Greg Graziano - VP, Business Development - Old Hat
People are being priced-out of the market. They’re beginning to believe the opinions of the “little guy” aren’t being heard. There is a growing chasm between what they spend their hard earned dollar on and what they are receiving in return.
You could read that sentence with a political or economic bent. Or you could read it and think about your athletic department’s fans. What if it, instead, read like this:
Long-time, loyal fans are being priced-out of the market. They’re beginning to believe the opinions of the “common fan” aren’t being heard. There is a growing chasm between what fans spent their discretionary income on and the product they see on the field.
Times (and experiences) are ‘a changin’ in college stadiums and arenas as administrators clamor for solutions to get fans back in their empty seats. Schools are spending millions to build luxury suites and club areas hoping to drive more revenue from a building that sits empty 359 days a year. They’re stepping over dimes to pick up nickels.
As this happens – accommodating experiences to the 1%, if you will – the “common fan” is being left out. They’re being asked to donate some (more) to the annual fund to receive the right to buy tickets, just so they can pay (more) for parking, concessions, and apparel.
I get it – it’s a business. Technological improvements have helped expand wifi connectivity and concessions are starting to be made with, well, concessions to offer $1 hot dogs and $2 sodas. As these buildings get outfitted for the 1%, it’s no wonder why the common fan feels left out.
As attention spans shorten and millennials are looking for a more fulfilling experience, the long-term ramifications to ticket sales, revenue, and donations could be drastic. Why not create club areas for student groups or young alums? Entice them by offering the same amenities that you see in the corporate suites to get them hooked.
That school’s emotional connection, whether earned through your family’s dedication to their alma mater or your proximity to a local university, just isn’t strong enough any more. Schools shouldn’t take that connection for granted and, as the chasm grows, Georgia hosting Austin Peay or Clemson hosting Furman isn’t going to be good enough to get the little guy back for good no matter how many $1 hot dogs you sell.