Jags as OC, Season 2 continues this week as well as the start of my position previews. For today, just links and thoughts on two heavily discussed topics.
First, the ACC released its television schedule. Good news: five games are already designated for national television. Here is what we know.
Sept. 1, Wake Forest on ABC at 3:30 pm
Sept. 8, NC State on ESPN2 at 2:30 pm
Sept. 15, at Georgia Tech on ESPN2 at 8 pm
Oct. 13, at Notre Dame on NBC at 3:30 pm
Oct. 25, at Virginia Tech on ESPN at 7:30 pm
I believe our games against Miami, Florida State, Maryland and Clemson will all be telivised, with at least two making ESPN in prime time. It will really depend on how each team is playing.
The nonconforence is less predictable. My guess is that Army will be a day game on ESPN U and probably be a day game. The Knights have a deal with ESPN too making it that much more appealing to the folks in Bristol. The bad news: I think our other two games (Bowling Green and UMass) will probably be moved to ESPN 360. Watching on my laptop is better than nothing at all, but I think the ESPN 360 experience lacks compared to even the most amateur tv broadcast. In the old days NESN might have picked up one or both. But given our deal with ESPN, the network is going to continue to hold onto our games and force them to their 360 product.
BC also announced ticket packages for 2007. Like last year there are a few different plans designed to get the less desirable home dates filled. Before people start pointing to the donor based seating as the explanation for the lower demand, realize that this trend predates the donor seating and predates TOB. Since the 1994 expansion of Alumni, season ticket sales during seasons that didn’t included a Notre Dame home game always lagged. Our first ACC season didn’t include an ND game, but the general excitement and the Florida State novelty helped drive sellouts. While I have excuses (I’ll get to them in a minute) there really is no excuse. We should sell out every game. Hopefully Gene doubters now realize the importance of getting some new life into the product. I think, despite our success, TOB’s style of play and unwillingness to sell the program hurt the box office. If Jags wins with any sort of style, things will pick up.
Now look at the schedule and the games included in the package. You’ll see why some are selling and some are not.
Wake Forest. This is a shame. The Wake series has been great and they are the defending ACC Champions. And it is Jags first game. I think all tickets will be sold, but it is embarrassing at this point. The major excuse: it is Labor Day weekend and students won’t be on campus yet. I really wish we wouldn’t schedule games before students get back on campus.
NC State. Terrible. TOB’s return should have everyone fired up. Like Wake I think this will eventually sell out. Just shows that TOB will never excite this market.
Army. This will be a tough one. If we weren’t playing a DIAA team on Parents Weekend, Army would have been the perfect candidate for that guaranteed sellout. This game will probably not sell out. No excuse.
Bowling Green. If we start strong this game will sell out.
While many schools in our situation (smaller alumni base, city schools) have been using ticket packages for years, I think BC should try something new. Create a “young alumni” package that gets people who’ve graduated in a certain window (graduated in the last five years or last ten years), where they get a full season ticket package at a discounted rate. Require some nominal donation to the Flynn Fund. This helps fundraising, gets young alums in the habit of giving and buying season packages, fills the stadium and gives the crowd a little more energy.
Performance will always be the main driver in ticket sales, but changing the culture is needed too. I think nuturing the young alumni is a better investment than trying to rope someone into a ticket package that includes Army and Bowling Green.