Monday, September 26, 2011

Putting dollars around attendance numbers

BCI posted a great piece on our attendance this season. If things go well, this will be our third lowest average attendance figure since Alumni expanded in 1994. The only two seasons with worse averages than our current trend line were 1997 (TOB's first season) and 2009 (Spaz's first season).

The numbers are bad, but what does it mean in revenue? The answer is enough to hurt BC's bottom line but not enough to make wholesale changes just to boost attendance. Let's do some back of the napkin math.

Spaz's average attendance: 36,597

Average attendance for a competent BC coach (avg of TOB and Jags): 40,824

Unsold seats: 4,227

Now you have to estimate the value of the unsold seat. BC has done extensive discounting the past few years, so a fair number is probably under the face value of the ticket. But there is revenue value in getting someone on campus. Those people eat and spend money. So, say that the average value of an attendee is $15.

Now assuming six home games, the lost revenue due to Spaz is $380,430.00 (4,227 unsold tickets x $15 x six home games)

Now this unsold seat number is all very conservative. If you use a full Alumni as the barometer the stats become even less favorable to Spaz. Another factor in this is donations. I hear anecdotally that Flynn Fund donations are down, but don't even have solid projections on any of the data.

There are more important things to the Head Coach's job than filling Alumni. At this point, I want Spaz to focus on winning. The guys who worry about ticket sales should already be worried about a variety of things.


mod34b said...

I think with Spaz, BC is looking at a 35K average this year...

Your $15 estimate also seems too low. Almost all of BC's costs are fixed and paid for by game time (am I missing something CSOMers??). So each new fan costs BC virtually nothing more and the money that fan pays is almost pure gravy for BC.

I would guess the value of the incremental fan to BC would be something like $40 (tx + concession + merch).

If you trim that a bit and use as a loss $34 a person you get $1,000,000+ loss per year.

[5,000 x 6 x $34 = $1,020,000 in lost income per season.]

Erik said...

They should consider selling non-tailgate single game parking on St Johns. Throw cars all over the lawn, who cares.

1) Upgrade every St Johns passholder to the unused on-campus spots.
2) Sell parking at $40 per car per game (available on a per game basis) via the website as first come first serve, by 7 days before gameday.
3) Mail out the pass, no walk-up parking available meaning no one drives there thinking they might get in just to create more traffic and a neighborhood parking disaster.

The revenue from parking helps, makes the casual fan more interested in buying a game ticket if they don't have to be bussed from Needham or take a 75 minute B line ride. Those causal fans go from $0 no shows to $100-200 for a family just like that. Also gets more money from visiting fans.

Finally - a good use of BCPD and Mass Staties, harass these people to park and get to campus because it is what people are signing up for and know this going in. Then those people make use of the Plex activities, tour campus, spend $ at the bookstore.....

Erik said...

Worth noting-
As a fan who does attend every game I like 100% full stadiums for noise and feeling good that people are supporting our players who work their ass off.

I also admit that I like 2/3 full for easy drive to campus, easy park, room for our tailgate to overflow, room to throw the football or play cornhole, short bathroom lines in the stadium or portapotty lines in the lot, empty seats around me so I can get my wife free or $10 tickets and she can sit next to me in my good seats, easy availability to invite friends and family (usually for free), and other selfish reasons like that which make the experience pretty relaxing in the new era.

Point being- even if the team isn't winning it's still an event worth attending and more people should be doing so.

Big Jack Krack said...

Mod - I'd say even $1M is conservative. I think we are losing more than that. Think of it this way - we are paying Spaz whatever $ plus $1M+ per year.

Erik - I like your parking suggestions and think they should be included in all letters we send to Gene DeFilippo. I also think "picnic tailgating" - no grills, etc should be allowed on Brighton Campus. (sandwiches, cheese and crackers, beer and wine)Renegotiate with the neighbors, who can't even see in there. Get the job done, Gene - let's go - take care of the fans.

As a season ticket holder in EE, I find it hard to believe that they didn't include restrooms on the upper level when they built that section.

While it's not a problem for me yet, it's a giant pain to have to walk all the way to the mezzanine level of Conti to find a restroom.

When the HC is boring and the team has fallen from highly competitive to last place, all these little things add up to fewer fannies in the stadium seats.

I have been amazed at the light attendance in the upper level at mid-field - those are choice seats going empty.

It's time for Fr. Leahy to take note.

Scott said...

No doubt, we're play boring and the record stinks. But the economy has been the crapper since 2008/09. You should detrend by looking at impact on tickets sales, revenue, and donations across fellow ACC & Big East opponents.

During this time did BC jack-up prices (DBS?) on primo seats. That's also relevant.

mod10aeagle said...

When fans perceive that the administration is ambivalent about the quality of the product they're putting on the field, not only will they stay away from the games; they will also stay away from the gift shop. So, whoever's trying to model this needs to figure out how to factor that in. How much stuff gets sold over a three-year period during which the record is 26-10 vs. 18-18 (or worse)?

I spent this past weekend in Ann Arbor visiting my son (a freshman). It's a profoundly different experience, and I acknowledge that any comparison to BC is unfair, but the volume and diversity of Michigan gear being worn by students, faculty, civilians, pets, whatever, is astounding. And this is not just on game days -- it's every day.

I sat in the student section as Michigan pummeled the Aztecs of San Diego State in what amounted to a pre-season game for the Wolverines. They announced that it was the 134th consecutive game at The Big House attended by more than 100,000 fans, and they do mean fans. (Official attendance was over 110K.)

GDF, his staff and the music directors need to go spend a game in the student section there to get a sense of what the game day experience should be, granted on a much smaller scale. It's not just the execution -- it's the intent and the commitment. I really don't think BC has it.

William said...

ATL, it's even worse than you portrayed. Every season ticket account got 4 free tickets to NW/Duke/UMass. This combined with the groupon...

The market is just so saturated with cheap tickets that you litterally can't give them away. There's literally no reason to be a season ticket holder as you can always get in for well under face.

EagleManhattan said...

"The market is just so saturated with cheap tickets that you litterally can't give them away. There's literally no reason to be a season ticket holder as you can always get in for well under face."

This is why I stopped buying season tickets. The combination of enough people avoiding the games and giving away their tickets, the discounting, and the free tickets given out means that I can basically go to any home game I want for free if I'm not picky about seats. Waste of money to buy tickets and I have no intention of lining GDF's pockets with any more donations at this point.

Eagle1 said...

Even with the shittiest of teams, if BC had a better tailgating situation, its attendance would skyrocket. There's almost no value in getting a parking pass. Even if you're the first person to roll onto Shea, it takes you a half-hour to set up. Then you get a couple of hours AT BEST to tailgate. If permitted, many of us would be out there tailgating at the crack of dawn. Then, by the time the game started, we'd all be in our seats, having fully enjoyed a solid 5-6 hours of tailgating.

BCDoubleEagle said...

You're confusing empty seats with unsold tickets. A lot of the empty seats are actually season ticket holders not showing up, so BC is not losing revenue there.

John B said...

BC is losing money for no shows, though, in terms of money spent on concessions, souvenirs, etc.

AlbanyEagle said...

Eagle1, I could not agree more!

Even if you time it perfectly, and are one of the first vehicles on Shea, any respectable tailgate takes a little time to get set up. And if there is a genuine desire to be in a seat at kickoff, you really have to start breaking down about a half hour before.

God forbid you want to take your kid over to the Eagle Walk, which is really sort of a sad sight to behold anyway. You barely have time to set up, crack one beer and walk over there. Getting on and off Shea on foot is almost as bad as getting through security for an international flight at JFK. And if you cracked that beer, you've got to chug it unless you want throw it out - - they won't let you walk out of there with it. Watch Stache and the boys parade on by along the sparsely lined Campanella way for a few minutes, then hustle back over to wait in the Shea security line to get treated like you're trying to sneak a shiv onto a prison yard. Oh, and if you left your game ticket in you car, thinking (seemingly reasonably) that you wouldn't need it before entering the actual stadium, think again!! You and your kid are out of luck, until you can convince some angry Statey to let you back onto the field with your sob story.

Ah, finally back at the tailgate. Just enough time to grill like 4 burgers, and drink a couple of beers. Pay no attention to the BC Gestapo incessantly patrolling around, watching out for anyone appearing to have too much fun ("That's not an open flame, is it?!"), and warning you that your treasured tailgating minutes are ticking ever closer to expiration. And on, and on.

Frankly, it's exhausting, and often feels like it isn't worth the effort (and I try really hard not to think about the expense). I will always support our players, and I will continue to donate to the school, but I'm not so sure about the Flynn Fund. I don't need a BCS contender every year, or even an ACC title more than once in a while. At this point I might not even complain about making it to another toilet bowl. But allowing this slide into mediocrity and beyond, with no appreciable effort to enhance the gameday experience for the loyal season ticketholder makes it difficult to stomach.

OK, that's it. Sorry for the rant.

Oh, except for one more thing. Anybody reading this blog that doesn't like or appreciate all that ATL has put into and continues to put into it, do the rest of us a favor and move on. Don't bother leaving another post. Just move on. Constructive criticism and helpful suggestions are probably welcome to a point, but at least show the man the respect he has earned. Just my 2 cents (maybe a little more). Thanks.

Walter said...

I think it's a bit ridiculous to pin our attendance issues squarely on Spaz. It's not the head coach's job to sell tickets to the event and make the gameday experience (outside of the product on the field) more enjoyable.

It's also more than a little disingenuous to just ignore the, you know, economic collapse we had in this country fewer than two years ago.

The comparisons to Michigan and schools like that have always kind of aggravated me, too. I don't care if it sounds insensitive...but there just isn't that much else to do in Ann Arbor. Everyone there is a Michigan fan because that is all Ann Arbor has to offer. It's fine to compare our attendance to schools that are at least in our shouting range in terms of size and surrounding area. Michigan isn't one of them.

canttakeit said...

The economy hurts a bit. But it is more the product and donor based seating. We have cut our season tickets in half (8-4) and moved back 2 rows and eliminated them for basketball. I still couldn't get anyone to go Saturday, ate 2 tickets. Nobody wants to go this Saturday. Nobody has taken our old seats in either football or basketball. Also with the free tickets and discounted tickets, if this was a good products in either sport people would come out. And now the security people are getting out of hand. Tried to give me a hard time for letting my kids friends sit in the empty seats around us at the Duke game. They do the same at basketball. They are more accomodating at the box seats at Fenway.

AJH said...

Why'd the BCI guy shoehorn that comment about Jags in there?

They moved to donor based seating as Ryan left and the economy went to shit. That has more of an effect than any head coach.

neenan said...

AlbanyEagle -

Very interesting "rant" (it really was not rant, but legit complaint) about tailgating sitution and how BC mishandles it. Well said. If enough people continue point out the shortcomings, maybe there will be positive change.

But should I suppress my dissatisfaction with this blog? Should I suppress my views. But if no one expresses any dissatisfaction, how will ATL know it is (past) time to improve a stale blog?

ATL is a terrific guy, but clearly he has been "mailing it in" for the last two seasons, particularly with football. Just look at this week's grades and what is said about the OL. Just fluff. Nothing new or interesting there.

eddierock said...

I am with AlbanyEagle: if you don't like this blog, or find it "stale', why don't you stop reading it and start your own? I am sure it is easy...
ATL consistently writes the best BC blog, hands down. keep it up...

eagleboston said...

The economy is not an excuse. Most other colleges are filling their stadiums and their economy is similar, if not worse than the economy in Boston.

Has something changed since the 80's? We used to tailgate several hours before the game. The tailgating in the late 80's was incredible and BC stank! I go to a game each year at Alumni, but my brother and I usually only get to the stadium in time to grab something to eat and head in so I don't experience the tailgate problems.

But it does burn me up that I pay to fly 1,000 miles to go to a BC game while local alumni come up with all kinds of lame excuses why they cannot support the team.

Joseph said...

Why does it "burn" you that others do not choose to spend their time and money as you do? Where is it written that you are the time and money guru?

Darius said...

Jimmy, I'm sure Bill would be happy to refund your subscription for you. Seriously, go find a better blog or start one yourself. In the meantime, you should know that his labor of love is much appreciated by many, including myself. That's all I'll say about that.

While our attendance issues shouldn't be pinned squarely or solely on Spaz, he bears some blame. The parking and the tailgating, the imposition of DBS and other nutty policies... those are on Gene. But very integral to a coach's job is creating enthusiasm around the program. Sell it. There are several branches of this tree. Winning is one of them. Gameday coaching is another. And third is his interface with the media and the public. Spaz brings nothing to the table. What's there to be excited about? The team doesn't play an exciting brand of football, it doesn't win, and he doesn't present a face to the public of confidence or even cutthroat competitiveness.

Oh, and the apparent no-shows are costing BC, more than ATL's estimate. It's all the stuff mentioned: Tickets left unsold PLUS tickets sold but way discounted PLUS concessions lost PLUS merchandising lost PLUS donations lost. And plenty of intangibles, like the goodwill that a successful football program generates or the peripheral economic benefits on the community, each of which can create a bit of "make it happen" political clout.

This is bad, folks.

neenan said...

Eddie, Albania and Darious -- Dissent is as American as football and apple pie. It is used to encourage improvement. If i did not think the blog was worth improving or could be improved, I would not bother complaining.

So, my dissent is really about seeking positive change. Is that offensive? No boat rocking permitted by the typically highly dull BC grad. So just keep clapping for the status quo. You probably even don't have any concerns with Spaz. Sheeple.

Eagleboston - what Joseph said.

Darious -- thanks for summarizing what others already said. Duh.

ATL_eagle said...


Please keep posting. I am not above criticism and I am all about:

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?"


jdguggs10 said...

As a recent alumn, there is no way I'm going to do any of the following, ever:

-Buy season tickets
-Attend more than one or two games a year
-Spend money on merchandise

... for all the reasons above but most importantly, Fr. Leahy and his "jesuits" don't care