Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The good, the bad and the ugly of the latest Gene chat

Call me jaded, but I don't expect much out of these Gene chats anymore. In most cases he can't say much beyond what we already know. Other times the questions come off as whiny and the same topics are brought up over and over. I do appreciate Gene making himself available...I just wish the format were slightly different and he could be a little more candid.

Here is what I found interesting and bothersome from Tuesday's session.

The Good
Chris (Boston): Gene, It appears that once the new Master Plan is approved and construction begins, many of the Lower Campus non-garage tailgating spots (Shea, More Hall, Edmonds, etc) are going to be at least temporarily eliminated. Can you comment on this and also if there is a plan to replace these 'green' spots.
Gene DeFilippo: There's no question, we will lose some parking on the lower campus, but at this time, we are unsure as to when and how many spaces we might lose. There are plans to add to the parking deck in order to offset those lost spaces.

Good job, Chris. In all the hubbub over campus expansion very few have noticed or mentioned that green space will be greatly reduced. That will dramatically change tailgating and the price of good spots. This will be a huge issue down the road. Gene had to dodge the question slightly. I am sure he knows what's coming and is either working towards a better solution (tailgating on the Brighton campus?) or figuring out how to price the limited spaces correctly.

Joey (Brookline): Gene, Congrats on another great athletic and academic year. My question is regarding the donor-based seating plan in place at BC. I completely appreciate the need for donor based seating and know that is has been successful at BC. However, have you ever thought of instituting a points based system for seating that awards points for attending the school, years of season tickets, membership in BC clubs, etc. and combines these with donations which would be assigned points as well? I feel a system such as this would reward the loyal fans, but still allow donors with big pocket books to get the seats they want. Thanks very much, Joey
Gene DeFilippo: Many schools have implemented a point system, and there are positives and negatives associated with such a system. Our records do not go back far enough to allow us to implement a point system here at Boston College.

Another good question. A point system would seem to be a little more fair to the long-time fans or those who cannot afford DBS. I am a little suspect of Gene's response. The school clearly has records on donors and alumni status. Maybe he means they don't have accurate records on season ticket seniority. I doesn't sound like he is a believer in the points system, but if the fans want it there could be a chance down the road.

The Bad

Juan (Saugus): What are the chances of scheduling an out of conference game next season or the season after against a good BCS team? Besides USC, which is in 6 years.
Gene DeFilippo: We have Notre Dame on our schedule for the next two years. With eight tough ACC games and Notre Dame, we don't need any more teams from the BCS leagues. Look at the schedules of others in the ACC, the Big East, or the SEC, and you will see similar names to some of the schools we play out of conference.
Fair question from Juan. Bad response from Gene. The Interruption guys already covered this but BC could play a non-conferecnce BCS team every year. The reason I moved this to the "bad" area is Gene getting unnecessarily defensive about our schedules. We've got USC and Syracuse coming up. We will probably add another BCS conference team after the Trojans. Why not just give Juan a pat answer that "we're looking to play some of the best teams in the country"?

JD BOSTON: Is their anything being done to market the basketball team bettere than in the past and to also improve the atmosphere at the games. MAybe follwoing the Celtics concept of marketing to a younger group might be useful.
Gene DeFilippo: We at Boston College certainly know how to create a wonderful atmosphere at our home basketball games. Our recent home games vs. North Carolina and Duke are proof that we can do it. It's up to ALL of us - alumni, students, fans and friends of the university - to get together and create that atmosphere at each and every game.
Another fair question. I didn't care for Gene's response. UNC and Duke are not the issue. It is the half full games against Miami or VT that are the problem. I do agree that it is up to all of us, but Gene's department needs to lead that effort or try something new.

The Ugly

Patrick Kelley - Los Angeles: How can BC sustain being so far from all our Conference competitors for much longer? Fuel cost are high and It's a major burden for the fans. It's obvious we play all our non-conference games with weak Div. II New England teams. We need to start playing are ex-rivals in the Big East!
Gene DeFilippo: Had we remained in the Big East, we would have had to travel to Milwaukee, Chicago, Cincinnati, Louisville, South Bend and Tampa. Those are certainly not bus trips. Yes, we have to travel in the ACC, but it has certainly worked out well for us, and the venues where we get to compete are second to none.
LET GO OF THE BIG EAST, PEOPLE!! Fuel costs? Major burden to the fans? How many BC fans were making the trip to West Virginia or Syracuse? Not many. Who is being put out by this? And travel costs. BC is so far ahead of where we were financially in the Big East that travel will not be an issue. And Gene properly points out, travel costs in the Big East would have been high too. And the cheap shot about the New England teams...come on. If you want to ask Gene why we don't play the Big East teams, ask it. Loading up the question with nonsense about Div II teams when anyone can point to our true schedule just undermines the entire angle.

Tom Mahoney (Malden): Mr. D This is my 2nd try (could not get all my frustration in 750 characters) To the point, I am a BC grad’74. Loyal, supportive and frustrated. BC is making a lot of enemies of former fans (they come looking for me). I will be giving up my season tix next year. (cannot justify expense …I so look forward to the URI game) Most of fellow season ticket holders in my area have been replaced by online one game fans. Is this the plan? I know the party line, no need to repeat it. Good luck. I still love BC but you people make it so hard. BC shows no loyalty to longtime supporters and expects it in return. BC should try to be the best BC it can be and not try to be something it is not.
Gene DeFilippo: Alumni Stadium seats 44,500 fans, and there is truly not a bad seat in the stadium. When it was refurbished in 1994, the BC administration did a wonderful job in making sure the fans were very close to the field. We have a small number of donor-based seating in the seats closer to mid-field, but there are thousands of other good seats that do not require a donation in addition to the price of the ticket.
Let me climb into my ivory tower for a moment. I am not a season ticket holder and I do give to the school and I admit I was not impacted by DBS. That said, what are you complaining about, Tom? Our home schedule this year includes Clemson, Virginia Tech and Notre Dame. You paid for DBS last year but are giving it up this year because of URI? "BC should try to be the best BC it can be and not try to be something it is not." What does that mean? Do you want to be Holy Cross or drop football altogether. There are realities to college football today and there is also the free market. Those seats you sit in have value and BC has the right to get that value. If you don't like the price, as Gene mentioned, there are other seats available. I don't understand this all or nothing mentality from some BC fans. You like going to the games, yet don't want to pay fair market for your seats or move into cheaper seats? Ugh.

There full transcript is available at


amartin said...

I think the travel costs question and the request to play BE teams was posted by a BE troll. Look at that question carefully, no BC fan would have phrased a question like that.

Also, i wrote a long letter to Gene, Jamie, Father Leahy and Jack Dunn regarding the elimination of tailgating spots. Mr. Dunn responded that tailgating would always be preserved at BC and they know how important it is to alumni. that was comforting, but the thought of 95% of the spots being in garages is depressing. Let's hope plans are in the works to open up Brighton Campus, and heck, how bout the Dustbowl and Newton Campus as well. I dont see any reason why people who park on Newton shouldnt be allowed to tailgate.

joseph said...

Tom Mahoney '74 from Malden sucks. He's the kind of "down-in-front" naysayer that would prefer eight wins a season in the Big East with cheaper seats to the current state of BC football. Fans like him hinder BC's ascension to the pinnacle of college football. He will not be missed when he doesn't renew his tickets next year.

James said...

I would also include the first answer as at least "bad". Right out of the box the questioner hits on the poor game day experience and the justifiable belief that it is limiting the development of an increased local fanbase.

Specifically, Andrew from Buffalo asks: "What is the Athletic Department or the University doing about tailgating? I believe its current state is what is preventing the fanbase from growing into the community."
Answer . . .
Gene DeFilippo: 'Boston College is required to apply to the city of Boston to obtain an entertainment license to play our football games. The license the city grants us stipulates that we may open the gates to our parking lots two hours prior to a noon game and three hours prior to a game that starts at 1:00 or later. The additional hour was granted to us last year, and it was very successful. I am thrilled that the city will give us that same three-hour period for most our home games."

Not only does Gene not recognize a problem, but he is "thrilled" with the status quo? Please.

Whether Gene sees it or not, the game day experience needs to be improved or people (older alums not just the kids) will honestly just stop paying INSANE amounts of money to be hassled by cops for the privilege of mingling with friends for a few hours before a game solely because of a love of the school. It really does make more financial sense to let the season tickets go; ditch the parking fees; avoid the DBS charge; and just travel to 2-3 road games each year.

It is a fundamentally unsound practice to bilk your most ardent supporters at every turn; fail to attract new sources of income and support in the local community; and fail/refuse to at least acknowledge there is a problem.

I also refuse to believe that the Game Day experience situation cannot be improved and I have little (actually no) hope that Gene will fight for any of the new land/Newton Campus/the Dustbowl or anywhere else to be used as anything other than a shuttle bus depot.

I actually like the idea of opening up middle campus. SMU has a car free tailgating scene called The Boulevard where you can rent or bring your own tents, grills, etc. or hire the school's catering for the day. It works well in a similar set up as BC - football game on campus in a high end neighborhood where the locals have a lot of clout.

BCMike said...

The guy who was begging to play the Big East turds was probably a UWV grad. I was tipped off by the "are" instead of "our" usage.

Alex F. said...

Agree with Mike, "are" tipped me off as well.

I would've included the question about AC in Conte in the "bad" section. It's nice that we finally have concrete plans to do it...but 2010?? Two full hockey seasons from now?? It's not going to be any more expensive to do now than it will be in 2 years. There's no excuse for not having done it last summer after the debacle against BU, and there's no excuse for not having done it this summer after the debacle against North Dakota. When the home opener and banner-raising game against Wisconsin is called off midway through the second period, will it at least spur GDF to push his plans up to the summer of '09??

Ben said...

FYI - the number 2 person at City Hall is a BC grad, a season ticket holder to basketball and football, and she tailgates! Someone tell Gene D to stop complaining about how the City won't let them tailgate.

As for DBS - until the rich people start showing up to games (Fl. State, anybody?) why don't they start treating their loyal customers better, instead of coming up with new ways to price us out?

Call it whining if you want, but it's the truth.

First come, first serve for seats and tailgating, that'd do it.

Rob said...

BC must consult Michael Pahre before doing anything to the Brighton Campus for tailgating! Liars, liars!