Monday, February 19, 2007

Empty Boxes

There are stories that the famous diamond producer De Beers works (via cooperatioon and bullying) to keep the supply of their favorite gems short in order to keep prices up. They know that a luxury good is all about perception and if you can not get a diamond too easily then the consumer wants it all the more with the bonus of being willing to pay a premium. BMW did the same thing by limiting the number of Minis. You will be willing to pay more because they are rarer than a Honda Civic.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that some sports teams are eliminating luxury boxes as the units are going unsold. The article focuses on baseball teams that are have problems filling selling the boxes for the season as companies are cutting back on expenses. This is not a Chicken Little message for college football as the markets are different in many key ways but it does point to old economic adage about the trees not growing to the sky. Baseball was among the first to enter this market and college football programs may find themselves with the same issues in the future.

The baseball season is 81 games and a late August game of two teams out of contention is rarely a hot ticket. Baseball was in the market early before there were other options for those sports dollars. There is something to be said for the laid back nature of America pastime for allowing the conversation to drift into business issues. In college football you have just 5 to 8 games and the end of the season often has the rivalry game that is a hot ticket regardless of the teams records. The market for the college fan in general and the luxury box fan in particularis more tied to the institution with pure passion that MLB lacks.

That said college football needs to avoid the hubris and arrogance of the pros. Easy to say but difficult to do the best strategy would be to have just a couple of people on the waiting list for that box. Not a long line where fans give up but just long enough that they pounce on an opening. So next time your team wants to add seats or luxury boxes to the stadium take a look at Rice University with a bigger stadium that is only 21% full.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What is normal in Norman? or OU are OK

How many hours should a college student work? Zero is a bad answer! Those kids have too much time on their hands and should either be doing volunteer work or scoring some poacket change. Big Red Sports/Imports that employed Rhett Bomar would be my choice as they are very generous to college students and you do not need to be the star a walk on, like Jermaine Hardisoncan, earn himself about $459 a week for 12 weeks during the spring a early summerof 2006(eqauls $23898/year) for working 43 hours per week. Jermaine must have been a very busy young man with classes, work, and football. Unfortunately he did not return to University of Oklahoma for the fall semester. Maybe he was just too worn out.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

All Those Great Expectations

Pictured here is Tara a dog adopted from the local animal shelter by people that had never owned a dog before and knew next to nothing about caring for one. She's a mutt and as Private Winger teaches us in Stripes, "There's nothing more loyal than a mutt" She is well behaved and loving dog with two major faults 1) she sheds well beyond what would be expected from a 20 pound dog and 2) an intruder would be welcomed as a friend. The adoption was a crapshoot but it turned out well.

Bob Smizik of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a similar message in a recent article about the much hyped college football signing day. We have all had the reverse of the above story where the new employee that looks great on paper and is impressive in the interview turns into a mistake you wished would go away or just does not live up to expectations.

Now when entering the world of college recruiting remember that you are looking at the the 17 year old male a being with the capacity for greatness plague with the problem of sometimes acting in totally irrational ways. All that have completed the trial that is human adolescence needs remember the stupid things you did or thought during this period of your life. We also need to consider the impact that the attention given these players can have on their attitude where they start to think they really are that important.

The fault however is not with these young men they are pawns in the big picture. As Mr. Smizik points out it is difficult to fairly and accurately evaluate high school talent and those that consume (read as: pay for) need to review the product they are buying because its demonstrated poor performance and the unintended consequences on the players. Saying that is like piddling in the oceans and will not change the primal desire to be able to claim a rankings in the cold of February.

Life is just a game of chance
I think somebody said so
Sometimes you get a hula hoop
Sometimes you get an Edsel

Sometime you get a really great dog or even a great football player

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Beast or Least

Is the Big East the plucky maple tree of It Grew Back or just a dandelion that has dodged the Round-Up for the last time? The 2007 season will write an important chapter in that story and go along way towards determining the financial strength of the conference. Surprisingly the road to monetary redemption runs through Piscataway as the television ratings that the New York City metro area can deliver is of monstrous proportions (18 million plus pairs of eyes). The 2006 Texas Bowl had a respectable 1.4 despite being on the NFL Channel but the 2005 Insight Bowl pulled in a very nice 3.3. West Virginia and Louisville may be the heroes on the field but the dollars will come because of Rutgers. That said this also means that the puniest BCS conference lacks the berth that may be needed to face the future

As with the ACC schedule the boys from the Magic Kingdom have their finger prints all over this schedule.

Friday, August 31 Washington at Syracuse--(8:00 p.m., ESPN): As said here before the world of college football gives style points for reputation built up over the years and Syracuse has that capital to spend while it attempts to rebuild. The Orange have three OOC games against BCS teams partly because regardless of there win-loss record Syracuse looks good on the schedule.

Thursday, September 6--Oregon State at Cincinnati (7:30 p.m., ESPN) and Friday, September 7--Navy at Rutgers (7:00 p.m., ESPN): The Disney folks have been working overtime to present some interesting match-ups and while these are fair from marquee games that you’ll tell your grandchildren about these game have a certain mystery to them. Cincy lost there coach to Michigan State and still managed to win their bowl game. The Bearscats had difficult road games last season against Ohio State and Virginia Tech managing to keep both games closer than expected. Rutgers and Navy will be fun to do the over/under on the number of passes thrown.

Saturday, September 8--USF at Auburn (TBD, ESPN/ESPN2): The chance to prove your mettle on the field is one of the charms of college football. Are the Bulls ready for the next step? Syracuse at Iowa might be good to Tivo for any goal line stances

Saturday, September 15--Louisville at Kentucky: This is one of those must see early season OOC games to see just how good UK has become and as a yardstick for how the Cards will fare 2007 campaign.
Saturday, September 22--Connecticut at Pittsburgh: Save your time and space on the Tivo but you might want to look over the box score on Sunday just to see how these two compare.

Saturday, September 29--West Virginia at USF: Just how good have the Bulls become? They have played the part of giant killers with wins over WVU and Louisville over the past two seasons but can they play at the top.
Saturday, October 6—Of the four conference games none are noteworthy (at this point in time).

Saturday, October 13 --Connecticut at Virginia: Lower tier of the BE v. lower tier ACC! This game requires that you drink Keystone Light and eat store brand chip.

Saturday, October 20--Mississippi State at West Virginia: In this game the win by West Virginia will is not as important as the final score.

Saturday, October 27--WEST VIRGINIA at RUTGERS: This would make a great Saturday Night game that is if the stars have aligned properly.

Saturday, November 3 --Rutgers at Connecticut Not a highly anticipated game but a match up that needs to become a rivalry of some note and capture the attention of the populace that live between these two schools.

Thursday, November 8--Louisville at West Virginia (7:30 p.m., ESPN) The November Thursday night game is where the Big East shown brightest in 2006. Will that be repeated in 2007?

Saturday, November 17--Pittsburgh at Rutgers: Is Pitt back or will this be another wait ‘til next year season?

Saturday, November 24—Recover from Thanksgiving dinner and get a jump on the Christmas shopping.

Thursday, November 29--Rutgers at Louisville (7:30 p.m., ESPN): Can this game live up to last years contest?

Saturday, December 1 Pittsburgh at West Virginia (TBD, ESPN/ESPN2): Two words: Backyard Brawl

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