One thing I can’t help but wonder about with regard to Alabama’s potential home-and-home searches with the likes of Notre Dame and Texas is why Nick Saban is willing to cast aside a business model he’s clearly comfortable with. After all, this is the man who once said,
“When you play at home, you do really well,” Saban said in the run up to the Cotton Bowl with the Spartans. “When you play away, you don’t do very well. When you play a neutral-site game every year, you do well every year from a business standpoint.”
Has the math changed? Michael Casagrande tries to suggest it has.
A big question is how much money a home game with a Notre Dame or Texas would bring in. Using the most recent NCAA financial filing, Alabama football ticket sales brought in an average of $4.96 million per home game opposed to an average of $812,000 of game-day operations costs.
Of course, not all games are created equally in that equation. Single-game tickets for this season cost as little as $40 for Arkansas State and The Citadel and as much as $140 a game for Auburn. A one-off with Notre Dame or Texas could fetch even more than the even-year Iron Bowl visit.
But that consideration doesn’t come in a vacuum. To maximize the revenue gain, that would mean dropping a cupcake from the home schedule. Does that sound like something Nick Saban would embrace? Color me skeptical.
That’s not to say I doubt Alabama is pursuing these games. It’s just that I doubt there’s really that much more money to be made from scheduling them over a neutral site opener. So what’s really going on in Tuscaloosa?