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.