Monday, February 18, 2008

Choice By Default

The Problem--Thin Crowd
The Solution--Comb It Over

Donald Trump was forced by his creditors to sign over partial ownership in one of his Atlantic City casinos because his was behind on the repayment of the debt owed on the property. The Comb over King came on television and announced the transaction as a great triumph. Many of us would have been humbled by the failure of our enterprise to meet the financial obligations that we had planned on but in the world of spin failing is really winning. John Swofford, ACC commissioner may need to spin the future of the less than successful league championship game. In reaction to recently announced scheduling conflict between a proposed USF v. Rutgers on December 4th and the ACC Championship game on December 6th, Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio is looking to make USF football a priority at Raymond James Stadium (behind the NFL).

The ACC is contracted to play in Tampa in 2008 and 2009 with the game moving to Charlotte for 2010 and 2011. The lot for the ACC is either playing third fiddle at Raymond James Stadium or pull a Trump and claim victory when the game is moved to heart of ACC basketball country.

As for USF, using Raymond James Stadium is an excellent financial move as an on campus facility would run from $55 million at the low end like UCF ( video) or $288 million indoor Gopher palace. The other option of moving to Tropicana Field a baseball stadium with all the charm of a 1987 Toyota Camry and yes the turf looks just as bad in person as it does on television. If the Bulls can get more games with the energy of the 2007 game against WVU they can make quite a name for themselves in the Tampa By region.

A Gopher Money Hole?

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Change of Venue

In Irish Bowl entry in this blog there was an attempt to poke fun at Notre Dame's bowl game woe's by making up a story about the Golden Dormers starting there own bowl game in New York. They wanted to be sure to invite teams they could beat. Sounds silly but in a way the rumored series with UCONN to certain point fills the bill--games at pro stadiums, a team that the Irish expect to be able to beat, and the ability to generate dollars. The questions for the Huskies are: Will this game generate enough enthusiasm about your program to off set the loss of a home game and what is you slice of the pie?

While the on field product has been less than spectacular and the management of Crewcut Charlie is in doubt, Kevin White has leveraged the position of the historic program to maximize the value of the property. Mr. White, like Notre Dame or not, is pushing the right buttons to make (keep) his program a true national brand. Look at the schedule grid from Mike at adding these games with UCONN would fill the need to exposure in the New York/New England area and improving on the position left open by the apparent end of the series with Boston College. The pledge by Notre Dame to play three Big East schools in football each year--Pitt, Rutgers and now UCONN is looking like a shrewd move rather than as charity. (Note that Notre Dame will host South Florida in 2011 as part of a one and done.)

Notre Dame has a schedule over the next eight years that takes them to the East Coast: USC, Stanford, Washington, Arizona State, and BYU; Texas/Oklahoma: San Antonio (v. Baylor) Arlington (v. Washington State), and Oklahoma; Florida (Orlando in 2011 and 2014 v. TBD); the Northeast: Boston College. Navy, UCONN, and Rutgers; and the home turf of the Mid West: Michigan, Purdue, Pittsburgh, and Michigan State. The big holes are in SEC/ACC country (more than just Florida) but then how much headway are the Irish going to make in those markets.

Then we still have the UCONN issue which the fans are understandably upset about and while you can understand their anger these games have the potential to make the Huskies a regional powerhouse in the void that is college football in New England. The University of Connecticut football program has put all the correct pieces into place but they need games that squarely put them in the spotlight. A win against Notre Dame regardless of the venue can go along way toward establishing your college football reputation.

You too can have the above Lucky Charms outfit.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sales in the Pitts

What do donuts and hotel rooms have in common?...

They are each highly perishable. The donut has the advantage of being sold the next day at a steep discount but the empty hotel room is lost forever. Another disadvantage of the hotel room is the fixed nature of the product as the supply cannot be easily varied. While, donut production can be increased or decreased (within certain limits) with little in the way of fixed costs adding rooms to the hotel is accompanied by a dramatic increase in fixed costs. The trump card for the hotel is during peak demand periods since supply is limited then prices increase and therefore your profit margins. The fixed nature is a curse during slack demand periods but gives your much better leverage when the demand is high.

The University of Pittsburgh has plenty of room at Pay Money Here Stadium that they share with the Steelers. Given that they have plenty of room, a apathetic fan base and a lackluster home slate of games this year (except for the WVU fans) the best strategy is to, "Sell'em cheap and stack'em deep(er)." The bet is that the extra sales will make up for the loss revenue. The other thing to look at is that full seats may start a tradition and get the ball rolling. Or at the very least get people in the stands until they can sell the place out for next year's visit by Notre Dame and borrow a page form the OSU playbook.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

All that sizzle is not steak

Funny what sells you on a product. Recently Dell introduced a line of notebook computers that had the great new feature of having colored cases. The new selling point was not the content: RAM, processor, video card, hard drive. Dell was selling the notebook computer on vanity. In a crowded market you seek any little point of difference to get your product noticed and if that difference costs next to nothing but adds value in the mind of the consumer... all the better.

Even beyond the arena of college football colleges sell the superfical. "Sell the sizzle not the steak," is the motto that applies here. A few schools have that reputation of aged prime beef, the Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Duke have and are selective about the student they admit. Most other schools fall somewhere between the reputation of the hallowed few and the local community college. The sales pitch here comes down to selling their niche.

If you have had the chore (after the third it becomes a chore) of taking you child to tour colleges, you will discover that the sales pitch for most schools is the food, dorm, and facilities. The education thing just seems to be secondary. You will be tritted through a clessroom or two but suprising little of the sales pitch is about the education. Talk to college bound high school seniors and you find that the feel of the campus is often a deciding factor and the the decsion was more one guided by emotion than cold logic.

Salisbury University--The Commons Check out the hours and selection The inside is equally impressive

James Madison University--Take the virtual tour starting with the rock climbing wall.

As for the price of the education? There is the list price (in state v. out of state) but then there is the scholarship game. The scholorship has been changed to meet the needs of the competitve college marketplace and now is commonly used as a discount to close the deal for a student that brings grades, SAT's, or another quality that the school finds desireable.

In Recruiters will stop at nothing to land a big-time player we get a glimp into the world of recruiting and the sell job put on to land the big time, 5 star, must have, can't miss player. While the process is different,the decsion is still often difficult and guided by emotion.

This entry started out as an, Ode to the problem of the big time recruit, but as somtimes happens other thoughts invaded and the entry ends up going in another direction. Given the glaring attention given these youg men it is a miracle that they are not all so full of themselves as to be unbearable. Terrelle Pryor has hopefully kept perspective while grown men do there best at selling him on why ______________ is the best fit. For all players signing the all important letter of intent this week keep in mind that youth is fleeting and that the next level in your life will at some point involve using the college education you are playing for to make your way in the world. Forget the the steak.

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