Friday, January 6, 2017

PJ Rowing the Boat to Minnesota! Could LESS Actually Be MORE???

This Just In:  PJ Fleck is Rowing the Boat across Lake Michigan to Minneapolis to assume same position for the University of Minnesota.

I haven’t commented at length on any of the hires this season (with the exception of maybe Taggart to Oregon – which I thought was a great move) and I do think Minnesota has made a great hire in PJ Fleck.  Purdue’s hiring of Brohm and Indiana’s hiring of Allen left me kind of “Meh”.  This one doesn’t.  Someone from the B1G finally figured out that hiring an up and coming coach from the MAC that kind of owned your Division (with wins over Northwestern and Illinois) makes sense!

As everyone knows, in 4 years, Fleck went from 1-11 in his first season at Western to this year’s perfect regular season and a respectable Cotton Bowl appearance. 

That’s saying something for the once MAC doormat WMU Broncos.  CMU has always been the “better” MAC football school in Michigan and seemed to draw better coaches and talent than either Western or Eastern.  Western and Fleck found each other and it worked out very well for both parties. 

The question is:  Can Fleck enter into the hemorrhaging disaster of Gopherland Athletics, Politics and overall strife and dismay and get everyone on board with his way of thinking?  It starts with attitude and building character, something that Fleck seems to do pretty well.  I just wonder if he knows how bad it is right now in the Twin Cities. Don’t get me wrong:  Basketball, Hockey and apparently gymnastics are all doing very well. 

But everyone knows its football that pays the bills and right now, Gopherball is under a lot of scrutiny.

Unfortunately, WMU trademarked the Row the Boat mantra which Fleck kind of copied from former Rutgers Head Coach “Chop the Wood” Schiano who used that mantra while Fleck was on his staff at Rutgers.

So on an MMQ lighter note…

Ski-U-Mah might actually become the “thing” again at Minnesota or maybe there’s something else that Fleck comes up with to keep the focus on the tasks at hand.

Hmmmm….Gophers, Gophers, Gophers….Maybe “Keep Digging the Hole?”  No….Wrong message.  “Gnaw or Chew the Wood?”  Nope, nope, nope…that sounds like a really bad strip club slogan  I guess we’ll just let Fleck and Goldy think on it awhile and I’m sure they’ll come up with something!

Could Less Be More?

I came across an article in Bloomberg News talking about small universities and the struggles they have in College Football.  While it’s not a new revelation – I think all small to mid-major D-1 programs struggle with the costs and headaches associated with college football – one of the things that New Mexico State University is considering is very new AND interesting to me.

NMSU, by choice, will televise LESS GAMES for the next 2-3 seasons.

Why?  To increase fan interest in returning to the stadiums and selling more tickets to generate revenue.

NMSU doesn’t get that much money from TV.  So the experiment makes a lot of sense, in a way, for NMSU.  …..Here’s an excerpt from the article:

One athletic director, in little Las Cruces, N.M., is trying to rebalance the scales. For the next couple of years, Mario Moccia plans to do all he can to keep the New Mexico State University Aggies off TV. Think of it like an NFL broadcast blackout.

“I’m choosing not to do damage to myself,” Moccia said. He suspects more people will come to the games if they can’t watch from home and the school will make up any lost revenue at the gate. Only 5 percent of the Aggies' $29 million annual athletic budget comes from TV, and Moccia figures it’s worth experimenting.

It's hard to overstate how unusual Moccia is. The pursuit of TV money has led programs and conferences to make all kinds of concessions, and while that might make short-term sense -- media money is guaranteed, ticket sales are not -- it threatens to irritate and alienate the fan base over the long term. In the Pac-12 Conference, for example, broadcasters adjust the kickoff times for schools six to 12 days in advance, often to the frustration of ticket-holders. The Mid-American Conference, a league of schools on par with NMSU, agreed in its deal with ESPN to play football on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, conscious that the games would draw smaller crowds.

A large college program wouldn’t benefit from this tactic due to the fact that there’s SO MUCH TV money

Or would they?

Whenever I see something like this the Ole MMQ’s brain starts to turn things over in his head and consider the possibilities of what could be…Always see both sides.

A little background and the fragile mindset of the casual fan:   As season ticket holders, we received our preferred seat donation request right before the holidays via E-mail and also received the paper copy right after the holiday. 

To give you an idea of how much the PSD is, here’s a list:

Seating Tier                         PSD

Victors                                    $630

Valiant                                   $500

Maize                                     $370

Blue                                        $210

End Zone                              $78

Outdoor Club #1                  $3,255

Outdoor Club #2                  $2,440

Outdoor Club #3                  $1,630

Westisde Chair Back 1       $2,205

Westside Chair Back 2       $1,340

Indoor Club                           $4,000

That’s per TICKET.  So, if you have two, multiply by 2, or 3, 4 etc.  Maff is easy!

And don’t forget you still gotta buy the tix…So add another $600 per ticket or so on to that total.

So, when I look at the ole MMQ entertainment budget, I’m certainly happy that I’m in the End Zone and I’m the lowest price PSD up there.  My boss has 4 in the Maize section and he was just in my office ranting about how much his total cost is and that he would probably be “giving them up” when he retires due to the fact that he sells most of his tickets now and prefers to watch on TV. 

But what if Michigan WASN’T on TV every week? 

So I asked him, “If Michigan wasn’t on TV, would you go to more games?”

“Now that they’re good again, probably.  Yes.  It would be worth the effort.”

See where I’m going here?  Michigan has a lot of fans that are on the cusp of how much of their entertainment dollar they want to spend on Michigan games. (And Remember – there’s no waiting list at Michigan anymore!) And it’s not just the tix…Parking, tailgating, everything adds up.  When I do some serious soul searching, I realize that I could be doing other stuff with that dough as well…Like helping to pay for my daughters’ college tuitions for the next 4 to 6 years. 

But what if, and I’m spit-balling here, the University of Michigan decided that two home games a season wouldn’t be televised?  Would that create the following:

  1. More demand and a higher price from the networks that would want to get Michigan on their network for the remaining 4 home games?  Probably.  If we assume for a minute that Michigan COULD do this (basically break their contracts) and ultimately create a bidding war for the right to air their home games, my guess is you could get just as much revenue from 4 televised games as you would from 6 televised games.  Maybe more!
  2. The ticket DEMAND for those two home games (even if it’s frickin’ Hawaii) would soar.  Meaning that if an average fan wanted to sell his tix and try to make a little extra scratch, well, the opportunity to do that with a crappy game.  And justify the investment every season.
  3. Selfish Reason:  The dream of a home game without TV timeouts would be alive!!!  Do you know how much I would love to attend good old fashioned game without TV TIMEOUTS!!!????
  4. And Michigan would have better attendance at those two games and sell more concessions, etc.

I guess what I’m asking is:  Could LESS actually be MORE?

Is there an argument where not being on TV could raise interest for local fans?  I get that you’re going to piss off a WHOLE LOT OF PEOPLE that don’t live in the state that have grown used to tuning in and catching their alma mater on the tube every week.  That’s an issue that needs to be thought through….

I’d love to see my season tickets be worth more than what I’m spending for them is what I’m saying.

Where’s all this going?  As the big boys get bigger, the little guys are realizing that there’s no way to keep up.  So instead of being “fodder” for ESPN “The Ocho”, their keeping their content private and away from the media...In order to generate more revenue.


Msuperfan said...

I am of the EXACT OPPOSITE opinion. Attendance to live top-tier sporting events is becoming prohibitively expensive for the average fan. As this trend continues, the attendees become increasingly wealthy, and, it is my contention, less enthusiastic. I also suspect that the % of corporate seat owners in increasing. How much serious cheering goes on by fans attending with the boss?
Thus my thought is that ticket prices for large sections of the stadium (in addition to student tix) should be lowered, as long as the TV revenue stays strong. In other words, let the millions of viewers subsidize the real fans that want to attend live. Let's face it, there are thousands of M fans that take up seats who should just watch from home because they ARE NOT FANS, they are spectators.

Msuperfan said...

P.S. You never provided a serious review/commentary on my Bowl/playoff proposal; nor did you comment on my question posed in response to your latest playoff plan post about our season ending in November?