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Which college sold the most football tickets in 2010?

Posted by ZA on September 7, 2010

Season ticket sales are one of the biggest revenue drivers for the athletic departments at universities.  Locking fans into that season ticket commitment guarantees that revenue for the coming season.  In a touch economy, which schools had the most success in selling season tickets in 2010?  Below are the top 10 schools with biggest increase in season ticket sales for 2010 over 2009.  The data was compiled in an informal survey by the Birmingham News.

Top 10 biggest % increase in college football season tickets sold (2010):
1. Houston (+ 70%)
2. Marshall (+ 45%)
3. Louisville (+ 31%)
4. Toledo (+ 23%)
5. Texas Tech (+ 20%)
6. Oregon State (+ 18%)
7. Air Force (+ 12%)
8. Alabama (+ 11%)
8. Arizona (+ 11%)
8. Indiana (+ 11%)
8. Washington (+ 11%)

Top 5 biggest % drops in season ticket sales (in 2010 from 2009):

1. UTEP (- 23%)
2. New Mexico (- 20%)
3. Navy (- 19%)
4. Washington State (- 13%)
5. Cal, Hawaii & Kansas (- 11%)

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Posted in College Football, College Sports, Tickets | Leave a Comment »

New York Yankees COO comes clean

Posted by ZA on March 30, 2009

A lot of executives put off the persona that nothing phases them…they subscribe to the ‘never let them see you sweat’ mantra.  But not New York Yankees COO, Lonn Trost, who will tell you exactly how he really feels.

The Yankees’ Trost had a great quote in the Newark Star-Ledger about how he is feeling coming into the 2009 baseball season.   Trost said, “Most expensive stadium, highest prices and the worst economy in history means I don’t sleep at night.  Everybody in every walk of life is suffering from the economy, and we’re no different“.

One of the most powerful people in one of the most successful sports franchises on the planet isn’t getting a good night’s sleep.  He’s worried about how the Yankees are going to fill up their luxurious, new stadium every night.  I love that Trost is so honest about the Yankees situation, because I’m not sure everyone in his position would be so candid.

Trost is probably right not to be sleeping so well, because the challenge facing the Yankees is a daunting one.  They are opening up the new Yankee Stadium at a time when discretionary spending in New York City is at one of its lowest points this decade.  The financial sector of New York has taken it squarely on the nose during this economic downturn.  The Yankees were obviously counting on selling luxury seats to many of those who were most effected.

With many of those prospects suddenly unable to buy season tickets at new Yankee Stadium, the team was forced to put those tickets on-sale to the public.  The single game ticket on-sale the Yankees offered through Ticketmaster featured scores of seats priced between $350 and $2600.  Imagine the pain the Yankees are feeling selling that $2600.00 Infield Box seat on a game-by-game basis.  The only thing worse would be not selling that seat.  Lonn Trost is a guy who is most feeling that pain.

In the long-run the New York Yankees will be fine.  But the next few seasons, particularly after the hype of this inaugural season in the new ballpark is gone, could be rougher financially than what they’ve experienced recently.  The Yankees are going to face the same challenge other MLB teams have faced for years.  They’ll be forced to watch their spending closely as they try to sell out all of their tickets.

[Assist: Sports Business Daily]

Posted in MLB, Sports Brands, Tickets, Venue Information | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Will the NBA & NHL be forced to cut teams?

Posted by ZA on March 24, 2009

There is a saying that “once is chance, twice is coincidence and three times is a pattern.”  If that saying is true, then we will soon see a pattern of conversations about the NBA and NHL being forced to shut down teams due to the economy.  That is because a couple of knowledgeable sports columnists have recently written articles about the dire situation for certain teams due to the current economy.  It is only a matter of time until more of the mainstream sports media begin to harp on this subject.

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My initial reaction was surprise at reading in Bill Simmon’s “Welcome to the No Benjamins Association” column that he and his sources guess that between “three and eight” NBA teams will be sold, move to a new city or turn over operations to the league.  I had not thought about this possibility because I naively assumed that all of these owners or ownership groups had sufficient capital to ride out the current economic storm.  But I heard a similar story, confirming what Simmons has heard, when I talked to a friend of mine who works in the front office of a prominent NBA team.  My friend specifically pointed to the Memphis Grizzlies as an example of a team that is riding on fumes and said everyone in the league knows it.

Simmons went on to say in his article that the situation in the NHL is probably worse than the NBA.  Simmons writes that contraction of teams in the NHL is likely, whereas NBA Commissioner David Stern will probably refuse to cut NBA teams, even if he should do it.  Simmons said Stern’s stubborn nature that would probably be the reason the NBA doesn’t eliminate failing teams.  Wow that is a lot to absorb; it’s hard to fathom multiple NHL teams closing up and the possibility of the same in the NBA.

nhl_logo1

But Bill Simmons makes a compelling case in his column; he mentions the declining attendance, corporations who cannot afford their luxury suites and fans that are choosing to stay home.  Combine those factors with the escalating salaries in the NBA and you start to see a recipe for disaster.  And just when I think I’m starting to get my head around it, then another respected media member comes 0ut with a similar story that adds credibility to the dangerous situation the league’s face.

Darren Rovell, who is master of all things sports and business for CNBC, wrote a column about the trouble owners needing to sell might find in trying to locate a buyer.  He says that some of people who own pro franchises are not nearly as rich today as they were when they bought their club.  That downturn in their net worth may cause some of those owners to be forced to sell their team.

Complicating the matter, says Rovell,  is the fact that the days of debt financing the purchase of a professional sports franchise are done.  That means the only people who have the means to buy a franchise are those with loads of cash; like $300 million dollars or more in liquid assets.  Rovell says at this point that it is probably more feasible for a team to be taken over by their league than sold on the open market right now.

The question then becomes how many teams can the NBA & NHL afford to operate on their own dime?  If the rumblings turn out to be true, and there are a handful of teams in each league that cannot afford to continue on their own, then how can the leagues help them?  The simple answer is that they cannot save them; the NBA and NHL would have to instead shut down some of their teams.

I believe it is beyond theory now, it is going to happen.  The NBA & NHL will have to shutter some of their teams, or make otherwise drastic changes in order to save them.  Fans should get accustomed to this idea now, because it is only a matter of time.

Again, if I had just read it once I might shrug it off as a theory that might not come to fruition.  But this story is out there and being told by people who are “in the know”.  So in my mind it is no longer a matter of “if” the leagues are going to shut down teams, it is “when” they make the decision and how many teams will be affected.

Posted in Improve Attendance, NBA, NHL, Sports Brands, Tickets | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

No more Ticketmaster?

Posted by ZA on February 9, 2009

No, they are not going away entirely as many concert music fans would hope.  But Ticketmaster is dropping their name in their merger with Live Nation.

From the WSJ article on the merger: “The new entity is to be called Live Nation Entertainment Inc. — not Live Nation Ticketmaster, as previously reported…”

I assume the change of plans that has them dropping Ticketmaster from the name of the new company is all about brand.  Ticketmaster is the bigger, more well known entity in this merger.  But the TM brand has been tarnished for years, most recently with the Bruce Springsteen fiasco with Ticketmaster and Ticketsnow.  Rebranding the company under the Live Nation name as “Live Nation Entertainment” gives TM a fresh start.

Smart move for Ticketmaster.  Not only are they eliminating their biggest competitive threat (Live Nation), but they are getting to start over with a new brand name.

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Most expensive tickets in the NFL

Posted by ZA on November 30, 2008

So which teams have the most expensive tickets in the NFL? Below is data for the 2008 NFL season compiled by Team Marketing Report. A few observations before we get into the numbers.

  • Kudos to the Buffalo Bills for having both the lowest average ticket price ($51.24) and lowest Fan Cost Index ($298.96). The Bills are the only team to have a FCI below $300. I hope that change if the Bills start to play more games in Toronto to lure more corporate dollars.
  • The NFL average for ticket price is $72.20 and $396.36 for Fan Cost Index.
  • Expect the Giants, Jets and Cowboys average ticket price to go up dramatically next season once they move into their new stadiums.
  • The Chiefs are absolutely ripping off their loyal fans. Top 10 in league for average ticket price and bottom 5 in league for performance.
  • It’s only 450 miles from Boston, Massachusetts to Buffalo, New York, a relatively short distance between NFL cities. But it will still cost you twice as much to attend a Pats game as it will a Bills game.
  • Patriots fans sure are paying for their team’s success on the field. The Pats average ticket price is 30% higher than the next closest team (Bucs) and their Fan Cost Index is $100 more than the next closest team (Bears). Now I know what Bill Simmons was talking about.
Rank NFL Team Average Ticket Price Fan Cost Index
1 New England Patriots $ 117.84 $ 596.25
2 Tamba Bay Buccaneers $ 90.13 $ 483.02
3 Chicago Bears $ 88.33 $ 484.31
4 New York Giants $ 88.06 $ 480.74
5 New York Jets $ 86.99 $ 476.26
6 Dallas Cowboys $ 84.12 $ 435.49
7 San Diego Chargers $ 81.39 $ 436.06
8 Indianapolis Colts $ 81.13 $ 435.52
9 Kansas City Chiefs $ 80.69 $ 422.72
10 Washington Redskins $ 79.13 $ 441.43
11 Baltimore Ravens $ 77.20 $ 425.81
12 Denver Broncos $ 76.75 $ 400.01
13 Minnesota Vikings $ 73.23 $ 386.92
14 San Francisco 49ers $ 70.55 $ 376.71
15 Cincinnati Bengals $ 69.85 $ 387.91
16 Philadelphia Eagles $ 69.00 $ 383.50
17 St. Louis Rams $ 68.28 $ 387.63
18 Pittsburgh Steelers $ 67.47 $ 384.38
19 Houston Texans $ 66.69 $ 376.75
20 Detroit Lions $ 66.39 $ 383.57
21 Miami Dolphins $ 66.11 $ 368.44
22 Arizona Cardinals $ 65.08 $ 356.31
23 Atlanta Falcons $ 63.95 $ 356.30
24 Green Bay Packers $ 63.39 $ 354.45
25 Carolina Panthers $ 63.32 $ 330.67
26 Oakland Raiders $ 62.23 $ 359.90
27 New Orleans Saints $ 62.22 $ 335.89
28 Seattle Seahawks $ 61.25 $ 364.49
29 Tennessee Titans $ 58.55 $ 347.19
30 Jacksonville Jaguars $ 55.30 $ 302.09
31 Cleveland Browns $ 54.41 $ 323.66
32 Buffalo Bills $ 51.24 $ 298.96

* Average Ticket Price – weighted average of season ticket prices, not including premium seating.
* Fan Cost Index – TMR’s trademarked stat. Price of 4 adults to attend that includes 4 tickets, 2 beers, 4 soft drinks, 4 hot dogs, 2 baseball caps, 2 programs and parking.
* The data is from Team Marketing Report.

Posted in NFL, Sports Marketing, Tickets, Venue Information | 2 Comments »

Pay $104 to sit behind a pole at an NFL game?

Posted by ZA on July 17, 2008

Lucas Oil Stadium view

These could be your seats at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The Indy Star ran an interesting piece on the limited view seats at Lucas Oil Stadium, the new home for the Indianapolis Colts.  The article states that there will be less than 200 limited view or disabled view seats sold for each Colts game, and all will be clearly marked on the tickets.  It says the seats might someday be removed to add more luxury suites.  Let’s hope that’s true, because from the photo it looks like those seats are going to be some real stinkers.

The limited view seats are located in sections which the Colts website says will sell for $104.00 per ticket for individual games.  Although I imagine the Colts ticket office plans to severely discount these limited view seats…at least, I hope they do.

I wonder who made the design decision to put those columns where they were going to obstruct seats?  It had to be the Colts decision to do that, with the idea they would maximum revenue selling those seats as limited view until they replaced them with luxury suites.  I cannot imagine an established design firm like HKS, Inc, who is the architect on the Lucas Oil Stadium project, would design it in such a way that fans would be sitting behind columns.  Regardless there is going to be some fans who show up to a Colts game next season who are shocked at their view (or lack thereof).

Image courtesy of the Indy Star.

Posted in New Venues, NFL, Stadium Construction, Tickets, Venue Information | Leave a Comment »

2008 NBA Finals will be richest series in history

Posted by ZA on May 31, 2008

The executives at ABC Sports are going to sleep well this weekend knowing that when they get into the office on Monday they’re going to book more ad revenue than the NBA Finals has in over a decade.  This is the most highly anticipated NBA Finals since Michael Jordan hung up his Bulls jersey, and the TV ratings and ad dollars generated will reflect that.

This is the 11th time the Celtics and Lakers have played each other in the NBA Finals.  Their match ups during the 1980’s when Larry Bird and Magic Johnson played were the “heyday” for the NBA.  Bird, Magic and Jordan were ambassadors for the NBA; so those 80’s series between Celts and Lakers were the foundation of the success the league has experienced since then.

So who are the big winners from this Celtics/Lakers match up?  Who benefits the most aside from the teams themselves?

* ABC Sports– Executives at ABC Sports have been playing Russian Roulette in their offices for the past 10 days.  The bullet they dodged was a San Antonio Spurs vs Detroit Pistons championship match up, which would have been more of a “clunker” than when they played that same series a few years ago (shivers down the spin of ABC execs everywhere).  They would have had to pump Prozac into the coffee in their cafeteria if the Spurs and Pistons had won.  Instead ABC is about to have the highest rated NBA Finals in over a decade (maybe ever) and should set a record for the ad revenue sold on this NBA Finals.

* The NBA & Commissioner David Stern– Stern has been doing nothing but stepping on landmines lately (Sonics relocating, players running afoul with the law) and has had to preside over some dark days for the NBA in recent years (Referee scandal, Pistons/Pacers brawl, etc), but this NBA Finals will shine a lot of positive light on the league and Stern.  This match up is a throwback to the glory days of the NBA when gas was under $1.00 per gallon and Larry Bird was knocking down jump shots.  Expect to see the Commissioner on TV smiling a lot, he’s going to be thinking about a renaissance for high league that starts with this Finals.

* The Fans– East Coast vs West Coast.  California vs New England.  Two franchises that have participated in a combined 49 NBA Finals.  NBA superstars Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett.  Loads of Hollywood celebrities sitting courtside at the Staples Center while Marky Mark and Beantown’s finest show up in Boston.  This series has appeal that will draw in fans from all across the country (world).  I’m only a casual NBA fan, but I know that I’ll watch every game in this series.  The interest in this series from fans will be huge, and the hype in the media will even go beyond that.

* The Media– There is nothing worse for the sports media than trying to “prop up” a lame Championship series, watching them trying to hype Astros vs White Sox World Series a couple of years ago was like watching George Foreman trying to pimp his mini grills (just not appealing).  But a Lakers versus Celtics series stands on its on merits, there won’t need to be any pimping by the media to get fans interested.  Instead ESPN can go into full hype mode with hourly reports from Boston and Los Angeles, and every single possible angle covered.  I full expect Skip Bayless’ head will explode during the next two weeks.

* Ticket Brokers– Yes, I know a little something about this topic.  That cash register sound you hear is the sound coming from ticket brokers in Boston and Los Angeles where ticket prices are going to be sky high.  You want to sit courtside, next to Justin Timberlake, for Game 5 of the series?  You’ll need to own an Amex black card.

* Nike – Never hurts to have one of your marquee endorsers as the key star in the series, expect to see a lot of Kobe Bryant’s “mamba” shoes during the series.  I even expect to see a resurgence of the video of Kobe jumping over the car.

* Adidas – Ironic that the two shoe titans will once again clash with Adidas support Celtics KG and Nike putting their money behind Kobe.  KG has a lifetime endorsement contract with Adidas that he signed back in 2003.

When the smoke clears I expect the revenue generated by this series will easily be the most in the history of the NBA Finals.  Merchandise sales, ticket sales, tv ad revenue, etc. will all be at record levels.  So sit back and enjoy the show because the hype is already started and Game 1 is Thursday.

Magic vs Bird
Will they make a replica of this famous photo for the 2008 Finals with Kobe & KG?
(Photo courtesy: NBA.com)

Posted in Money, NBA, Sports Marketing, Sports Television, Tickets | Leave a Comment »

New Twins ballpark will be cash cow for team

Posted by ZA on April 29, 2008

The Minnesota Twins are about to get a lot richer.  That’s because it is estimated that the Twins new ballpark will help the club generate more than $1 billion dollars in additional revenue.  The yet to be named new ballpark being built in Minneapolis, Minnesota is expected to be completed for the 2010 baseball season.

The reason for the cash windfall is the Twins will own all of the revenue from the new park, while they currently get very little from their lease at the HHH Metrodome.  At the new park the Twins will have revenue from naming rights, concessions, in-stadium signage, suites and the 40K seats in the ballpark.  The suites alone are estimated to generate $8 million per year.

The new Twins ballparkis being built by HOK Sport.  The capacity is expected to be around 42,000.  The new ballpark will be 4000 seats smaller than their current home in the Metrodome.  It will also be a natural grass surface, the Metrodome has an artificial playing surface.  And the new Twins home will not have a roof like the Metrodome, so the Twins will have to get used to playing outside in the elements.  Brrr…I don’t want to be a fan a Twins fan sitting in the stands the next time they play a November World Series game.

The average ticket price in the new stadium is expected to be around $17.00, which is the most affordable average ticket price among recently built stadiums in the 4 major U.S. sports leagues.  Now that’s a great way to make sure you keep fans filling up the stands…give them prices they can afford.

New Minnesota Twins ballpark
Drawing of new Twins ballpark (image courtesy of MLB.com)

Posted in Improve Attendance, MLB, New Venues, Stadium Construction, Tickets, Venue Information, Venue Naming Rights | 2 Comments »