Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ticket Roulette Week Final

Army/Navy Game Football Tickets 12/1
M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, MD $130
At the top for a reason.

ACC Football Championship Tickets (Boston College vs Virginia Tech) at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in Jacksonville, FL
Middle Level Sideline 231 P 2 $55.00 each
Good seats at a low price! When will the ACC sell tickets to this game? Look for the hidden BC fans ala" Where's Waldo".(Has to be better than last year)
Update: "Catlett, whose organization operates the ACC game, said a bit less than 20,000 tickets remain for public sale."

Big 12 Football Championship Tickets (Oklahoma vs Missouri) at Alamodome in San Antonio, TX
Upper Level End Zone 324 26 Up to 14 $56.00 each
Lower than expected.

SEC Football Championship Tickets (Tennessee vs LSU) Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA
Upper Corner 340 19 Up to 4 $141.00 each
LUXURY SUITE SIDELINE 1 $64,708.00 each
SEC fans travel and are willing to pay.

Pittsburgh at West Virginia at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, WV
Lower Level Visitor End Zone 98 18 2 $125.00 each
Not good seats and to sit in the cold.

MAC Championship Tickets (Miami vs Central Michigan) at Ford Field in Detroit, MI
Lower Level Sideline 103 3 Up to 8 $12.00 each
Bargain of the week.

No prices given.
Washington at Hawaii Football Tickets
Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 6:30 PM at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, HI

Conference USA Football Championship Tickets: Tulsa at Central Florida
Saturday, December 1, 2007 at 12:00 PM at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando, FL

GMAC Bowl Tickets Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 7:00 PM at Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile, AL $109
On the 50 row 5. What a deal

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Makes the Network Yes Man Look Good

The football has an odd shape and this shape adds significantly to the strange bounces it can take. A squib kick bouncing down the field can be a terrifying experience for the return team trying to calculate their reaction to the next bounce. But there is some far more fearful of that kick...namely the TV executive and the college football pundit.

The motivation of the TV program manager is purely profit. While having a cold, cold heart, there motivation is pure(ly) profit. The bottom line is money driven by rating with no feelings about the teams on the feild. While Fox has the worse reputation in seeking new lows in programming (Temptation Island), the others network are no different in the hope that they can get high ratings in the key demographic groups.

The pundit on the other hand is pure ego. No other motivation explains the recent column by Mike Freeman. Mr. Freeman dismisses the idea of a Missouri and West Virginia MNC game as the Hick v. Hee-Haws worrying that the nation will not care about a game that does not feature an established name team. How dare Missouri which was barely on the radar screen in August crash the hallowed turf of the Super Dome on January 7th.

Is it that Mr. Freeman had mentally scripted the season in his head and the is not the outcome in his fantasy? We have all done this in our own lives. The evening is all planned out and when something unexpected enters the equation we throw the adult equvilant of a temper tantrum. The reason for our behavior is simple, ego we knew best and the problem must be someone else.

Returning to the unexpected bouncing of the ball. Unfortunately, the random occurance with more of an impact on the game than the odd shape pigskin and the real reason for Mr. Freeman pout may be in the injury of key players.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Not Perfect

In the original Miracle on 34th Street Kris Kringle befriends a young man named George that works at Macy's. The store psychologist ,Mr. Sawyer, takes an interest in the young man and plays Dr. Freud telling Alfred that his desire to play Santa to the neighborhood kids was because he was trying to make up for something had done wrong earlier in his life. George explains this to Mr. Kringle over lunch adding that the never knew he had these problems until Mr. Sawyer told him.

Michael Lewis recent wrote an Op-Ed for the New York times where he sees the warts of college football and recommends a combination of open heart surgery with a double amputation. Being as polite as possible on this next statement, "Mr. Lewis with all due respect for your opinion the idea of paying college football players is at best ill-considered and when looked at with some knowledge of the subject is silly." Michael Lewis's reputation is formidable and it is difficult to imagine that he did not fully question his idea before putting it to paper.

But let’s keep it conservative. In 2005, the 121 Division 1-A football teams generated $1.8 billion for their colleges. If the colleges paid out 65 percent of their revenues to the players, the annual college football payroll would come to $1.17 billion. A college football team has 85 scholarship players while an N.F.L. roster has only 53, and so the money might be distributed a bit differently.

Let's do the math, 121 * 85 * 2 (Title IX require a female scholarship for each male) is about 20,000 (rounded down) and dividing the $1.17 billion gives each $58,500 which is paid by the free tuition ($20,000 per year) they are given with the balance coming in the form of extra future income over someone without a college degree. Add to this that the schools must maintain separate facilities ranging from Michigan's "Big House" to Idaho State's Holt Area and then there are the other expenses ranging from the soccer field to coaching staff that each of these school carries.

At this point the comparison with the NFL is beginning to look remote at best. Looking further into the money side of the issue, the NFL shares television money more or less equally while the TV revenue in college football goes from millions down to couple hundered thousands. Not looking at the numbers (but feeling completely safe in asserting), the total TV money for the Sun Belt is less than the slice of the pie for the least of the SEC schools making the payment of players theoretically possible at Mississippi State but out of the question at Troy State.

There are players that walk on to the team looking for nothing more than living the dream and others that have opted to play football rather than taking a shot in baseball (with a signing bonus). Not all of life's decisions are purely economic, dollars and cents, profit and loss. The vast majority of college players are at the end of their playing football careers. These serf's are looking for the chance to compete playing the game they love and hopefully getting the reward of not only that chance but an education as well.

The serf was tied to the land without the freedom will to choose their future. The average college football player is exercising his free will and mostly for better chooses their path. Returning to the Miracle On 34th Street analogy, Michael Lewis, while college football is by no means prefect there is not the problem here that you perceive. Not to worry BCF doesn’t have a cane.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Give them a reason to buy

Rarely can you find a position enjoyed by the likes of Under Armour or Apple (iPod) where people see value in your product well beyond the actual value. Under Armour (UA) has a shirt made in China using the same material that anyone else can use and sell it for a premium price. Just guessing here but the shirt costs about $1 to produce and ship to the retailer were UA sells is the retailer for $15 for a $30 retail. Nice business if you can get away with it. Apple is reportedly making $18 per month on iPhone user because they have the "IT" factor that allows them to demand a premium margin.

Both found willing partners to help them in promoting and profiting themselves in the process. The average sporting goods retail welcomes the addition of a line that promises both wide margins and fast turns. AT&T was looking for a way to increase the utilization of their network and drive down the average cost with the added benefit of driving huge awareness of their other products with little or no additional costs.

So, what does this have to do with college football? Both of these show smarts businesses working with the distribution channel to deliver their product with value (real or perceived) to the consumer. In Note to N.F.L.: High Prices Cut Demand Joe Nocera discusses the struggles that the NFL has had with its cable channel and not cashing in the way they had expected. The NFL Network and Big Ten Network overestimated the value of their brand and failed to realize that they had to work with the channel members to reach the consumer. Proctor & Gamble while it has tremendous brands like Tide or Bounty cannot go into Wal Mart and dictate the terms for the delivery of a new product.

There's an old story of a salesman sitting in front of a grocery chains buyer and insisting that his new item carry a particular retail price. The buyer grabs a pen, searches the fact sheet for the delivered unit price and crosses out the number writing in a figure rough half of that given. The proposal is then flung back at the bewildered salesman with the buyer saying assertively, "Here's your new selling price."

"Uh,...No!", the salesman responses with indignation.

Gruffly the buyer snorts, "You don't tell me and I won't tell you what to charge."

The lesson of the story is that you cannot dectate terms to other parties that you deal with without expecting some push back. Both the Big Ten and NFL clearly overvalued the product they are offering banking on the tremendous power that their respective brands have. This strength made them both blind to the weakness of the product (lack of quality content) being offered and resulting lack of value that could justify a premium price. Further, they did not consider the cable operators in the process by adding value for them.

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