The rising cost of fandom

I don’t know if you caught the informal survey Jon Solomon posted last week in anticipation of the SEC’s pledge to conduct its own surveys of the conference’s fan base, but the results were posted yesterday, and if the sample size he got is representative (almost five thousand people responded), I’d say Mike Slive has something to worry about.

As Solomon summarizes,

The overwhelming response: It’s the cost, stupid. Eighty-three percent said they believe average fans have been priced out of attending college football games. More than half of the respondents said they are attending games less frequently than five years ago.

The really troubling part, if you’re an AD, is that 61% of the respondents still prefer attending the games.  In other words, a lot of people aren’t staying home because of bathroom convenience, comfortable seating and listening to Verne and Gary bloviate.  They’re simply tired of having their wallets hoovered.  And this is in the land where college football is nigh on to a religious experience.

So, with all the new TV revenue flowing into school coffers, what do you think the chances are that schools might show some pricing sensitivity to their fan bases?  Yeah, me neither.  They’ll probably just figure they can charge more for the privilege of subscribing to the SEC Network, since it’s not like these folks have anywhere else to go.

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16 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

16 responses to “The rising cost of fandom

  1. Mayor of Dawgtown

    When the fanbase turns on Slive he will be gone. There has been an undercurrent against that SOB for years and it is now close to becoming public knowledge.

    • Bryant Denny

      Meh, I think the public sees seven BCS titles in a row and thinks Slive has done a pretty good job.

      He could muck things up with the schedule, but as long as the schools keep cashing big checks, nobody cares what you and I think.

      Have a good day,

      BD

  2. Castleberry

    So, how long before we running the four hotdogs and a Coke deal?

    When you look at donation plus face value per seat the value really isn’t there for the majority of our home schedule. SC and LSU will be great games. However, ~$100 per seat is a joke for App St., Kentucky, and North Texas.

  3. Bryant Denny

    Senator,

    I’m gonna go ahead and call bull hockey on this edition of Solomon’s fun with numbers.

    Why? They don’t make sense based on what I’ve seen with my eyeballs. (Maybe it’s more accurate to say the questions don’t make sense.)

    50% of the respondents indicated they were Alabama fans. There has been no recession in Alabama football. There is a waiting list for Tide Pride (the season ticket program). Home games are a flood of generators, RVs and 60 inch televisions.

    My family has season tickets and I wince every year paying for them, but I pay for them because I know if they leave, they’re gone for good. Someone else will take them.

    So perhaps people look around (like I do) and say, “Man, this is expensive. I don’t know how average Joe pays for this.” But people are still paying and lined up to do so.

    I think the survey would have made more sense if there was a fair number of Kentucky or Mississippi State fans saying things were too expensive.

    • BD, all I can tell you is that I was at every Georgia game this season and I do not exaggerate in the slightest when I tell you that I never saw the same group of folks around my seats from game to game.

      • Bryant Denny

        Well, I will admit there’s a problem. I guess I just think this data is somewhat suspect.

        Pre-Saban, we used to have these tents where season ticket holders could eat lunch before games. I used to sit in there and marvel at those of us who should not have been spending that % of our annual income on football. I guess that’s even worse now.

        • AusDawg85

          I’d guess at most of the SEC schools, many fans are like you and buying the ticket package, but then unloading to offset some of the cost in the secondary market. Thus the schools see season ticket sales remain strong, game day tickets sold out (or nearly so), but then empty seats on weak games and new faces in the same chair week to week.

          I’m sure the solution they will arrive upon is to simply market to a richer clientele!

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Well sh!t, maybe you should stay in the same place instead of moving around all over the stadium.

    • We could enroll and become students. I don’t think I could sit in the student section at my age. Let’s become students who are invited to the Club level over the student section. I can do that!

  4. stoopnagle

    $90 for a ticket to the Tech game.

    I get that they want to win where they can vs. UGA, but $90?

    I can tell you that if I was paying full-freight, I wouldn’t be paying full-freight to go to games. I’d secondary market a few a year and use downtown as my pre-game watering hole. As it is, I get faculty tickets and have good tailgate friends with the parking pass/set up/etc. And I’m thankful.

  5. HillDawg

    Fan attendance is like integrity, once it is lost it will never come back like it was previously. Pro baseball still suffers from the players strike. Not only will UGA lose, the city of Athens will lose. There will be no more $30 parking two miles from the stadium. Last year the stadium was not full for the Tech game. All the tickets were sold, but people didn’t attend. How long will that last before people simply stop buying tickets. Ticket prices, restaurant prices, hotel prices and parking prices. Add that all up for one game and you’ve got the price of a nice 60 inch TV. I truly hate to see it, but it’s is on the way unless attending the games is made easier in some way.

    • Bryant Denny

      Don’t forget you’ll need to set a little something aside in case of a deep playoff run. :)

  6. Cosmic Dawg

    I am kept away from games by price and annoyance of the modern ad-blaring stadium experience – a frustration I have seen echoed on these pages by others, so was strange that they didn’t have that anywhere on the list. And surely many people who voted that their frustration was price would have voted for several other categories, too.

    However, in defense of the market, the tickets are currently going to the people who value the stadium experience the most and who are able to pay what the market will bear. I really have no problem with that – I’m just not that customer.

  7. DawgPhan

    The cost of tickets, at least for UGA, hasnt changed much during my time as a season ticket holder.

  8. ME

    The experience inside the stadium has lost a lot of value to me. Too many breaks for commercials. i miss the days where an interception/3rd down stop/momentum change juiced the offense to rush on the field & use the adrenalin boost to kick ass & score. Now they have to stand around & bounce to stay 1/2 excited during commercials. It really bothers me when the game in a PPV game. Too much commercialism. Games start too late to make the day & game worth staying until the end. I love the tailgate experience (get there @ 730AM to get a close spot), stay for about 2/3 of the game & leave. With late games I spend no money in Athens for dinner out. I am usually settled into the hotel by 8PM to shower & order delivery before crashing while watching a 9PM game. I head out of Athens early Sundays to beat the traffic. I do not even fight the sunday brunch crowds anymore.