Game atendance and future path of the program

There was a topic over on Utezone that expanded into some areas that have been discussed here, so I though I’d bring it over here to see how the members of this site felt.

Someone lamented the fact that certain sections of the stadium were not full for Saturday’s games, or even the game before that with ASU and WSU. While some of the lack of attendance was in the student section, al lot of it was in the higher priced ticket areas. Obviously these seats are paid for, but the owners chose not to attend. This impacts the overall ambiance of the stadium, so was it caused by weather, game time or something else.

In that discussion, the ticket cost was brought up. We’ve seen the letter on shifting the priority in the stadium to higher donor levels over grandfathered customers. One poster made an interesting comment, that most of those making large donations have expressed concern that other areas in the stadium were not paying enough in donations in essence getting cheaper tickets than the market would bear.

So the question is what is the correct course for the University, maximize revenue for the product or strive for a better fan experience. There is, of course the secondary issue of driving a wedge between the loyal fans and the program. Additionally, a lot of those fans that can afford to pay more for tickets are less active participants in the game than the younger, more energetic fans.

Add to the problem is the shifting demographics in the younger age brackets toward other areas of interest, which in part explains lack of attendance in the student section. Another issue is the more rigid adherence to the MUSS ticket policy. (I remember when I was a student we were required to pay a fee with registration toward “activities”, but we were given passes to the student section of games. I think that has changed).

A few years ago I felt society was trending toward a paradigm where most people would watch the game from other venues and that in stadium crowds would thin lowering ticket prices. This appears not to be the case, we are actually headed in the other direction, where only the elite will be able to afford to attend games in person. Is this a good thing?

I’m interested in the perspective of this board on the subject of ticket prices and attendance.

There were 3 readily apparent impacts on this past weekend’s game: Weather, Start time, and opponent. Weather and start time have affected the last couple of games.

The MUSS gets free tickets with student ID. Students can also sign up for MUSS Premium which gives them tickets lower down, a t-shirt, lanyard, and pregame tailgate over by the tennis center.

Regarding the letter which was sent out to all season ticket holders many have made the assumption that the procedure outlined for getting seats in the new expanded SEZ will apply to the entire stadium going forward. While the one sentence near the end of the letter was poorly worded it was clear from the entire letter that the procedure only applies to the SEZ. As per usual there will be a number of folks on UFN who will light their hair on fire about some imagined ill intent.

It is clear from a long time sustained 98% renewal rate for season tickets that there is a continued demand for tickets. I have also spoken to reps from some of our software & other vendors at work that they have wanted to get suites or boxes of some type for Utah Football for a long time but there hasn’t been anything available. They are looking forward to the chance to finally get a box or suite in the new SEZ.

Just my $.02

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For me, it all boils down to pricing transparency.

When the price on the face of the ticket is no longer the real price of the ticket, I have a problem with that. Seat license fees, stadium fees, processing fees, are all just ways to hide increases to season ticket holders without actually showing an increase in the costs of the ticket. If it costs $60-80 per ticket to sit in the NEZ for a game, price it into the stub. Now adding a potential “donation requirement” is just another hidden fee…and good luck deducting that “donation.”

Getting cute with financial stuff will get them in trouble with the fans fast…says the guy who got rolled off Tailgate Island so Tailgate Boyz could corporatize it. Oh, and our old spot has sat empty all season long.

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I am one of those who advocate for - at least some - sliding scale ticket prices so that even underserved folks would be able to attend
That can all be based on business models that account for overall revenue goals
if we’reactually “sold out” with high price tickets but (theoretically) only 1/3 of the stadium were to actually be there, I don’t see how that benefits the spirit of college sports.

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I’ll admit it, it is getting to be a hard sell to go to the stadium and sit in the cold until midnight versus watching on my TV and being in my jammies at 11:15. I know I’m old.

I get the TV demands on things and how that dictates our schedule, but for this season our home schedule is not that great and every game so far this year has been either blasted hot in the middle of the day early season, pouring rain or out in the cold late at night. The guys in the high donor sections will keep buying their tickets and they’ll show up next year for a more favorable schedule and hopefully better playing times - but this year is a magic mix of all of those issues.

For the record, I think most people are reading that letter wrong - its poorly worded but I think it only applies to those who want to buy in the new SEZ. There will be a riot if they try to start moving people around throughout the entire stadium.

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Yea, but they can hasten your choice to move by increasing the donation requirements for your area. In my case they’ve already divided the section into two price zones (with mine being the higher, of course). I could see them doubling the required charitable donation if they percieve demand in that section.

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It will eventually come, the pricing out of the average fan.

Look at the prime and relatively prime seats at Vivint and places like Yankee Stadium with the empty deluxe padded seats with food service behind home plate for 90% of the games. Corporations will buy the seats for clients. I just wonder if there are enough deep wallet guys to have great Jazz tickets and great Ute tickets? The SEZ seats are going to be pricey.

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" I just wonder if there are enough deep wallet guys to have great Jazz tickets and great Ute tickets?"
The short answer based on my anecdotal conversations is yes. There are plenty of local tech companies who seem to want to get Utah Football suite/loge/box seats. I expect they will sell out quickly.

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ive reread the letter a couple of times and I think t is going to be for the whole stadium.

My concern is that they will prove long time loyal diehard fans out of the stadium while chasing he corporate dollar

My buddy that I know split my seats with discussed it the other day. We’ve determined that if the crimson club donation goes above a certain level that we are done as season ticket holders. We’d rather watch from home then have to move seats

There are a plethora of reasonably priced seats on ksl and stub hub if we really want to get to a game in person.

I’d thought I’d miss basketball when I gave up my season ticket two or three seasons ago. I haven’t. It’s easier to watch at home

I think a large portion of the fan base is loyal to KW. It will be interesting to see what happens when he retires.

Parenthetically they tried similar shenanigans with the basketball ticket pricing. Now they are having to do mini deals and all sort of stuff to get people in the building.

My ticket rep emailed me a few weeks ago thinking they’d solve my ticket issue. I responded, thanked them for their effort told them far too little and far too late

I don’t have to be a season ticket holder, I choose to be. They jack it up to a certain point and I suspect people will spend their time and money elsewhere.

I know a pharmacist that gave up his tickets this year, one of my colleagues gave theirs up last year and I’ve had a couple of friends give theirs up this year

No idea why they seem to go out of their way to make it hard to be a fan and alienate people. On the plus side what I spend on season tickets will go towards a second nice vacation somewhere

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It almost mirrors society, particularly home ownership. Assuming the inevitable increase of one kind or another after this year, I will likely not renew at least some of my tickets.

I wonder if the conversations in meeting rooms and on conference calls ever touch on the subject of recruiting impact when seats are empty. Sure, they may be paid for, but will quality athletes be less likely to sign if the crowd is ho-hum on their visit weekend?

Losing seasons will not sell tickets, especially expensive ones, and a hit to recruiting is a great way towards losing seasons.

I doubt that ever comes up though.

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I doubt that the program will miss a few disgruntled fans who give up their tickets at a time when renewal rates continue to be 90% every year and there is a significant chunk of cash to lay down to get new season tickets these days. And while there has been some small attendance impacts from the combination of weather and late starts these past few games I don’t see any waning of enthusiasm for the program or the games. In fact going forward with some bigger name programs like Florida, Arkansas, & Baylor the interest seems to be ticking up. I expect the atmosphere in the newly expanded stadium to add to the enthusiasm.

Eventually I will likely be priced out of the stadium as well but I know that there are others who have the cash to take my place and the program won’t miss me. Coach Whittingham has built a very strong program and I don’t see it faltering anytime soon, nor do I see any hit to recruiting coming that might damage the program either.

The program may be selling out to the corp sector but that is an area that hasn’t had as many options available until this new SEZ expansion came about. Quite frankly they have to target corps because selling $30 tickets to Joe six-pack isn’t enough to pay for expansion. College and professional sports programs are moving towards enhanced and premium experiences and services precisely because that is an area of high unmet demand.

I think there are some very exciting days ahead for the Utah Football program and the new SEZ. I hope I can still be part of it all for as long as I can.

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Brilliant post. You have the right attitude for a Utah fan who wants to see the program grow and succeed.

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