No sport can serve two masters.

I urge you to read Brian Cook’s screed about the ever-expanding commercialization of college football in its entirety.  It’s righteous.

A sample:

It says that college football used to be a great bargain. Tickets were relatively inexpensive, games were fun and not largely spent watching people have conferences. Great fanbases sprung up around the teams starting in the 1960s, when Don Canham was packing bands into the stadium so it would be sort of full, and lasted more or less through 2000 without being seriously impinged upon. Ticket prices were absurdly stable. Television was more of a boon than a hindrance because its proliferation allowed you to watch more road games; breaks were relatively rare and tolerable.

Then things got monetized. Ticket prices approximately tripled in 13 years and have kept going up since. The commercial breaks have proliferated madly. Unsatisfied with their massive uplift in revenue, the athletic department has continued to nickel and dime the fanbase even after the departure of Dave Brandon. And for what? For who? For the benefit of ever more absurdly over-compensated coaches, staffers, and especially executives. Every commercial break is Jim Delany—the man who ruined the conference—giving me the middle finger while he dumps another gold brick on the Big Ten’s grave.

This is why to some extent all the hand-wringing in the world by athletic directors about how the game experience has to be made more attractive to keep fans coming is doomed from the start.  Chasing the almighty television dollar is antithetical to a viable game experience, whether that’s because conference expansion weakens scheduling, or incessant television timeouts leave those in the stands restless, Greg Sankey’s on the field egg-timer notwithstanding.  (And isn’t that a perfect example of how tone deaf the powers-that-be are about this?)

A choice between satisfying the asses in the seats and Mickey is really not much of a choice at all for those people.

33 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

33 responses to “No sport can serve two masters.

  1. dawgxian

    Reminds me of higher ed in general. How much of your tuition check goes to fund various admins that have nothing to do with why you are pursuing a degree?

    Like

    • stoopnagle

      Your first sentence was my first thought. But I went to admins working to keep Atlanta and SACS happy and swimming pools and climbing walls and ski lodge resort dining facilities and…

      There was a time where you roughed it as a student. Now, you just go into massive debt so you can live like you have a 6 figure salary.

      Commercialization and Privatization FTW!

      Like

      • dawgxian

        If it was privatized, well, you wouldn’t have govt schools. You also would have much higher interest rages on student loans which would limit the amount schools could charge in tuition. It’s basically the same thing in the housing market. Artificially low interest rates act to raise the price of homes and tuition

        Like

      • What if highly paid administrators were held to the same difficult standards as highly paid college coaches? For instance what if they were charged with maintaining a high quality game day experience and not just bringing in easy money? They would need to:
        -Negotiate with TV to reduce commercial timeouts in improve flow of game. This means (oh the humanity) charging the sponsors more for their commercial slots
        -Have a big picture plan for optimal fan experience. Better facilities. Better Tailgaiting.
        -Negotiate and coordinate with talented architects to improve facilities and have a big picutre
        -Interact with city officials to optimize traffic flow.

        I assume they are doing this? Or maybe that assumption is laughable? But who is holding their highly paid feet to the fire and judging their performance?

        Like

  2. JCDawg83

    College football is following NASCAR almost step for step.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bright Idea

    I just wish they would quit pretending that they care about how many poor folks and students might show up in the stands. As long as the premium seats are full of big money donors they long ago sold out to TV. $165 tickets (LSU) make me wonder if they’re trying to price themselves out of customers.

    Like

    • Beer Money

      It’s all got to do with the fact that these teams are official partners with Stubhub and they receive data on how much each ticket sells for on their secondary site.

      But what these idiots do is look at a handful of sales from similar games (let’s say a few dozen in each section, and that’s usually being generous) at $165 each and think that the entire section will sell for $165 each.

      In some cases (such as a rare trip for UGA to BR with both teams being highly ranked right now), they hit. But in most cases they overshoot demand and miss. This is why you could see so many empty seats on TV at “huge” games such as UGA @ SCUjr. and LSU @ AU last weekend.

      They HAVE priced out most folks. And good luck getting those folks back.

      Liked by 2 people

      • JCDawg83

        Your last sentence is spot on. I don’t think the geniuses that are running college football realize that once people stop attending games due to price, time demand, etc., it is almost impossible to get them back. The game is on tv and people find other things to do with their spare time and their disposable income.

        College football is living off the older fans right now. Young fans and alumni are not willing to drop the big money and make the time commitment to attend every home game. As the older fans die and age out of going to games there isn’t going to be anyone behind them to take over the tickets. The empty seats at the big games, no matter how few there are, is the canary in the coal mine. It is only a matter of time before all but a handful of the very top ranked team’s games look like Georgia tech home games.

        Liked by 1 person

        • “College football is living off the older fans right now. Young fans and alumni are not willing to drop the big money and make the time commitment to attend every home game.”

          I agree. I’ve been to both home games this year, but only because my dad, two aunts, and two uncles – all of them Boomers – are season ticket holders and have been for decades. They usually only show up for the SEC games, so my siblings and cousins take the cupcake tickets off their hands. There is no way in hell I could justify the cost of season tickets myself, and I can guarantee that none of my sibling will be paying for them either. When the older generation in my family stops buying season tickets, that’ll be it for us, except for the occasional scalped ticket once or twice each fall. Butts-Mehre is counting on a generation of alumni that buys season tickets each year without a second thought about the price. I’m unconvinced the next generation will be waiting in line to take their places when the time comes.

          Like

          • JCDawg83

            Even the boomers are starting to walk away. I know of several long time season ticket buyers who have decided to give them up after next season. They want to see the Notre Dame game in Athens before they give up their tickets. The total cost of renewable season tickets is now so high that, other than maybe one or two games a season, the secondary market is MUCH less expensive. You can buy a ticket to 90% of the games in Athens for $20-40 outside before the game.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Beer Money

              “You can buy a ticket to 90% of the games in Athens for $20-40 outside before the game.”

              And once enough people figure this out, good luck to BM ever selling out of season tix again. National Championship or not, you can’t keep gouging people for terrible home schedules.

              Don’t piss on our leg and tell us it’s raining.

              Like

            • Jim

              I let my season tickets go a few years ago. My experience hasn’t been that the secondary market is cheaper – just the opposite. Though admittedly I’m only buying tickets to the best game and good seats at that

              Like

              • JCDawg83

                If you’re buying on Stubhub you will pay much more than buying at the stadium. Even if you are, your total football watching cost is probably a fraction of what season tickets cost you. The value in season tickets is knowing you have the tickets and knowing where you will sit and who is sitting around you. I know lots of people become friends with the people around them and that adds value.

                I’m not arguing for people to stop buying tickets but I think BM is pushing the envelope on ticket cost and are on a razor’s edge as far as demand. A disappointing season or two combined with an aging ticket buying population and it wouldn’t take a lot for demand to drop significantly. As pointed out earlier; once a ticket buyer is lost, regaining them is very difficult.

                Like

            • Aladawg

              It’s all about seat location. I can and have sold my Section 132 tickets on Stub Hub for games like MTSU and Austin Peay for $150 a pop. Include the fact that I could sell my parking pass in places like Psch/Journalism or Conner Hall for $1,500 for the season and I figure out that these tickets can result in a Fat profit even with the donation right now. Tennessee tickets sold at $400 a piece. Auburn sold at $600.
              Now talk about getting in the stadium only level, then you can get a much better bargain than the much lesser $275/ seat donation level seats cost. Park out in the hinterlands and you don’t pay then yes it’s a lot cheaper cost.
              I track closely what my tickets cost. It’s $159/ticket. Including my pass and the average Stub Hub cost at my location its $199/ticket. Getting into the stadium FOR ALL GAMES only on Stub Hub or by picking up cheap scalpers tickets is about $80. So compare the right things. Even if I decide to not go anymore, for right now I can still make money on the proposition.
              However; if I were a new donor. NO way I buy tickets.
              Thus, all you folks saying as soon as us oldies stop the bucket will fall ARE exactly right. We’ll see what the powers think in about 10-15 years with an empty stadium and Stub Hub dying because the surplus is so ridiculous.

              Like

              • JCDawg83

                I’m glad it’s working for you right now. As long as Kirby can keep us in the top 10 and in the CFP picture, you will probably be able to keep up your prices. I don’t really count Stubhub as the true market price for tickets, they are extremely high in my opinion. I’ve always bought tickets on the bridge or near the stadium and the most I’ve ever paid was $120 for Auburn a few years ago when it was a big game. Two years ago we sold two Auburn tickets downtown and could only get $60 each and demand was high for that game.

                $159 a ticket sounds about right from everyone I talk to with non club tickets. Like I said, as long as we are in the title hunt demand will keep prices up and you should be able to at least get your money back.

                Like

  4. FisheriesDawg

    Speaking of the egg timer, where was it on Saturday? Did they forget to tell it the kickoff time was changed?

    Like

  5. Connor

    I stopped enjoying attending games a long time ago. I still like to go to Athens for a good tailgate, but I prefer to watch the games downtown.

    Like

  6. willypmd

    I still don’t understand why anyone would buy season tickets these days.

    First month of the season is 95+ degree weather or a cupcake opponent or both. I can scalp tickets for below donation + face value and the home game experience in Athens is basically hot garbage. Over priced gross food with undercleaned overcrowded bathrooms.

    I’ll be in Baton Rouge, Auburn, and SEC championship. The rest of the season will be spent in the comfort of my living room drinking good bourbon and eating whatever my grill can hold.

    These administrators can pound sand

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mayor

    The worst SEC Commissioner was Mike Slime IMHO. He was nothing but a bean counter. Sure the conference made money but it lost its soul because Slime didn’t have one.

    Like

  8. Hogbody Spradlin

    Preach on Brian!

    Like

  9. saildawg

    Left a game early for the first time this year, it’s just unbearable sitting on the north side upper deck (300 section) when there is no cloud cover. Put on top of that lack of water access, poor concessions etc it is just hot and boring. I decided to walk home (I live in Athens) at halftime with my wife, and I watched the game on my phone (youtube tv is awesome). We were home by the end of the 3rd quarter, after stopping for an ice cream at ben and jerrys. It was more enjoyable experience than being there for these cupcake games. Anyone who schedules a noon or 3 o’clock game in September should have to sit on the north side for 4 hours with no convenient access to water. I love Georgia Football, and I pinch myself every day thinking about where this team and program are heading. I can rewatch these cupcake games multiple times and find huge enjoyment, but even I couldn’t stand to be in the stands for more than the first half so far this season. I only continue to renew season tickets because I enjoy the people around me so much.

    Like

  10. CB

    Was the egg timer at the game Saturday? I was looking out, but couldn’t find it.

    Like