Rising Costs of Being A Fan

January17/ 2000

Q: What do UNC, NCSU, and Dixie State College in Utah have in common? 

A: Each school has gone to a “donation first” game ticket purchasing plan.  

It’s the current trend among Division 1-A institutions trying to offset the rising costs of maintaining a competitive sports program.  What does this mean for “Joe Fan” as opposed to “Mr. Fat Cat”. ….. Swagger expounds on the above PLUS some Olympics PLUS … Big SSays Announcement! – SHE’s BACK! 

   Should “Joe Fan” be able to purchase season tickets to see his favorite team … at a reasonable price?  What is reasonable?  BobLee believes “not necessarily”.  

   The benefits of being an “Internet Legend” are many; but abundant disposable income is not among those benefits.  There is a list of activities I might partake of if I was actually as “rich” as all us Republicans are reputed to be. That list is not as long as it might have been 10 years ago as I now find pleasure in life’s simpler pursuits.  For instance, I used to think a private mahogany locker at a high falutin’ country club was something I wanted … but the more time I spent at high falutin’ country clubs the less attractive I found them.  Scratch one off the list.

   I can envision a day when the price of a season ticket to Carolina Football games might overtake the value I place on that activity.  If someone else is willing to pay that price then more power to them.  Purchasing season tickets to Carter-Finley has already reached that level FOR ME.

   Today the “cost” of four “good” season tickets to NCSU Football is $215.00 for each set of tickets PLUS an annual donation of $1,750 to the Wolfpack Club for the “rights” to buy those tickets.

   My Charlotte pal, Duke Buck, has “pretty good” seats for Panther games. The face value of each ticket for each game is $80.  The “PSL” for each was $5,000.  Those “PSL” are a good value today … just 2 years ago they were not.

   NCSU is enjoying a major fan enthusiasm boost these days.  IHOP “wishes” their hotcakes sold like Wuff Football tickets … same at Clemson.  Eager fans are queuing up to buy the club level seats under construction as well as the “suites”.  Tying buying rights to ticket purchase is a hedge against a downturn in enthusiasm … ergo the current situation in Chapel Hill.

   Actually I think the sale of 30,000 season tickets by UNC for this season is pretty remarkable considering the looooong Saturdays in Kenan over the past two years.  It’s below recent seasons by 8-10% but the quality of play has dipped too.

   Every major college athletics program is going the route of requiring a booster club donation for the “right” to purchase the seats.  The degree to which that requirement works is market-driven by the perceived desirability of the product.

   The first local example of this concept was The Dean Dome.  Skippa’s Plan gave lifetime buying rights to prime seats in exchange for a construction donation PLUS an annual giving amount.  The notoriously lethargic “Fat Cats” who sit there (sit being the operative word!) go to their hip each year to maintain the right to sit there.

   If UNC or NCSU can sell out their stadiums at $80+/seat PLUS a $5,000 annual booster club contribution I say go for it.  I won’t “go for it” myself; but nor will I complain.  I am not required to buy a ticket nor are they required to offer me one at a price I consider commiserate with my interest in the product.

   It costs significant $$$ to run a competitive major college sports program.  Empty seats hurt and so do underpriced seats.  The race to have the most desirable product in your market is both a sprint and a marathon.  NCSU is upgrading the quality of their existing capacity and looking at longterm increase in capacity.  UNC must do the same but perceived product value is their prime issue in 2004.


   The Olympics are not so slowly dissolving into boorish issues of judging inconsistencies instead of athletic performance.  The Salt Lake figure skating debacle set us up for the current gymnastics brouhaha.  At least in the “Cold War” Olympic Era you knew going in that the cursed “East German judges” were crooked.  They didn’t cheat for under the table payment, but rather to avoid a reassignment to a gulag.  

   OK … we say our gymnast should keep his gold medal and “pooh” on the Korean who “shoulda won”.  Of course if the situation were reversed John Kerry would be (1) claiming he was once a world class gymnast and (2) blaming George Bush for it all and recommending that the UN get involved.  

   Am I the only one who wants to see Misty May with her hair down, some makeup, 4” heels and a black cocktail dress?


   A Wild Day W/ The Wolfpacker … The Wolfpacker fan publication hires a UNCer as editor after most of the editorial staff quit in disagreement with the publisher.  Sharp-eyed Wuffies do a little research and find that the young man had authored a series of Chuck Amato hatchet jobs on a Carolina website over the past several years.  But that’s not the “hoot” to it all.

   The aspiring pundit claimed his roommate used his website account and actually wrote the rants calling Amato a “cheat” etc.  This ranks right behind “the dog ate my homework” and “I spent Christmas in Cambodia” … the outed Amato-hater was terminated Wednesday morning.



SHE’s BACK !!!

   Lovely Lydia The Bayou Bengal Beauty is returning to SwaggerSays as our official Football Pick’em Expert starting next Thursday.  Lyd finally came down off of Cloud Nine from her LSU Tigers taking the BCS title.

   She has spent the summer holded up at her Mom’s rattlesnake ranch on the outskirts of Slidell reading all the pre-season publications.  Reports that she has amassed a sizable scrapbook of Matt Lienhart pics have not been confirmed.

   For newcomers to SSays since last Fall … Lydia provides a provocative and downright quirky perspective on each week’s big games in the ACC, SEC, and across the nation.


Swagger’s Stumper

“Lisa Douglas” reluctantly moved with her husband “Oliver”, 

despite her allergy to “what”?


   The Pequod’s first mate was STARBUCK … yep, the namesake for you-know-what.  A witty BobLee Buddy suggested he was not the first-mate but rather the “coffee-mate”.

   That last column about junior loonies has been recognized by Google as the first article ever written on the Internet that included references to Jonathan Swift, Nostradamus, The Statler Brothers, and LaGrange.

   BobLee speaks to The Crabtree Rotary Club at noon on Thursday at Raleigh’s Casa Carbone on Glenwood.

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