Modest Proposals For Attracting Fans and Boosting Revenue

So this might happen: a $1.5 million cut to the athletics program budget. EVERYBODY PANIC. But afterwards–once we’re all done foaming at the mouth and trying to figure out how many ski teams $1.5 million is worth–after all that lets just sit down and try to think about some common sense proposals that would absolutely preclude making a martyr out of the program that might, maybe, potentially get cut.

Instead of prematurely eulogizing one team or another (whichever team it might be), lets just sit back and do what Juan has already done, except in a less funny way. And with more economists.

As others have pointed out, the Pack may have “an attendance problem”. I’ll get to whether or not that’s actually the case one day, but for now, lets observe the fact that ticket sales are every athletic departments bread and butter, and that ours could be better. So how do we make them better? How do we fill more stadiums?

Even more importantly, how do we attract fans, boost revenue, and quickly make-up the $1.5 million the state wants to take from us? Here’s how others have done it, and these are just the schemes that I’m aware of, completely off the top…

–First and most obviously: shrink the size of the stadium! Charge exorbitant prices for “standing-room only” seats! Only half-joking about that one.

–Second and perhaps slightly less obvious: Give tickets away for FRE…oh yeah.

–Giving tickets away for free doesn’t work? Then pay people to go.

–Have a garage sale. Have a bake sale. Have a car wash. I wish I were kidding.

–MEDIA RIGHTS: Leverage our recent success/impending move to a bigger conference toward the negotiation of a better multimedia deal. We’re currently, as near as I can tell, earning barely more than $1 million ($320,000 in media rights; $906,915–in royalties, licensing, ads and sponsoring) with a company called Learfield. It’s a long shot, but if UNR were to beg and plead, IMG might just take them on board. IMG is to university athletics department’s what Jerry McGuire is to the Cuba Gooding Jr. character (whatever his name is) in ‘Jerry McGuire’; which is to say that the Pack would be wearing a lot of Under Armour for the foreseeable future, and that’s a good thing.

–NAMING RIGHTS: Look I like Mackay Stadium too, and normally I would not be in favor of such shameless commercialism, but if we can all happily attend something called the ‘Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl’ than I suspect we could warm up to the notion of the MOEN Toilet Bowl. Or the Panda Express Panda Bowl, or whatever.

–SEATING: Apply the two-part tariff system already in place at Lawlor for seating at basketball games (and in ticket pricing for students at basketball tournaments) to everything. In other words, sell us and everyone else the right to have access to the product (the reserved seat), then sell us the product (the season ticket accompanying that seat). Call it a “Xtreme Pack Pass” or some other hokey thing and sell it to us for $300 and let us get in to every sport, all the time, tournament or not. Continue selling everyone else “seating licenses”, or make it all less explicit by soliciting the infamous “processing fee.”

Whatever you do, do it quickly. First prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is the (softball, baseball, ?) team gets fired.

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