Category Archives: It’s Just Bidness

Allow her to retort.

So, let’s recap the most recent follies of Butts-Mehre’s Men of Genius, otherwise known as the selling of the season ticket price increase.  It started, as usual, with a little misdirection from our esteemed athletic director.

With the success we have experienced, we will incur increases in compensation to maintain that level of success.  We plan to make substantial adjustments to the compensation of our coaching staff, which will necessitate these ticket increases.

As it turned out, that was a relatively mild effort.  Had he stopped there, well… you’ll see.

Round two saw a new excuse trotted out (“Football’s really our only source of revenue, significant revenue,” McGarity told the media afterward. “In order to maintain your other 20 sports at the level [now]; it’s not my intent to go to the other programs and have cuts. It’s not fair. It’s not the Georgia model. Because we treat all sports equitably. So, this was the way to fully fund those other sports at the same level we have.”), together with the revelation that the proposal was presented in haste to the Athletic Board.  That was combined with a fact sheet prepared by the athletic department and presented to the Board intended to sell the case that the underlying purpose of the increase was to redress a pricing structure at Georgia that was sadly out of line with its conference peers (“UGA athletic officials also were at pains to point out that the football program’s average ticket price of $50 last year ranked 12th out of 14 schools in the SEC.”)  It’s not hard to understand what McGarity was thinking there; it’s just hard to understand why he felt the need to elaborate so.

That all of this was presented in a rush should perhaps have been a tell that all was not as it appeared to be on the surface, but nobody raised any questions.  Nobody except a Georgia alumna with a background in statistics, that is.

Rebecca Phillips, aka StatDawg82, made her introduction at the blog with this substantial dive into the pricing data that should have accompanied McGarity’s fact sheet but didn’t.  As I wrote then, ultimately what she demonstrated with her work was this:

It’s hard to say if the misinformation we’ve received is the result of sloppiness, ignorance or a deliberate fudging of the facts.  What’s not hard to say is that Butts-Mehre didn’t much care either way about accuracy.  Which really translates into not caring about being straight with the bulk of the fan base.

That’s what chaps my derrière here.  Had they merely come out with some variation of “we’re doing this because we can” as justification, I’d  have grumbled some, but in the end, recognized it’s a sign of the times we live in, stroked the check to ‘da Man and moved on.  Instead, we’re fed this “it’s not us, it’s you” garbage.  McGarity can’t bring himself to own fully what he’s doing here.  (Not that accountability has ever been Butts-Mehre’s strong suit.)  This isn’t how an athletic administration should treat a devoted fan base.

That post got a fair amount of attention, culminating in a Seth Emerson piece that contained two items of significance.  First of all, his own research backed up the accuracy of hers.  Second, Greg McGarity chose to respond to her work on the record, publicly.  That proved to be less than convincing:

McGarity, in a phone interview Tuesday, said it wasn’t discussed at the board meeting “because we don’t have the information” on what funding levels are at every school.

“Misleading?” McGarity said. “We never presented that this was an all-in. Because the data is so hard. There are 13 different ways to do that, and it’s very difficult to gather that information.”

In other words, because he didn’t make a complete effort, nobody should have taken his presentation literally.  I’m guessing the Board would have preferred to know that before they voted.  As I posted in response to Seth’s article, there was more to unpack from McGarity’s interview, but the gist of it all was that he’d managed once again to violate the First Rule of Holes.  What should have been defended sparsely  — some variation of “we raised ticket prices because we could” might not have given us the warm and fuzzies, but at least it would have had the virtue of being accurate — became messy because the athletic director wound up misleading the Board and the fan base and lamely trying to defend that in the press.

We’re not done here yet, though.

While I might have been a little surprised that McGarity reacted publicly to a fan’s argument, I wasn’t at all surprised by Phillips’ reaction to McGarity’s comments about her work.

She went back and did more research.  Then she asked that I post it here at the blog.

After Mr. McGarity and UGA responded to my research in the recent Seth Emerson article, I took another look at the data and dug further to see if their facts checked out.  In many cases, they didn’t.

Mr. McGarity’s response to my original email said:

“We were presenting the only real data that was consistent across the board, which was the actual lowest ticket price.”  And so, the data in my original analysis used the lowest ticket price (plus lowest donation) to get the final “in-the-gate price”.

Mr. McGarity’s rebuttal to my original analysis included this:

“Our intent was not to adhere to the lowest ticket price at each stadium, but rather one that best represented the majority of the seats in their respective venues and was the most comparable to our seating options.”  This was a direct contradiction to the previous statement about using “the actual lowest ticket price.”  They went on to say that in some cases the lowest priced sections did not include very many seats.

And so, to allow Mr. McGarity all benefit of the doubt, I completed an additional analysis, this time trying to adhere to the UGAAA’s “rules” for selecting price values (though it’s hard to hit a moving target).  I used the same ticket prices that UGA has chosen as a “fair assessment”.  Looking to their chart, all of the ticket price values now match what I used. Then, I also included the required donation that corresponds to the ticket price (that the UGAAA used) in order to calculate the final “in-the-gate price” for each school.

Again, I’m giving Mr. McGarity every benefit of the doubt by including more donation tiers beyond the minimum so as to include more seats in the analysis.  Even in giving that much ground, the narrative they are spinning STILL doesn’t hold up.  In no academically honest report can you claim that Georgia is 12th out of 14 SEC schools in ticket prices.

A large portion of the UGAAA’s response included naming reasons why the ticket values that they chose to use were most closely aligned with what is available at Georgia.  And so, I reran all calculations using the UGAAA’s chosen ticket price.  And then added the corresponding donation.

Results are shown below, with detail on how each value was calculated.

School Season ticket price Donation amount Per ticket price Notes on how values were selected
Auburn $475 $290.00 $109.29 The UGAAA noted that ‘Auburn has a minimum contribution level of $100, but it is open for a limited amount of seats.’  To combat this complaint, I chose to include the next two donation tiers, up to $290, in order to include even more seats.
Georgia $300 $300.00 $100.00 Because I moved up in donation level for most other schools, I used the $300 donation, which gets into the lower bowl.  I elected not to use the $375 level. Using $300 instead of $375 would put Georgia at #2 rather than #1, but I did not want to have any chance of falsely inflating this value.
Tennessee $420 $250.00 $95.71 Many seats fall in the $0 donation sections, but I chose to include the next two donation tiers, up to $250, in order to include even more seats.
LSU $425 $125.00 $91.67 Within the $425 sections, the lowest donation is $125.
Florida $380 $250.00 $90.00 The $150 donation area is in the lower bowl and includes a large number of seats.  But, since UGAAA says that donation level only covers “portions of 10 sections” of the stadium, I chose to include the next two donation tiers, up to $250, in order to include even more seats.
Alabama $445 $160.00 $86.43 In case the UGAAA feels that the $60 or $110 sections don’t include enough seats, I used the next highest donation tier of $160.
Arkansas $360 $150.00 $85.00 The UGAAA mentioned that they used the $360 ticket price because it covers more seats in the lower bowl.  I chose to include the next two donation tiers that apply in the lower bowl, up to $150, in order to include even more seats.
Texas A&M $490 $30.00 $74.29 The lowest donation price, $30, applies to a large number of seats, and corresponds to the $490 price used by UGAAA.
South Carolina $365 $137.50 $71.79 The $50 donation area includes a large number of seats.  In addition to the $50 per seat, there is a “club” fee of $175 to order 2 tickets, or $87.50 per seat.
Ole Miss $400 $50.00 $64.29 Even though there are a large number of lower bowl tickets available without a donation, I used the next highest level of $50.
Missouri $379 $65.00 $63.43 Even though, there are many seats (including lower bowl options) at a $50 donation level, I used the next highest level of $65.
Mississippi St $375 $55.00 $61.43 The UGA Athletic Association felt there were not enough $200 tickets, so I used their selected ticket price of $375.  The lowest donation amount needed for the $375 seats is $55, and that gets into the lower bowl.
Kentucky $310 $100.00 $58.57 Within the $310 ticket price level that the UGAAA selected, there are many seats at a $0 donation level.  I chose to include the next donation tier of $100, in order to include even more seats, and get into the lower bowl.
Vanderbilt $300 $0.00 $42.86 Although seats are available in the lower bowl for $170, I will go with the UGAAA reported price of $300, which can be purchased with a $0 donation.

 

I am very aware that it is complex to fairly compare prices across 14 stadiums.  Bottom line.  Until a seat-by-seat analysis is conducted across 14 stadiums, stop publishing that Georgia is #12 of 14 in SEC ticket prices.

And, give the Board accurate, complete information before asking them to vote on a major decision.

In addition to the faulty narrative being presented by Mr. McGarity, my new analysis proved some ADDITIONAL errors in their “facts”.

1) They stated: “For instance, the lowest-priced season ticket at LSU was $360. However, that price is only available in two sections in the upper decks at Tiger Stadium. The rest of the stadium offers season tickets at $425, which was the number cited in our research. It did not make sense to make two upper-deck sections in a stadium that seats more than 102,000 fans as the benchmark for our research.”

Today, I contacted the LSU ticket office.  There are actually 21 sections where the $360 price with $0 donation is available.  Nevertheless, I used the $425 amount for my new calculation to match the value they used.

2) They stated:  “Auburn has a minimum contribution level of $100, but it is open for a limited amount of seats.’”

But, the UGAAA has repeatedly challenged my assertion that mandatory donations should be counted as part of season ticket prices.  How then can they then use this minimum contribution as part of their argument?

And some things worth noting:

– The UGAAA reported that Florida has already approved donation increases for next year.  True.  Though they neglected to mention that Florida has simultaneously announced some donation decreases.  Florida states that “Approximately 37 percent of the seat contributions are going down or staying at the same contribution level.” (It is painful to think I might trust information put out by Florida more than Georgia.)

– I would like to note that my original chart listed USC’s ticket price at $415 while UGA’s chart showed the price at $365.  I learned today that this is because the $415 quoted price includes the $50 per seat donation!  In addition to the $50 per seat donation, there is another $87.50 per seat donation.  Hence a difference from how it was listed before, but the per-ticket price remains the same.

– My original analysis did not use the Pocket Pass at Kentucky, as I too felt like it was not a comparable ticket option.

Yes, there is a lot to unpack there.  Just so you don’t lose sight of what this discussion is really about, let me repeat the money part of her response:

I am very aware that it is complex to fairly compare prices across 14 stadiums.  Bottom line.  Until a seat-by-seat analysis is conducted across 14 stadiums, stop publishing that Georgia is #12 of 14 in SEC ticket prices.

And, give the Board accurate, complete information before asking them to vote on a major decision.

In other words, Greg, if you’re not going to put in the work to show otherwise, don’t make assertions you can’t back up.  Don’t make the Athletic Board an accomplice to the consequences of a shoddy sales pitch, either.

Math is hard.  Being straight with the Board and the fan base shouldn’t be harder.  That’s the way Butts-Mehre rolls, unfortunately.

I was tempted to title this post The Last Word, for obviously snarky reasons, but there’s a part of me that wonders if Greg McGarity is sensitive enough to fashion yet another response to her.  You’d think not, as Rebecca Phillips has shown she’s got some Erk Russell in her, but some people can’t help but rise to take the bait when their commitment to transparency is questioned.  Stay tuned for further developments.

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97 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

If you pay it, they will come.

Evidently, Phil Fulmer’s of a mind that Tennessee can buy its way back to championship level.

Tennessee’s salary pool for assistant coaches in 2017 ranked 10th in the country and sixth in the Southeastern Conference. The $1 million bump for the 2018 staff would vault Tennessee to fourth in the nation and third in the SEC when compared to last year’s numbers, which USA Today compiled in a database. USA Today has not released a database for 2018 salaries.

The highest-paid assistant under Pruitt will be offensive coordinator Tyson Helton, who is set to make $1.2 million, according to his contract. The contracts were obtained by the Times Free Press through an open records request.

Including Pruitt’s $3.81 million salary, the annual cost for Tennessee’s new staff will be $10.1 million. That figure also includes the $625,000 salary of strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald. In all of college football, only Iowa’s Chris Doyle made more as a strength coach last year, according to USA Today.

The salaries of the Tennessee football staff totaled $9.1 million in 2017.

At a time when Tennessee owes Jones a $2.5 million annual buyout, the high salary pool for the new staff indicates Fulmer’s desire to see the Vols return to the glory they enjoyed during his tenure as coach in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Make sure you check out the bump Kevin Sherrer got to swap red and black for orange.

9 Comments

Filed under Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, It's Just Bidness

Making ends meet with millions in the bank

If you haven’t read Seth Emerson’s follow-up to my last post about the season ticket price hike, you really ought to do so, if for no other reason than to learn the identity of StatDawg82.  Seriously, the reason you should is because Seth managed to get Greg McGarity on the record.  History tells you that’s usually not a good thing for the athletic department when he does and, true to form, it’s not in this case, either.

Before I get to that, let’s recap what came before the announcement of the new pricing policy at the Athletic Board meeting, as well as the nature of the way that policy was sold to the Board and to the fan base.  There was the push for early 2018 Hartman Fund contributions to beat the change to the tax code eliminating the deduction for the contribution, offered without any mention of what 2018 ticket prices would be.  Then, in the period before the Board meeting came a couple of coy hints of what was to come, this time without any reference as to when the price change would be implemented.

At the meeting, the increase was introduced with little explanation, other than this fact sheet the school produced.  The key point there was this:

The focus was solely on the price of the ticket.  Total fan outlay, including contributions, was not ever mentioned.  Misleading?  Hard to see how it wasn’t.  Deliberate?  Well, I guess you could say reasonable minds could differ on that.  After all, I did.

It’s hard to say if the misinformation we’ve received is the result of sloppiness, ignorance or a deliberate fudging of the facts. What’s not hard to say is that Butts-Mehre didn’t much care either way about accuracy. Which really translates into not caring about being straight with the bulk of the fan base.

Which brings us to McGarity’s defense in the face of Rebecca Phillips’ challenge.  As you might suspect, it’s pretty shoddy.

It is hard to compare the true cost of ticket prices from school to school because you can’t take them at face value. Most every school, including Georgia, requires a donation to buy season tickets. Georgia is at the high end on minimum donation, but after that, the costs at each school vary.

But UGA officials didn’t really address that when they presented their findings to the Athletic Board. They presented material that only ranked the season ticket prices, not the donations. And prior to the vote, the board didn’t really press the point – and after the vote, neither did the media, quite frankly.

It can can be argued, as Phillips and other fans are arguing, that UGA only presented limited data that fit its argument ― that UGA tickets had been (past tense) among the cheapest in the conference and among top-tier football powers. Whether that’s true, however, is hard to say.

McGarity, in a phone interview Tuesday, said it wasn’t discussed at the board meeting “because we don’t have the information” on what funding levels are at every school.

“Misleading?” McGarity said. “We never presented that this was an all-in. Because the data is so hard. There are 13 different ways to do that, and it’s very difficult to gather that information.”

In essence, his rebuttal is that math is hard.  He didn’t bother with a complete explanation because it would have been too much work for his department.  And because he never explicitly said ticket prices were all that mattered, no one should have assumed his presentation, which only referenced ticket prices, was making that very argument.

We’re suckers, in other words.  Hell, the sad thing is that he’s not exactly wrong about that.  As Emerson notes, neither the Board nor the media challenged McGarity on this until Phillips spoke up.

Up to this point, all I can do is shake my head ruefully.  But, as usual with McGarity, he never quits when he’s ahead.  Here’s the outrageous part of his argument:

McGarity, asked his response to that criticism, pointed to the Athletic Board meeting on Jan. 30 and said that it was the only time to address the issue. The previous board meeting was in September; the next one is in May. So, was there any thought on delaying this until 2019?

“Well, I think trying the budget and foreseeing what our expenses will be for fiscal year ’19, we knew that we had to do this to make ends meet,” said McGarity, who then was asked about the school’s reserve funds. “The reserve funds are not intended to get into operating expenses. We do that to a certain degree, minimal, to an amount that is done at this time to offset expenses.”

“The reserve funds are not intended to get into operating expenses.”  What?  You mean the reserve funds about which you said less than a year ago,

“It’s like anything else in life,” athletics director Greg McGarity said Thursday. “There could be a curveball in your personal life, and my life, that we did not anticipate. So (that’s) the one thing that we don’t have to worry about. It’s just solid business practice. It’s probably the best way to say it. It’s the unexpected.”

But Georgia football and the SEC continue to bring in massive revenues. The SEC last year paid out $39 million to Georgia.

So what is Georgia worried about needing the money for?

“It’s a good practice to have at least six months of operating expenses in case the unforeseen happens, that we don’t know about,” McGarity said. “That’s the financial strength that our athletic board mandated, long before I arrived. So it’s a philosophy that’s been in place for decades. Thank the lord.”

The reserve funds you claimed are tucked into a rainy day fund for emergencies like this?

McGarity pointed to unforeseen expenses that have already occurred: Paying off previous head coach Mark Richt and his staff. That amounted to about $7 million. As for the future, there are still NCAA lawsuits in the system, McGarity pointed out, related to student-athlete pay and concussions. He also pointed to the NCAA in the last couple years allowing schools to pay athletes for cost-of-attendance and for increased meals.

“There are a lot of assumptions that people are making, that this revenue stream is going to be there forever,” McGarity said. “If we end up having to pay student-athletes down the road, where is that money going to come from? … There are a lot of unknowns, and what this allows us to do, and the right way, is to have a buffer there that allows us to cover the unexpected.”

Those reserve funds?

Forget about ’em.  The message sent here is that regardless of the circumstances, if the athletic department finds itself needing more money — which is for all intents and purposes a permanent state of mind now — it’s going to hit up our wallets and scrape up whatever justification it can invent to suit its immediate need.  I suppose that’ll work as long as it works.  But what a way to treat your fan base.

And, boy, does this ring hollow.

McGarity was asked if going back he wished they had done anything differently in presenting the ticket price increase.

“When you can’t draw on specific data, it’s very difficult to present data that is inconclusive,” McGarity said. “I think it just reaches the point that that was not the thrust of the meeting. I don’t think there was anything that we did that was in a dishonest way. Our goal was just to be fully transparent with everyone. We presented it as best we could with the information that was solid and indisputable. The other was just so complex that I don’t know how you get your hands around that. Everyone knows the Hartman Fund was in play. It wasn’t a situation where we were trying to run away from anything at all. It was just strictly focused on the face value of the tickets.”

It’s not that he couldn’t draw on specific data.  It’s that he wouldn’t.  McGarity chose never to find the data in the first place, because its absence made for an easier presentation.  I’ll leave it for you to decide whether that’s dishonest or not.

Certainly it pales in comparison with this.

DawgNation was able to independently confirm Phillips’ information from several schools, including Florida, Auburn and Alabama. No schools that were contacted disputed Phillips’ figures. Phillips also provided copies of her emails and replies from the SEC and other ticket offices she contacted to get her information.

Regardless of McGarity’s probity, if you’re sensible, when it comes to stroking a check to the athletic department going forward, it’s caveat emptor all the way, baby.  As I keep saying, that’s a helluva to run a railroad, Greg.

68 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Job security

I have a simple question.

How bad would Auburn have to be this season for Malzahn to be fired on December 1st without cause?  Honestly, I’m not sure I can come up with an adequate scenario.

Who in their right mind obligates themselves to that kind of money for a football coach?

35 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, It's Just Bidness

Commanding the tide to stop

This ought to work about as well as it did for King Canute.

The salaries and contract lengths of football and men’s basketball head coaches and assistant coaches have dramatically increased in recent years and only continue to grow.

Texas A&M made waves in the offseason when it hired former Florida State football head coach Jimbo Fisher to the same position, signing him to a fully guaranteed 10-year, $75 million contract, according to ESPN. Alabama spent $11,132,000 on football head coach Nick Saban last year, according to USA Today head coach salary database.

Though Ohio State pays its coaches in the upper echelon of salaries, it has avoided paying what Athletics Director Gene Smith believes to be unnecessarily large salaries for coaches.

“I don’t even put Texas A&M in our sphere because I’m considering Urban [Meyer]’s situation with three years left on his contract,” Smith said during Ohio State’s Board of Trustees’ Talent and Compensation Committee meeting Thursday. “Talking with [Susan Basso, vice president of human resources] and [Joanna McGoldrick, associate vice president of total rewards], that’s not even someone that we’re comparing with because it’s so ridiculous.

“It’s the same way with Alabama and their total salary. Take it off the sheet because it doesn’t matter. Because it’s just no value to it. It’s a reactionary type of management.”

Corch’s contract expires in three years.  Assuming the man wants to keep coaching at the time, I’ll be curious to see how reactionary Smith’s management is then.

(h/t)

15 Comments

Filed under It's Just Bidness, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

“This is a byproduct of success.”

I’ve chosen to revisit the subject of the season ticket price hike, for a couple of reasons.  One, since my initial posts on the matter, I’ve received a number of emails from folks expressing anger with the way the athletic department implemented the increase, and, even more interesting, a number of those emails were from fans who simply copied me with the emails they’d sent Greg McGarity on the topic.

Two, I’m not sure I’ve emphasized sufficiently that my problem lies not with the amount of the raise, or even that the school raised prices at all, as it is the steady stream of misrepresentations Butts-Mehre has made in the process of garnering more funds from the fan base as its excitement over the football program’s progress grew.

The worst of that was, as I’ve posted before, the cynical bait-and-switch tactic used by the athletic department to entice fans motivated to buy SECCG tickets to increase their 2017 contributions.  This offer was made despite that most would be misled by its terms, such that the additional contributions would be insufficient to meet a stated target — what was a cutoff in the minds of potential contributors was merely a proposed target by the athletic office — and, to make matters worse, any such contributions paid would be dead money, unable to be applied towards any 2018 targets.

The current version of that misdirection is the sales job McGarity would have us accept that for all these years, we season ticket purchasers have gotten a relative bargain on our loyalties, compared with what other SEC fan bases were paying for the same privilege.  Bill King has a typical example here:

UGA athletic officials also were at pains to point out that the football program’s average ticket price of $50 last year ranked 12th out of 14 schools in the SEC. The new average price ($66.42) will put UGA fifth in the league, behind LSU ($70.83), Texas A&M ($70), Auburn ($67.85) and Alabama ($66.57).

They have a valid point about Georgia historically ranking in the bottom third of the conference in ticket prices…

See?  You shouldn’t be angry about the price increase.  You should feel guilty about how little you’ve paid for years!  The best defense is a good offense, and all that.

The only problem is that it’s sheer fiction.

I don’t want you to take my word for that, either.  It’s at this point in the post that I’d like to introduce you to StatDawg82.  She’s a Dawg boasting two degrees from UGA (BS Statistics – UGA 2005; MS Statistics – UGA 2007) with, as you can see, a background in statistics.  Like me, the “you fans don’t realize you’ve never had it so good” shtick didn’t sit particularly well with her.  Unlike me, though, she decided to research the matter thoroughly.

What she found moved her to email the athletic director.  With her permission, what follows is the text of what she sent him.

As a Double Dawg from the University of Georgia Statistics department, I am upset not only by the sudden huge increase in football ticket prices, but moreover for the gross misrepresentation of information.  The numbers presented in the charts about ticket prices for peer schools are misleading.

Over the last three days, since Tuesday’s announcement, I looked at each school’s website, and contacted many of their ticket offices to collect data.  The biggest concern with the numbers you presented is that you excluded the per-seat donation.  As this is a requirement to obtain tickets, it is only fair to include this in the actual price of the tickets.

This analysis looks at the least expensive way to obtain season tickets, as this is what I personally purchase.  The following chart shows the cheapest option to purchase season tickets at each school.  I used 2017 data, to stay comparable to your chart.  You will notice that Georgia comes in at the very TOP of the list.  The very most expensive ticket in the ENTIRE Southeastern Conference.  And this is before the price increase you announced on Tuesday.  After contacting ticket offices this week, most SEC schools are not increasing their prices next year.

The required minimum donation and increased price will put us at $105.71 per ticket, when the next highest price (including minimum donation) is $82.14 per ticket.  The average per-ticket price (of the minimum price available) for all of the other SEC schools is $54.42.  Your new pricing has the lowest price available for Georgia tickets at almost double the average!

You will also note that we have the very highest minimum donation in the SEC.  Florida is the next highest, and at $150, our minimum requirement is nearly double that amount!

School Minimum ticket price Minimum donation Per ticket price with donation UGA reported per ticket price
Georgia $300.00 $275.00 $95.83 $50.00
Auburn $475.00 $100.00 $82.14 $67.86
Florida $380.00 $150.00 $75.71 $54.29
Texas A&M $490.00 $30.00 $74.29 $70.00
Alabama $445.00 $60.00 $72.14 $63.57
South Carolina $415.00 $87.50 $71.79 $52.14
Ole Miss $400.00 $50.00 $64.29 $57.14
Tennessee $420.00 $0.00 $60.00 $60.00
LSU $360.00 $0.00 $60.00 $70.83
Arkansas $250.00 $0.00 $41.67 $60.00
Kentucky $240.00 $0.00 $34.29 $44.29
Mississippi St $200.00 $0.00 $28.57 $53.57
Missouri $150.00 $0.00 $21.43 $54.14
Vanderbilt $148.00 $0.00 $21.14 $42.86

Your second chart that shows ticket prices from Peer Institutions from around the nation is equally misleading.  Other than Notre Dame (which has superior facilities and an excellent customer service mindset, as well as wealthier graduates), Georgia is again atop the list in both per-ticket price and also minimum donation.

School Minimum ticket price Minimum donation Per ticket price with donation UGA reported per ticket price
Notre Dame $400.00 $750.00 $164.29 $57.14
Georgia $300.00 $275.00 $95.83 $50.00
Oklahoma $455.00 $100.00 $92.50 $65.00
Michigan $430.00 $78.00 $84.67 $71.67
Clemson $385.00 $100.00 $69.29 $55.00
Virginia Tech $350.00 $0.00 $58.33 $58.33
Florida St $295.00 $35.00 $55.00 $42.14
Penn State $385.00 $0.00 $55.00 $60.00
TCU $300.00 $0.00 $50.00 $50.00
Michigan St $343.00 $0.00 $49.00 $49.00
Louisville $210.00 $0.00 $35.00 $59.00
Texas $199.00 $0.00 $33.17 $59.17

I know that it takes money to run a great organization.  But it’s not fair to create a system that leaves out loyal fans who are not super-rich.  Raising prices is one thing.  But your minimum is too high.  Raise the prices on the better seats.  Raise the donation for the better seats.  Raise the prices for new ticket purchasers.  But, like Georgia’s peer institutions have all done, leave a way for the “regular people” to get in the door.  You’re pushing us out, and I’m disheartened, to say the least.  I have been a season ticket holder since I graduated in 2007, and have not missed a home game since I started school at UGA in 2001.  I fear the day is coming when I will have to make the financially responsible decision to no longer experience something I so very much enjoy.

Georgia is not in the bottom 3rd of ticket prices, as you claim.  You owe it to the Georgia faithful to be honest and transparent with them about the true price of tickets.

To his credit, McGarity responded.  I won’t post his reply, since I don’t have his permission to do so. but you should know he didn’t quibble with her base data.  As for the rest of his response, I’ll leave it to you to fill in the gaps based on StatDawg82’s follow-up to him.

You were inconsistent in which ticket price you chose to present for each school.  You say that you chose the lowest ticket price.

– For Missouri and Kentucky, you did not use the lowest ticket price. 

– For LSU, Arkansas, and Mississippi State you actually used the highest available ticket price. Not the lowest.

– For South Carolina and Vanderbilt, the values you chose are not listed as an option for 2017 prices.

School UGA Reported Season Ticket Price Actual Minimum Season Ticket Price
Missouri $379 $150
Kentucky $310 $240
LSU $425 $360
Arkansas $360 $250
Mississippi St $375 $200
South Carolina $365 $415
Vanderbilt $300 $148

Also, the SEC chart says that Mississippi State and Kentucky had 6 home games when they actually had 7, though the per-ticket price is correct using 7 games.

The peer chart states that Oklahoma and Florida State had 7 home games, when they actually had 6.  This makes the per-ticket calculation in the chart incorrect.

It’s embarrassing that you published inaccurate, misleading information while trying to justify your ticket price increase.  As you know, most people will just believe what they see in a chart.

While it would be time consuming to conduct a full seat-by-seat analysis across 14 SEC stadiums, it could certainly be done.  Since you are not conducting that study at this time, the easiest way that I can compare across the board is to look at the cheapest way to get into each stadium.  In 2017, it was not possible to purchase Georgia tickets at $50 each.  It is a dishonest representation to pretend that they could be purchased for that amount.  You should make a public correction so that your supporters have the real numbers.  It is the only honorable thing to do.

 

It’s hard to say if the misinformation we’ve received is the result of sloppiness, ignorance or a deliberate fudging of the facts.  What’s not hard to say is that Butts-Mehre didn’t much care either way about accuracy.  Which really translates into not caring about being straight with the bulk of the fan base.

That’s what chaps my derrière here.  Had they merely come out with some variation of “we’re doing this because we can” as justification, I’d  have grumbled some, but in the end, recognized it’s a sign of the times we live in, stroked the check to ‘da Man and moved on.  Instead, we’re fed this “it’s not us, it’s you” garbage.  McGarity can’t bring himself to own fully what he’s doing here.  (Not that accountability has ever been Butts-Mehre’s strong suit.)  This isn’t how an athletic administration should treat a devoted fan base.

I want to share a couple of final notes on this with you.  StatDawg82, to her credit, stands by her research, and, as such, is willing to make herself available during the day to answer questions any of you may have about how she compiled her information.  Please keep any comments or questions you may have for her on point.  To the extent any of you see this as an opportunity to take advantage of her good nature, rest assured I won’t let that go very far.

Second, and back to the fan base for a moment, make sure you take note of an observation Bill King made in that linked post.  It may be more depressing that what I’ve already posted here.

As part of making a case for the price hikes, a fact sheet put together by UGA notes that secondary market data shows that demand for Georgia football tickets far exceeds the face value of the ticket. Last season, the average price on StubHub was $113.43 per game.

The athletic association also hinted it could have been worse: “Many schools charge a premium for higher-demand seats above the base season-ticket price, which is not being recommended at this time.”

Yeah, at this time.

They’re just getting started.  This is our future.  It’s a real shame that they can’t spend half the effort and energy they’re using to find new ways to wring an extra dollar out of us to make the game day experience better for us slobs.  But it’s not a surprise.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

Today, in fine for me, but not for thee

Reader and occasional commenter RaleighwoodDawg sends along one of those “it’s what’s on the front of the jersey that matters” stories.

UNC has had a long working relationship with Nike and is close to completing a new, highly lucrative deal with the sports apparel giant.

The current Nike contract, worth about $36.85 million to the university the past 10 years, is a public record. Financial details of the upcoming extension, likely to be for 10 years and expected to be signed this month, also will be made public.

UNC basketball coach Roy Williams and football coach Larry Fedora have separate, personal service contracts with Nike but are not required to disclose the value of their deals.

Personal service contracts?  Um… wait… I thought you said…

UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said the coaches’ personal services contracts are allowed by the university.

“The University’s agreement with Nike recognizes that coaches may enter into personal services agreements with Nike,” Cunningham said. “The University has determined that those agreements do not present a conflict of interest.”

Asked if Williams’ lengthy association with Nike – Williams had a Nike deal while coach at Kansas – in any way influenced negotiations for a new apparel contract, Cunningham said, “No, it did not.”

Cunningham said he is “familiar” with the terms of each coach’s personal contract, saying he reviews the agreements but does not retain copies.

Sounds perfectly kosher to me, at least as long as you can ignore that whole conflict of interest thing.  Which it appears the AD has no problem doing.  For coaches, that is.  It would be a complete disaster to let a player sign one of those puppies.  College sports must be pure!

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Filed under It's Just Bidness