Archive for the ‘Sports Business’ Category
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="174" caption="Some of Slive's Henchmen at Work"][/caption]
Lotrisone For Sale, Well, it looks like there are a few teeth to Mike Slive’s new edict that coaches refrain from criticizing the SEC’s finest. What’s more, and somewhat to my surprise, it appears that the new policy even applies to Urban Meyer. The basis for these conclusions? Mike Slive’s decision to fine Florida Gators coach Urban Meyer $30,000 for criticizing the officiating during the Gators’ game against the Georgia Bulldogs, which was announced via an official release earlier today.
I am sure that Jeremy Foley will be lodging a strongly worded protest shortly, demanding that Lane Kiffin apologize for not being fined before Meyer…
So this raises a question: can you get fined for criticizing the fine you got tacked with for criticizing the officials? I wonder if we will find out? That could be highly entertaining.
At any rate, I guess we now know that Mike Slive actually meant what he said when he declared himself the High Inquisitor of the SEC. Of course, no one expects the Spanish Inquisition…
Video: The Spanish Inquisition
Although I am glad to see that Slive brought Meyer to task, I still find it a bit troublesome that Slive would rather focus on penalizing coaches for criticizing bad officiating rather than spending his time finding and/or training better officials. I find it odd that Slive and, presumably SEC head of football officiating Rogers Redding, feel a few off-handed comments from a coach about how the officiating in a given game was lousy—especially when the media and commentators absolutely love any opportunity they have to make such criticisms—are a threat to the sanctity of the SEC.
Me thinks he doth protest too much…
It seems to me by making an issue of the whole thing it just makes it that much more visible and gives the media and bloggers like yours truly one more thing to talk about. Likely as not, no one would be even thinking about Meyer’s comments any longer were it not for Slive’s new policy of coaching Newspeak. But then again, no ever accused Slive of being all that thoughtful…
…except when it comes to revenue.
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This Week's Roundtable is hosted by: 3rd Saturday in Blogtober
1) We will start with an easy one. Last week, our beloved Rock was relocated across the street to make room for a new building on campus. What are your thoughts on the Rock’s relocation?
HSH: Being a student, I actually have the slight advantage of seeing the change. I drove by as the crane was lifting the behemoth out of the ground, Hydrochlorothiazide class, and I've only seen it once since it's been moved. I have to say it's going be to a little odd driving through the stoplight next to Stokely Athletic Center and the Thornton Athletic Student Center (where all the UT athletes get their school on), looking to my left and not seeing the Rock. It might take a little bit of time to get used the change come the fall.
For me, it's just another aspect of a common theme of my years here as a student. Here's what's changed or been built since I came to Knoxville in the fall of 2006: all the recent renovations to Neyland Stadium, the makeover of Thompson-Boling Arena, buy Hydrochlorothiazide no prescription, Pratt Pavilion, a new soccer stadium, a new softball stadium, Order Hydrochlorothiazide no prescription, the brand new aquatic center.
And that's just the changes on the athletics side of campus. There's also been the total change in the old Glocker Building, which has now become Haslam Business Building where all the business majors do their thing. The Baker Policy Center was risen up on the corner of Cumberland Avenue and 17th Street, replacing the parking lot where my family parked for every game I came to up until I graduated from high school. Those are two major projects, that I've seen started and completed in my days as a student, Hydrochlorothiazide price, coupon.
Back to the Rock, my only contact with actually came before I was officially enrolled. I had two of the more enthusiastic Orientation leaders, and late one night during the two-day event we got together and painted the thing. I would have visual evidence to prove it, Hydrochlorothiazide dangers, but my computer erased my hard drive awhile, thus I have nothing...
Lawvol: First of all, I am glad that the Rock did not unceremoniously disappear from campus as a result of the new Student Health Center that is being constructed. The worst thing imaginable would have been for the university to simply blow the thing up or what have you and cart it off. I realize the process of relocating the Rock was both onerous and expensive, but I have to give a little credit to university administration (a/k/a “The Big Orange Screw”) for making the right call and preserving this tradition for future generations.
All that said, Hydrochlorothiazide from mexico, the last time I painted the Rock was 1997. I say “painted”—my involvement actually centered more on leaning up against the Rock in a near catatonic state as drool fell from my gaping mouth and I uttered various slurred obscenities at my cohorts. You see, I was completely pissed drunk overcome by a multitude of circumstances at the time and my recollection of that particular evening of frivolity is fuzzy to say the least. Still, the Rock does have a special place in my mind due to its tradition of announcing great events, Order Hydrochlorothiazide from United States pharmacy, lurid innuendo, and Gameday proclamations. Considering it is directly across the street from where it used to be located, I doubt there will really be all that much difference.
Of course, I do wonder whether some students may be confused by the relocation—in particular, those suffering from the same … mental confusion … that afflicted me the last time I painted the Rock. If so, where can i find Hydrochlorothiazide online, the university may be faced with a long road of maintenance as the drunken masses repeatedly paint the front of the new Student Health Center.
2a) Wednesday is the beginning of SEC Media Days in Birmingham, which usually signifies that the season is just around the corner. What would you prefer that Coach Lane Kiffin do this week: Speak up or shut up?
HSH: I think Lane will be on his guard this week, Australia, uk, us, usa, as I'm sure he—and everyone else—expects some media members to try and force him into conflict or a mistake. I want to hear him talk about his football team more than anything, as it's getting awfully close to nut-cutting time.
But if he does indeed have a verbal jab in him, I hope he goes after Nick Saban at Alabama. For two reasons: first, I just don't like Alabama. Second, is Hydrochlorothiazide safe, someone needs to bring up the whole issue with Bammer telling some upperclassmen who "don't fit the system" to hit the road to make room for the incoming freshman class and make it under the 85 scholarship limit.
Lawvol: Buy Hydrochlorothiazide Without Prescription, Frankly, it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if Kiffin walked in and did nothing but scream “Wild Boyz!” for an hour or so.
Okay, I might be overstating that just a bit.
Either way, Taking Hydrochlorothiazide, I am sure that the Blackjack General will be on his best behavior and on top of his game. Kiffin seems to have a real knack for working the media. The only down side is that they sometimes seem to have a knack for working him. I am sure he will get a few pointed and loaded questions which will lead to some interesting sound bites after the fact. Still, I have full confidence in the man in charge of the Tennessee Football program and am sure that he will represent us all well.
Speaking of SEC Media Days, I want to personally give a shout out to Joel from RTT for managing to score press credentials for the SEC’s annual Love-in. Nice to finally begin seeing bloggers represented at these sorts of events. Now, I just have to figure out what I need to do to score some of those for myself…
2b) If you could take back one thing that Coach Kiffin has done or said to this point, Hydrochlorothiazide gel, ointment, cream, pill, spray, continuous-release, extended-release, what would it be?
HSH: Nothing. Was falsely calling Urban Meyer a cheater smart? Probably not, but most of that was drug out and blown out of proportion. The secondary violations? Harmless. Who cares about getting those? I think most of us would agree that Tennessee's football program had gotten stale, and Lane and Co. Low dose Hydrochlorothiazide, brought some flair, by hiring Monte Kiffin and Coach O, stealing some players on and after Signing Day, and ruffling feathers. I think he's definitely got the fanbase excited about this season at least.
However, purchase Hydrochlorothiazide, I do just wish he would have recruited a quarterback by now...
Lawvol: Hmmm… You know, the lawyer in me understands the need to manage public relations and to be careful when making public statements. The fan in me, however, loves seeing the Tennessee staff mix it up with all the so-called powers that be. On the whole, Tennessee took a lot of guff from a lot of people over the last decade or so. I’m not trying to criticize the Great Punkin for being a nice guy and trying to stay above the fray or anything like that. Still, I imagine that even he got tired of having to hear all the crap that spewed from the mouths of so many—I know I did, Buy Hydrochlorothiazide Without Prescription.
Thus, I am pretty much okay with Kiffin’s statements so far. In hindsight, Cheap Hydrochlorothiazide no rx, would I add a small clarification here or there; would I re-phrase a few things; would I make sure that I knew whose cameras were running before speaking? Sure, I’d do all those things. This, however, is football not a trial by jury. Thus, I say let it fly, buy Hydrochlorothiazide online no prescription.
3) The biggest news of last week on the football front was that seemingly our entire receiving corps is in the infirmary. Austin Rogers is lost for the year, Denarius Moore is going to miss several games at a minimum, and Gerald Jones has an injured wing that may cause him to miss some games. Although it seems like it is time to hit the panic button, Hydrochlorothiazide alternatives, is there a way out of this for the Vols?
HSH: I asked my closest inside source about the injuries and he said both Moore and Jones were still at workouts and didn't seem too bad. I think Gerald Jones will at least be ready for Western Kentucky, although I'm not sure that if he's not 100% that you don't keep him out of that game. Losing Moore hurts because he was the deep threat and Rogers is the type willing to take a shot over the middle on third down. However, I don't think we should start panicking yet. Why.
Because I expect Tennessee to run the ball early, often, about Hydrochlorothiazide, well, and consistently. Seriously, what's the one position everyone isn't concerned about in terms of talent or depth? Running back. Granted, Where can i cheapest Hydrochlorothiazide online, the departure of Lennon Creer and injury to Toney Williams limited those expectations, but Tennessee should be OK with a healthy Montario Hardesty, Bryce Brown and Tauren Poole. Sure, those last two guys don't have that many carries between them, but count me in the group that feels confident they can get it done, Hydrochlorothiazide blogs.
Lawvol: There is still a fair amount of time before the season starts, so I am not exactly in panic mode, but even I will admit that the injuries are concerning. Still, Order Hydrochlorothiazide online c.o.d, as HSH points out above, we have more horses in the stable with real experience if less than awe-inspiring numbers. Furthermore, we have a couple of key freshmen who—if they are ready—could use this opportunity to step-up and fill the void. Finally, there is always the option of re-tasking folks to play the role of receiver. That sort of thing might fit quite nicely into the recently announced campaign to promote Eric Berry’s Heisman Trophy candidacy, very nice indeed, real brand Hydrochlorothiazide online. Buy Hydrochlorothiazide Without Prescription, Given the fact that we look to be a run-oriented offense, I am not exactly ready to run screaming from the room in uncontrolled fits of hysteria, but I am sincerely hoping that we hear a little good news on this front in the near future. On the whole, though I am less concerned about the receivers than I am about the quarterback throwing to them.
4) Basketball recruit Josh Selby decommitted from the Vols over the weekend, and many suspect it is because he wants to play for a Nike school. Tennessee is an Adidas school, Hydrochlorothiazide mg, and there is speculation that future sponsorship money with Nike may be at stake if Selby doesn’t go to a Nike school like Kentucky. This obviously has ramifications in all sports, so what do you make of all this. (NOTE: The NFL is a Reebok league, which is owned by Adidas.)
HSH: I have friends of mine that insist Tennessee would become the next USC in every sport if they just switched to Nike or Under Armour. I always say that I don't want players who are caught up in the gear they'll get (they'll be getting so much free gear anyways, buy no prescription Hydrochlorothiazide online, so it shouldn't matter). And I always use the argument that it has no impact what brand name apparel you wear. It has no effect on your performance.
As Lane Kiffin said in Tuesday's press conference when asked about the hotly-debated black jersey issue, your jersey or the brand logo on it has no effect. If Tennessee's winning SEC and national titles, we could wear pink and be sponsored by Hanes for all I care. When I go play pick-up basketball games at T-RECS, whether or not I wear my dry-fit Nike shirts as opposed to Under Armour gear or a plain t-shirt has no effect on how well I shoot the 3 or whether I can dunk on anybody, Buy Hydrochlorothiazide Without Prescription.
OK, end of rant. But I will say this: if Tennessee does indeed switch apparel sponsors, Buy Hydrochlorothiazide from mexico, I want Under Armour, for two reasons: first, to screw Nike, and two, because I just plain like it more. You might say they would mess with the classic Tennessee look too much (like they did with South Carolina), purchase Hydrochlorothiazide online, but Auburn switched from Russell Athletic to UA and their unis didn't change at all, and still look classic and look sleek.
Lawvol: Okay, Fast shipping Hydrochlorothiazide, this is a sore spot of mine, and this is a bit of a rant (you’ve been warned) but it is directed more toward Nike than it is toward Selby. I can sum it up in three simple words:
I hate Nike…
I absolutely abhor what Nike and its founder, Phil Knight, have done to sports over the last quarter century. Though my hubris toward Nike first formed in the mid-1980s, I became an unwavering anti-Nike critic after reading Sports Illustrated’s 1993 article on Knight entitled “Triumph of the Swoosh” (this is a really good article by Donald Katz, Hydrochlorothiazide dose, and I highly recommend it despite its length).
In this article, Katz recounts, Hydrochlorothiazide pictures, among other things, the sordid tale of the medal uniforms controversy which arose with the dream team at the 1992 Olympics and the near-stranglehold that Nike possessed in the early 1990s. While I respect Knight’s dedication to the ideal of creating a sports apparel and marketing powerhouse out of nothing, I blame Nike and Knight for so much of what is wrong with sports today. I am proud to say that, I own not a single item of Nike manufactured apparel and have not knowingly purchased anything produced by Nike since 1994.
It was Nike who forever changed the face of sports by transforming athletics into a media circus—converting sports into little more than another form of Hollywood-style entertainment. In fact Nike’s own goal was to become an experience and entertainment corporation, herbal Hydrochlorothiazide, that just happened to be grounded in the worldwide fascination with sports. It was Nike who—via its marketing machine—transformed the landscape of professional sports by making sports heroes into demigod-like icons who were as untouchable as they were unreal. Nike is all about image…
…that and big piles of money.
The problem is that Nike singlehandedly transformed the sports endorsement world by changing athletes from being spokespersons into carefully crafted and manicured corporate assets. Nike was the first to “buy” athletes. After that came teams. Since the mid-1990s, it has been schools. Buy Hydrochlorothiazide Without Prescription, When I arrived at Tennessee as a student, the football program was sponsored by Nike. Fortunately, in 1998 the entire athletic department entered into a global equipment and apparel contract with Adidas. Since that time, Tennessee has stood apart from the machine that is the Nike image.
From an aesthetic perspective, Hydrochlorothiazide forum, I personally think that the Adidas-branded apparel that has graced the backs of both the Vols and Lady Vols for the past decade has been great. I like the “Adidas look,” but I will be the first to admit that such assessments are a matter of personal opinion and that I have no monopoly on determining “what looks cool.” That said, I am proud of Tennessee for not being another sheep in Nike’s fold, one which is forever beholden to the Nike power structure and its power to make or break an athlete, a team, comprar en línea Hydrochlorothiazide, comprar Hydrochlorothiazide baratos, or a school.
In 1986 Knight publicly declared that his goal was to become “the IBM of the sports-apparel industry” by 1991. There really is no point in arguing with whether he achieved his goal. In 2008 alone, Nike converted $ 18.6 billion in revenue into almost $ 8.4 billion in profits. It is hard to fight such a behemoth. Most fall in line with Nike’s aggressive school of thought that the world can be conquered. Hydrochlorothiazide no prescription, I admire Nike’s drive, but in the process of becoming the dominant sports apparel company that it is, it has completely—and I would contend irreparably—damaged sports by converting it into little more than a commercial engine. That engine is driven by the athletes, teams, and institutions in the Nike stable and is fueled by the hopes and dreams of everyday sports fans to get just a bit closer to the their heroes or their favorite team. Where this gets troubling is when the image becomes more important than the sport, kjøpe Hydrochlorothiazide på nett, köpa Hydrochlorothiazide online, when the money to be made controls the game.
I am but one small voice of dissent in a Nike-inspired, Nike-controlled, Hydrochlorothiazide online cod, and Nike-orchestrated world, but my conscience will not permit me to be otherwise.
Fortunately, Nike is not the only face in the world of sports now. Though there have always been competitors seeking to erode Nike’s dominance, the reality is that until the last decade there were no legitimate contenders. Now, at least there are faces like upstart Under Armor, Hydrochlorothiazide treatment, and the reinvigorated Adidas / Reebok. Still, Nike’s dominance is secure for now. I, however, Online Hydrochlorothiazide without a prescription, am hopeful that, Phil Knight’s megalomaniacal goal of being the IBM of sports is an instructive omen. If Big Blue can fall from its pedestal of preeminence—rejoining the world of mere mortals—so too can the swoosh come crashing back down to earth.
For now, however, we all must accept the reality that as long as the Nike juggernaut is in control, we will continue to see athletes make decisions based solely on the whims of sports-apparel executives in Beaverton, Oregon. It is sad and, in my opinion, it is deplorable. It is deplorable not because a player, such as Josh Selby, wants to do what is best for his playing career, but because Nike is all too willing to flex its muscle to control the decisions made by athletes, fans, and the general public. Some would say that is simply smart marketing. In my opinion, however, there is a line—one which Nike crossed long ago, Buy Hydrochlorothiazide Without Prescription.
"Michael Jordan without Nike [wouldn’t] mean anything."
Thus, I am disheartened to hear that Selby has decided to de-commit from the BasketVols. I hope he made that decision based upon concerns tied to him being in the best environment, being comfortable, Hydrochlorothiazide photos, and being successful. I hope it was not a decision based solely upon what sports-apparel logo appears on his uniform, as many have suggested. Such a decision would not, however surprise me. Either way, Hydrochlorothiazide used for, I do wish him all the best.
Nonetheless, I want to encourage the University of Tennessee, the UT Athletic Department, and Mike Hamilton to stay on the outside of the Nike machine. Regardless of who provides the Vols with their orange, buy Hydrochlorothiazide without prescription, from my perspective, any company is preferable to Nike. Were Tennessee to affiliate with Nike, I would not buy “official” apparel any longer.
More important than a single fan resisting the urge to spend money on clothing, however, is the “soul” of the program. Once you are with Nike, you are bought and paid for. Once that occurs, you might as well become “Nike State University at Knoxville.” All assets that can be purchased can be expended and thrown away. Phil Knight was once quoted as saying that “Michael Jordan without Nike [wouldn’t] mean anything”
I doubt he would have a different opinion about the Tennessee Volunteers…
The Rest of the Roundtable:
Having wasted your time on my largely meaningless and insignificant thoughts for this week, go check out what the other roundtablers (who actually know what they are talking about) have to say (in no particular order):
Also be sure to check out the round-up over at 3SIB later this week...
Image(s) Courtesy of: What's On the Rock / TwitPic • SI.com || Statement on Fair Use.
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This post is part of a continuing series -- "The Cost of Sports Buy Soma Without Prescription, " -- examining the impact of current economic changes on the world of major sports. To see the other posts in this series, Soma results, Fast shipping Soma, click here.
As I discussed in Part 1 of this series on the cost of sports, at Tennessee, Soma cost, Purchase Soma for sale, the price can be high when it comes to paying your way into Neyland Stadium -- a truth of which Nashville's Thomas Luck is all too aware. I discussed the issue purely in terms of the experience at Tennessee mainly because it is what I am familiar with. Tennessee was but a lens -- the reality is largely the same at all schools with a major athletics presence.
The world of professional sports, however, comprar en línea Soma, comprar Soma baratos, Soma pharmacy, makes the college ranks look like small potatoes in the way it is wed to the almighty dollar. Given the current uncertain economic times, however, order Soma no prescription, Soma interactions, I question whether professional sports in particular can continue in the way it has for so long.
I suppose that sports fans should not be surprised at the notion that professional teams would necessarily focus on money, after all that is what professional athletics are all about: getting paid to play. I suppose Rod Tidwell (from the movie “Jerry Maguire”) summed it up best with the oft quoted line "Show me the money!" What I think is a bit surprising is how willingly and uncomplainingly professional sports fans have accepted the "money first" approach of all the teams in all the major leagues. The increases in costs passed along to professional sports fans over the last generation is really quite staggering.
Video: Show me the Money!!
But don't take my word for it...
Fan Costs in Professional Sports
Sports marketing consultants Team Marketing Report (TMR) is a leading publisher of sports marketing and sponsorship analysis for both collegiate and professional sports. Since 1988, where to buy Soma, Soma coupon, TMR has been tracking major indicators in the world of sports. One of the key components of their analysis is an analytical model called the "Fan Cost Index" which is used as a measuring stick for the cost to an actual fan attending a game for various franchises.
More specifically, TMR's exclusive Fan Cost Index (TM) survey, Soma use, Soma blogs, tracks the cost of attendance for a family of four.
The FCI includes:
- Two adult average price tickets
- Two child average price tickets
- Four small soft drinks
- Two small beers
- Four hot dogs
- Two programs
- Two adult-size caps.
Taking all of these factors into account, the analysts at TMR calculate the costs for fans attending games for teams across the country. The data that TMR has assembled is telling.
For example, what is Soma, About Soma, let's look at the NFL's presence in my home state: the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers played their first season in Charlotte in 1996 (they played the 1995 inaugural season in the Clemson Tigers' stadium). Thus, for Carolina we can see the change over the entire history of the franchise. Since their first season in their permanent home, Soma forum, Cheap Soma, Bank of America (formerly Ericsson) Stadium, the Panthers have played in one Super Bowl.
Fan Cost Index: Carolina Panthers
|Beer||Soft Drink||Hot Dog||Parking||Program||Cap||Avg, purchase Soma online. Soma from canadian pharmacy, Ticket||Avg. Prem, Soma treatment. Soma price, Ticket||Fan Cost Index||Cost Rank in NFL|
|Increase Since 1998|
|Percentage Increase Since 1998|
Then there's the just-crowned Super Bowl XLIII Champions: the Pittsburgh Steelers. During the 10 years covered below, the Steelers have won two Super Bowls and moved into a new stadium, Soma duration, Online buy Soma without a prescription, Heinz Field.
Fan Cost Index: Pittsburgh Steelers
|Beer||Soft Drink||Hot Dog||Parking||Program||Cap||Avg. Ticket||Avg, Buy Soma Without Prescription. Prem, Soma from mexico. No prescription Soma online, Ticket||Fan Cost Index||Cost Rank in NFL|
|Increase Since 1998|
|Percentage Increase Since 1998|
On the other hand, there's one of the biggest disappointments of the 2008 season: the New England Patriots. During the 10 years covered below, buy Soma without a prescription, Soma use, the Patriots have won three Super Bowls and moved into a new stadium, Gillette Stadium.
Fan Cost Index: New England Patriots
|Beer||Soft Drink||Hot Dog||Parking||Program||Cap||Avg, order Soma from United States pharmacy. Soma brand name, Ticket||Avg. Prem, cheap Soma no rx. Ticket||Fan Cost Index||Cost Rank in NFL|
|Increase Since 1998|
|Percentage Increase Since 1998|
Key to notes on preceding Tables: b=14oz c=16oz e=20oz g=22oz
These numbers show that, even in the smaller markets (which definitely includes Carolina and most would say includes Pittsburgh) there have been substantial increases in the cost of attending a game for the average fan. What these statistics ignore, however, is the increasing impact of Personal Seat Licenses or PSLs on the cost of attending a game for individual fans. Essentially, a PSL is the professional football equivalent of season ticket rights in college football. The Average Ticket Price shown above reflects the average cost of a single game ticket available to the public for each team. The fact is, however, in many of the NFL stadiums the number of generally available seats is wholly insignificant when compared to the number of seats licensed via PSLs. In many cases, fans are left with only two choices: scalpers or buying a PSL.
PSLs are where the "Premium Ticket" costs referenced above come into play.
Again, when compared to what you see with some major college sports venues, Panthers PSLs are not that expensive. The Dallas Cowboys, who are preparing to open a grand new $1.3 billion stadium for the 2009 season, however, will charge as much as $150,000 for seat licenses. As a point of reference, according to Zillow.com, the median home value for Knoxville, Tennessee is approximately $148,000. In the modern era, there can be little question, in most markets, that professional sports tickets are aimed less and less at individual fans (or the "Common Fan" as Basilio calls them) and more toward businesses and corporations. As a result, on gamedays many professional sporting venues are primarily peopled by business people engaged in the schmooze game than it is by fans actively pulling for their teams.
The Flip-side of a Very Big Coin
The cost of gate admissions, however, barely scratches the surface of the cost of operating a professional sports franchise. In that sense, professional sports depend far less on the ticket-buying fan and more on other streams of revenue than do college athletics. None of this, however, means that the costs of running professional franchises are not passed on to fans. It just occurs indirectly. The "real" money for professional sports lies in corporate affiliations, naming rights, licensing and marketing, government subsidies, and the end-all and be-all: television broadcast rights.
Make no mistake, without these key components, professional sports as we know them do not survive. The irony is, however, that without the common fan, these components of the professional sports balance sheet evaporate.
Of course, some -- most notably the NFL -- contend that professional sports always have and will continue to be recession-proof. In a recent interview with CNBC’s Mark Koba, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy commented on the effects of the recession by stating: "If we could build a stadium for 300,000 people we would sell out the game. The Super Bowl has always lifted the spirits of America and this year is no different." Others are far less sanguine.
As the Money Players blog notes, there are already strong indications that "the long-held notion that sports is 'recession proof' is being shattered." The first signs of this change have already begun to become apparent. Some minor professional franchises folded early in the onset of the current recession, but now the list of the affected is growing. For instance:
- In December, the WNBA's most successful franchise, the Houston Comets, officially folded;
- The barely solvent to begin with Arena Football League canceled the 2009 season;
- The PGA publicly acknowledged it could face tough times given the current economic crisis, and the LPGA cut three tour stops and $5 million in prize money from its 2009 tour;
- The NHL officially dropped its revenue projections for 2008-09;
- Neither the New York Giants nor the Dallas Cowboys have managed to find a suitor sufficiently willing to pay for naming rights on their new stadiums;
- The New York Yankees have yet to sell out the luxury boxes in the singularly lavish New Yankee Stadium, while the secondary market prices of opening day tickets in the new facility have plummeted (most recently selling on the secondary market for $ 534, down from $ 1,101);
- The Washington Redskins recently laid off 20 front-office employees while Roger Goodell laid off 150 of the 1,000 employees at the NFL league offices;
- Both the NBA and NFL have recently offered cuts in ticket prices to bolster flagging attendance;
- Both the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals had difficulties selling out their playoff games this season;
- NASCAR Racing is facing the bleakest season outlook in years due to sponsorship issues; and
- Most notably, the cost of tickets to Super Bowl XLIII on the secondary market was $500 - $800 lower than last year.
These are but a few examples.
These sorts of "adjustments" on the part of major professional sports demonstrate that professional sports are not immune to recession. That realization has gotten the attention of many sports-business watchers and has started a new conversation about the state of professional sports.
Said Andrew Zimbalist, a noted sports economist and professor of economics at Smith College:
... Ordering Soma online, fans tend to give up other consumption before they cut back their consumption of sports. The present downturn is, my Soma experience, Buy Soma without a prescription, however, both much more severe and likely to last considerably longer than the typical post-WWII recession, Soma from canadian pharmacy. Soma price, coupon, Moreover, the revenue-generating model in pro sports has been gentrified over the last 20 years, Soma pics, Rx free Soma, becoming more dependent on the sale of premium seating, corporate sponsorships, Soma recreational, Purchase Soma online no prescription, and catering — all expenditures likely to be more sensitive to economic conditions.
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• via: Freakonomics
Steve Czaban, a syndicated host with Fox Sports Radio (which, along with Sports Illustrated and others, is itself currently clawing to remain solvent) believes that the market for sports will diminish substantially, unless major corporations are able to save themselves from collapse. In a recent article by Wall Street Journal columnist Jonathan Last, Czaban noted, "The worst-case scenario, for example, for the NFL, is there's a dozen teams that can no longer sell out their home games." The article notes that such a loss would create broadcast issues due to the NFL blackout rules for non-sold-out games. Said Czaban, "The U.S. government is buying banks, major retailers are going under, and a half-a-dozen newspapers are folding up shop. Why is it we think this could never happen to sports?"
As Andrew Zimbalist and others note, however, there is no real historical benchmark aside from the experience of Major League Baseball during the Great Depression. During the early 1930's fan attendance dropped by as much as 40%, but no teams failed. That begs two questions: 1) Is it possible that the same attendance drops could be on the horizon for major professional sports in the near future, and 2) if so, can they bear the financial strain of a reduced fanbase?
Of course, in the 1930's there was only one major sports league, college athletics were in their infancy and were largely localized, more importantly there was no television.
Television, in the minds of many, will be the savior of major sports in the current crunch, but there are those who question whether that is true. In fact some assert that television might actually add to the erosion of revenues for sports -- professional and college alike.
The thought that television could add fuel to the already raging fire is a scary one, especially for professional franchises whose “help me, help you” relationship with television has been a dependable source of revenue during even the most trying times.
Video: Help Me, Help You...
That is what I will look at in the next installment of this series...
Images Courtesy of: Panthers.com • Steelers.com • Patriots.com • Wikipedia .
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So how much is winning worth to you?
This is a question that many have asked and answered over the years. The reality is that there is no right or wrong answer to this question—it is a personal matter, which really lives outside the confines of "categorical absolutes" and everyday reality. We all have our limits. Some are willing to go farther than others. In the end, though, it is a question of conscience (or of getting caught).
That question is now being supplanted by a new consideration, one which is far more basic and fundamental, and which is bound by the world of reality.
How much are sports worth to you?
I say that this is now bound by reality due to headlines that have become all too common across the country over the last 12 months such as the one in my hometown paper earlier this week.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="350" caption="That's what you like to see first thing in the morning..."][/caption]
You hardly have to be a news wonk to realize that the economy is seriously in the crapper. People from all walks of life are being forced to make changes in the way they spend their money and how they live their lives. With all of the bad news about jobs being cut, investments tanking, and businesses going under many are being forced to cut back not out of thrift but necessity.
Most rational individuals faced with the predicament of making a mortgage payment with dwindling funds or even putting food on the table will usually start by cutting out the things they can live without, namely entertainment and recreation.
Over the past generation, the cost of attending or participating in sports as a fan has increased dramatically. For example in 1995, the average cost for a ticket to a Carolina Panthers football game was $37.92, in 2008 that average had risen to $63.32, and the Panthers had the fourth lowest ticket prices in the league. Of course those increases have not been confined to professional sports (which I will address in part 2 of this series).
While food and shelter are obviously not things that a body can go without, tickets to watch your favorite team play are. That begs the question, is the horizon looking bleak for the financial feasibility and solvency of major sports as we have known them?
The fact of the matter is that, at present, everything and everyone in our society is reeling from the financial crisis that has struck the economy from Wall Street, to retailers, to real estate, to the Mom and Pop operation on the corner. There is nothing that makes major sports immune from this economic catharsis (wow, I used “catharsis” in a sports blog post). In fact, for the average person, sports is likely to be the first thing to go after poker and prostitutes (that’s more my usual tone).
I have been a season ticket holder for Tennessee Volunteers’ football for almost a decade now. At present, I have the right to purchase two seats in Section Y7 of Neyland Stadium. My seats are in the endzone. They are by no means bad seats (well, Joel and Hooper at RTT agree with me), but they are anything but the best seats in the house. But for the Jumbotron, I would not have much a view of happenings near the South Endzone, but I do get to see all the action when the "T" opens. To continue to be able to purchase these seats, I am required to maintain my yearly donation to the Volunteer Athletics & Scholarship Fund, or VASF. At the risk of showing my mania and getting flamed for wasting my money, this is how the purchase of my pair of seats shook out for the 2008 season:
|Required VASF Donation||
|Cost of Tickets||
|Number of Home Games||
|Cost per game||
|UT 2008 Record||
5 - 7
|Cost per win||
These figures, do not take into account the costs associated with travel to and from games and other ancillaries. For me, travel is a considerable cost—especially when gas is high—considering that I live about 6 hours from Knoxville. These costs, however, fluctuate and it would be difficult for me to assess how much I actually spend on travel.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="530" caption="A = Home, B = Football. In between is a lot of driving..."][/caption]
So there you go, I have shown the entire world that I am crazy…
I have been very fortunate in these trying times. My profession (“graft, corruption, and you” a/k/a lawyering) has not suffered the fall-off that some have, but then again, there are a fair number of law firms that have not been immune to the pressures. I personally have not been faced with the choice between dropping my tickets or meeting my financial obligations. As is well known by just about anyone with a pulse, however, other individuals (as in real people with jobs, families, and lives) have suffered huge financial setbacks in the form of lost income, the mortgage crunch, disintegrating 401k assets, company closures, and layoffs. Though the government has proposed yet another stimulus package (which MoonDog is not impressed with), like Circuit City, the vast majority of companies on the national landscape are not “The Big Three” and do not get government bailouts.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="265" caption="This message brought to you by the UAW."][/caption]
Still, even in the best of times, my football addiction has always been a bit of a sacrifice. If faced with the choice between Tennessee football or putting food on the table, however, it’s not hard to figure out what the choice would be.
Now, the VASF is in the middle of one of the biggest development campaigns in its history. To fund the renovations to Neyland Stadium, the athletic department needs to raise money—big stinkin’ piles of money. At last count, the price tag for renovations is expected to be around $ 200 million dollars—about twice what was originally projected. From a fan perspective, I will be the first to admit these renovations were sorely needed. Parts of Neyland Stadium are approaching 90 years of age, and … well … it was showing. The renovations thus far have been outstanding, and the most recently updated version of the Neyland Stadium Master Plan ( pdf) looks like it will be fabulous when completed (I’m especially digging the new look for the Real Gate 21).
To fund all of this, a variety of club-seating and luxury box offerings have been integrated into the renovations. Take for example the new Tennessee Terrace seating option which, I must confess, I was interested in until I saw the cost.
Starting in 2010, the west upper deck of Neyland Stadium will look entirely different than it does now. The new Tennessee Terrace will include around 1,500 chair-back “club-style” seats, an enclosed (e.g. heated and cooled) “members only” concourse, and other perks. It’s going to be really nice.
A few promotional images of the Tennessee Terrace. (Click to enlarge)
"Nice," however, comes with a hefty price tag…
Just to get the chance to buy Tennessee Terrace seats, a donor will be required to make an initial “capital gift” of $1,000 up front followed by an additional capital gift of $1,000 paid over 4 years (this second capital gift is currently being waived or reduced if you apply “early” for seats). Thereafter, to maintain the right to buy tickets in the Tennessee Terrace the donor must make an annual donation of $3,000 … per seat. Then, the donor gets to buy their tickets at face value. So, assuming tickets at the current cost (which UT did announce would not increase in 2009) the total cost of two seats for the first season the Tennessee Terrace is open would be $6,630, without even taking into account the $1,000-$2,000 one-time capital gift. On a game per game basis that computes out to $473.57 per seat, per game (and, yes, donors are required to purchase tickets in even-number increments).
This, however, is nowhere nearly as costly as the West or East Club Seats. Two seats in the West Club Seats—which are currently being constructed—can cost as much as $100,000 over 10 years followed by a $10,000 a year annual donation.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="465" caption="Current Construction on the West Club Seats"][/caption]
Of course, not everyone needs the added cost of a luxury box—as long as you get to walk through the Real Gate 21, you get to see the game. The problem is that there really isn’t a “budget” package when it comes to Tennessee football tickets. This is made clear by the 2009 Donor Benefit Chart recently released by the VASF.[caption id="attachment_2743" align="alignright" width="150" caption="2009 VASF Donor Benefit Chart"][/caption]
By my math (which is often highly unreliable) the cheapest a fan could pick up a pair of season tickets for the eight homes games scheduled for the 2009 season would be approximately $820, which includes a $100 donation. That would be for seats in the South Endzone Upper Deck (not exactly the best in the house). Of course, all of that is contingent upon enough tickets being available. Experience says that tickets would not be available at the $100 donation level. Traditionally, a $500 donation is the minimum necessary to guarantee the right to buy season tickets under the VASF point system, which would raise the total cost to approximately $1220, again for the South Endzone Upper Deck (the Jumbotron would be behind you) nosebleed seats.[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="320" caption="The View from the Nosebleeds"][/caption]
Well, at least you could look out at Lake Loudon if you wanted, so there’s that…
Oh, and did I mention that the Neyland Stadium renovations are only one of many projects Tennessee has ongoing, projected or has just completed. Other projects include the recent renovations to Thompson-Boling Arena and Lindsey Nelson Stadium, as well as the construction of Pratt Pavilion, Allan Jones Aquatic Center, the Regal Cinemas Soccer Facility, and the McKenzie Lawson Athletic Center to name a few. There are a lot of major projects and expenses ( pdf) that the athletic department has been undertaking and which donors have been funding.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to flame the athletic department for all of these new high priced seating options, or for the cost of tickets in general. I understand what it takes to fund a program like Tennessee’s, but I do wonder how far the seemingly endless gravy train can go before it runs out. A few years ago, I’d have said never. In light of the current economic circumstances, I am beginning to wonder.
I am wondering not because I think the zeal of Tennessee fans is waning. On the contrary, given what we have seen since Lane “the Blackjack General” Kiffin was named head coach, I think there are a whole lot of things about which Big Orange fans can be excited. I do, however, question whether the dedicated and die-hard stalwarts of the Orange Nation, can afford to be a part. I realize it costs a small fortune to maintain the Tennessee athletic program—a staggering $86,502,857 for fiscal year 2007-08 according to the UT Athletic Department Annual Report—and I understand why. Paying coaches, maintaining and developing facilities, providing scholarship funds for the student-athletes, and a bevy of other costs add up very quickly. Of course, it is worth remembering that Tennessee is not alone: a similar set of circumstances is playing out at schools all across the SEC and the rest of the country.
Again, I am not trying to criticize, but simply raising a question: given the circumstances under which we currently live, can the current revenue stream that funds sports be expected to continue into the future?
Of course, Tennessee and the other college sports powers have nothing on professional sports when it comes to being a high ticket item.
That, however, will have to wait until Part 2 of this series…