet its less than $100k.

In my opinion, the Hub is in the game since they are a known marketplace, probably the best organized at this point in time.  I think the U gets a large data feed from them, that opens up the most sophisticated stats geeks to analyze all the factors from weather to opponent to record to the wind blowing from the west or north, and its affect on ticket prices.

I'm with Section 1, time will tell...


January 5th, 2014 at 11:40 AM ^

No way he does.

And in case you're wondering, yes, I'm putting my $$ where my mouth is. As I'm one of the folks who is walking away after my family's had season tickets for 30 years.


January 5th, 2014 at 12:10 PM ^

I've only been a season ticket holder for 6 years, and 2014 will be the first year since becoming a student in '07 that I will not have season tickets- I will however be purchasing a ticket pack... But back to the point, there's been a lot of people I know are that are downsizing their tickets- going from 8-to-4 or 4-to-2... And it's really sad. I don't think I experienced this during the RR years... Can any alum/season ticket holders confirm that?

I hope that Coach Hoke can win 10 next year; this has been the biggest let down- in terms of expectations falling flat- that I've experienced as a Michigan fan. Worst season was however 2008 when we flipping lost to Toledo!


January 5th, 2014 at 1:06 PM ^

You should be proud.

There are actually still people who put their Michigan fandomhood ahead of being an aware and intelligent human being. It is beyond obvious that ticketholders have been taken for granted and disrespected. Unless you have a ton of money to burn and just like going to the games regardless of the team giving you bang for buck, people should be walking away. Even if it doesn't straight out a man who showed in his previous job that the quality of the product was secondary to how he sold it, you are making a stand for yourself and your family.




Section 1

January 5th, 2014 at 5:05 PM ^

...on Michigan season tickets.

What I hope that all of you do, is write a letter to Brandon.  Tell him why you are bailing out.  Everyone may have different reasons, or reasons that differ from my own dissatisfaction.  But whatever the case, I'd like to see explicit linkages made, between season ticket cancellations, and the things that are within Dave Brandon's control.  I don't expect Dave Brandon to personally guarantee any success on the field.  Dave can't determine wins and losses.  He can't even control what the other B1G athletic directors do, or what the Conference might decide as a whole.

But Brandon should know what his core audience (there should be no more important core audience to Dave Brandon than his season ticket patrons) is thinking.  And if he is losing them, why that is so.


January 5th, 2014 at 6:12 PM ^

I did exactly that Section One - twice.  Once in the fall when my disgust for the current coaching staff and Hoke seeming obliviousness to their even being a problem where I threatened to cancel and again when I filled out my season ticket survey when I told him that I would not be renewing.

Neither was even acknowledged, much less responded to.  So my theroy is that we have such a huge glut of people wanting tickets my absence will not be noticed or missed.  That's the only way I could understand letting a customer go without even trying to put up a fight.


January 5th, 2014 at 7:30 PM ^

I could have sworn that Brian said that everyone who was on the waiting list for tickets last year had the opportunity to purchase them.  So unless a boat load more people put their names on the season ticket list during the season, I can't believe they have a huge glut of people wanting tickets - at least the full season ticket package.


January 5th, 2014 at 7:59 PM ^

That's what I had heard too.  But when a customer writes you (twice) to say they're going to stop being a customer I thought somebody....anybody....might respond with at least a form letter or something asking me to reconsider.

The fact that they did not leads me to the conclusion they dont need me as a customer because they feel they have other, better customers to replace me with.

What other reason would there be?


January 5th, 2014 at 11:49 AM ^

As WindyCityBlue said above, never going to happen until Dave Brandon wins the gubernatorial nomination. Your sensibilities concerning the Michigan fan experience are nothing but a dollar amount to him. If you and those like you are going to donate less, or not have your next event at the Big House, because you are disappointed in the atmosphere, that is already-calculated chump change besides $60,000-$90,000 per suite, $4,000 per indoor club seat, $3,000 per outdoor cllub zone 1 seat, $2,250 per outdoor club zone 2 seate, $1,500 per outdoor club zone 3 zeat, $2,000 per Westside chair back seat, $1,250 per westside chair back but not 50 yard line seat, $600 per 50 yard line seat, $475 per 20-30 yard line seat, $350 per 15-5 yard line seat, $200 per corner seat, and $75 per end zone seat, plus double all of that from all those who pay up to move down.



January 5th, 2014 at 2:36 PM ^

If Dave Brandon ran an analysis that said he could make more revenue by selling less seats but at much higher prices, such that the stadium was perpetually 20% empty, would he do it?

I fear he would.

This is what the Redskins did when they moved to FedEx Field.  They went from season tickets being part of people's wills at RFK, to lots of empty yellow seats at FedEx, even while the team was still winning.  The theory that demand was insatiable was debunked.  But because revenue netted higher, Snyder did not care.   



January 5th, 2014 at 5:13 PM ^

I am questioning your use of the redskins here. First, FedEx field holds many more people than RFK. Second, it wasn't Snyder that built FedEx it was the previous owner, and I believe he built it without government help. Snyder did reduce the size of Fed Ex a couple of years back, but that was because they were not selling seats and he did not want to deal with that embarrassment.


January 5th, 2014 at 6:34 PM ^

The yellow seats you mention are the club seats, which are sold out. They are often empty because the whole advantage of those seats is that you can go into the club and get food and drinks, and stay warm. The folks that can afford those are often there more to socialize, also making the club more of the place to be rather than the seats.


January 5th, 2014 at 1:08 PM ^

Awfully presumptious. I don't know if you've noticed, but the younger generation doesn't really dig football the way the middle and older ones do. It's just a matter of time before they are the target demographic and there is not a chance in hell they would pay top dollar for mediocre football like a lot of people in their 50s and 60s are doing now.

Nosce Te Ipsum

January 5th, 2014 at 12:01 PM ^

It is very simple, unionize the fan base. I could go into all of the details but I have the flu and just generally don't care enough to further expound upon it considering most things are more important to me than sports. Most of you are smart enough and if someone does have the faculties about them to care a great deal then they can be the one to make the change.