Sunday, December 21, 2008

Canary In the Mine

Is there such phenomenon as fan fatigue? Anyone who has taken an economics class is familiar with the concept of the law of diminishing return. At a certain point additional input will not result in additional output. A simple why to look at the issue is that you could put five grains of wheat in a pot and get five nice plants but would have little success if you put 500 or 5,000 grains in that limited space.

Much has been made this week of the prices that Orange Bowl tickets are selling for and more specifically the weak demand on the part of Virginia Tech fans. Usually VT fans are among the most loyal. Loyal in this case comes with the expectation that they will open their wallets and buy. Unfortunately fans cannot afford the show their passion with dollars becoming increasing limited. Looking at the rear view mirror, the ACC Championship Game and the lack of attendance may have been the canary in the mine telling us that all is not right in the land of college football. Further that the Orange Bowl may be a preview of a new reality where the ability of fans to fund ever more expensive programs.

There will be those that will look recession proof as the growing continue be it a greatly reduced pace. But give the grimness of the current economic landscape we could see first a reduction in the “ESPN-make a Bowl” games followed by programs having to do more with less and even some schools dropping out of the FBS group.

Link to video

Perhaps on the part of VT fans their may be some fatigue of making the trip to Miami for a second straight year coupled with the knowledge that they may not be the best team in the ACC (Georgia Tech is ranked much higher) and the they are played the very unsexy University of Cincinnati Beatcats. Bearcats fans are at least excited by the novelty of attending a BCS game but are still considered by footballs old money are unworthy of a serious bowl game.

Yes, Ohio, it’s not just the school in Columbus that can play its way into the Bowl Championship Series – and the Bearcats can’t wait to begin using that as a selling point to recruits. So sometime Friday, a box of Orange Bowl knickknacks will arrive in Cincinnati, visual evidence of the Bearcats’ breakout season that landed them in a BCS game for the first time.

For more information about bowl ticket prices check out the CNBC coverage.

People the current economic environment is uglier than anything since the 1970's (and into the early 80's), the readjustment in the larger economy will trickle down to college football. Where will your team be when the dust clears?

12/22--Addendum: as Scott Armstrong points out the ticket is the cheap part of the bowl experience.

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Anonymous Scott Armstrong said...

VT fan checking in here. There are amazing deals for Orange Bowl tickets on the secondary market. However, it's still extremely pricy to buy airline tickets to Miami. The airlines seem to be charging "pre-economic crash" prices for their tickets.

10:01 PM  

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