News Article: SEC needs to evolve football scheduling amid athletic department budget cuts
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  1. #1
    BamaNation All-American ALA2262's Avatar
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    SEC needs to evolve football scheduling amid athletic department budget cuts

    USA Today


    "As the Southeastern Conference convenes this week for its annual genuflection convention otherwise known as Media Days, two under-the-radar story lines from this offseason should start getting more attention.

    The first is a clear ramping-up of non-conference scheduling by some of the top programs, albeit with games several years into the future. The second is a recent announcement of athletic department budget cuts at Ole Miss and Auburn, whose spending had ballooned over the last half-decade as SEC Network money started rolling in.

    Itís hard to ignore how these two trends are both related and significant in looking at the whole of college football."




    "For years, the fervor of SEC fans has been taken for granted ó by television networks, by cable companies, by athletics directors and perhaps even coaches, who had no qualms about wasting 25-33 percent of their product on games that nobody really wanted to watch.

    It was easy to do it, too, because people kept showing up and paying full price for those September laughers against Chattanooga and Furman, not to mention the seat donations required to get season tickets and the cable bill premiums to make sure all the SEC content was right there on your television."




    "But hereís the reality that is making many athletics directors across the league uneasy, even as they collected $43 million in revenue share from the league last year: After the initial budget pop, SEC Network dollars are flattening and fewer fans are interested in sitting outside for four hours in the September heat to watch mismatches. Some schools are turning to increased alcohol sales in the stadium to grow revenues after the SEC relaxed its rules this spring, but for now, itís getting harder to find new ways to tap into the money spigot."




    "Similarly, interim athletics director Keith Carter told the Ole Miss Spirit that his department's budget would be reduced by 8.5 percent but that none of the cuts would impact salaries or recruiting.

    Ole Miss is typical of the challenge athletics directors across the country face. As of July 9, the school said it had sold 31,195 season tickets and had started selling mini-plans to incentivize people to come to the stadium. Just a couple years ago, the school had more than 50,000 season ticket holders."
    "So those headwinds are real, and schools that rely on football ticket sales to fund 20-25% of their budgets are going to feel the pinch when people decide itís a more pleasant experience to watch the game in air conditioning on a 70-inch high definition screen and without having to stand in a line for food or beverage."




    "People can talk all they want about the ďin-stadium experienceĒ or improving WiFi access or putting in party decks to cater to millennials, but at the end of the day, the best way to get people into the stadium is by scheduling better games.

    Georgia has done some good work on this, putting future home-and-home series with Oklahoma, UCLA, Florida State, Clemson and Texas in addition to its annual Georgia Tech rivalry. Florida also scheduled Texas and added Colorado, Alabama will go home-and-home with Texas, Notre Dame and Oklahoma.

    Unfortunately, most of these games are so far into the future theyíre barely worth getting excited about. But the fact coaches and athletics directors are willing to schedule them does suggest an understanding that in a sport where you only play at home on seven Saturdays, the appetite to spend three of them watching Mercer, South Alabama and Eastern Michigan is waning.

    Itís easy to see why this has been the model for so long in college football, and particularly in the SEC. If youíre filling the stadium no matter what, why not beef up your win total in the process?

    But in 2019, that may no longer work as schools try to cultivate new ticket buyers and grow revenues. For many years, rival leagues have been frustrated by the SECís self-serving scheduling philosophy. Ultimately, though, itís the fans that are going to force the SEC to change."

  2. #2
    BamaNation Hall of Fame B1GTide's Avatar
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    Re: SEC needs to evolve football scheduling amid athletic department budget cuts

    LOL - this isn't about scheduling, it is about the way that young people now view content. For example, did you know that 2018 saw the first year in which the average American spent more time viewing content on their phone than on their TV? Americans are changing. The way that we view things is changing. Getting a person to commit an entire day for 60 minutes of football is becoming a huge challenge. One that will not be solved with better scheduling.

  3. #3
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    Re: SEC needs to evolve football scheduling amid athletic department budget cuts

    Ole Miss is a bad example. They were selling 50,000 season tickets when Hugh Freeze was beating us 2 years in a row. I tend to believe it is mismanagement as much as anything. Yes, no one wants to see directional U on the schedule, but the reality is you can't play tough games every week. TV media want this as much as anyone. No one wants to talk about the effect it may have on the players. If we played 12 difficult games every year, what is the physical effect of a kid playing more snaps, and the simple grind of having to be on your" A" game every week. The hard reality is teams need games with lesser opponents to get experience for younger player and the rest the veterans. Would I like to see 9 conference games yes, Would I like to see us got to 12 games against power 5 teams, probably not. No matter good your team is (and Bama with Saban is as good as there has ever been) is going to wear down when every one is giving you their best shot.

    Athletic budgets being cut also has to do with the capital projects many schools have undertaken on non revenue sports who will never pay the cost of the investment. At Alabama, baseball, rowing, swimming, tennis etc. are examples of non revenue sports where athletic facilities have been built or expanded which pus a strain on the athletic budgets. Auburn is building a new football building while cutting the mainly non revenue sports budgets. There is not not a revenue problem in the SEC. There is a keep up with the Jones' mentality that AD's need to control.

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    BamaNation Hall of Fame Redwood Forrest's Avatar
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    Re: SEC needs to evolve football scheduling amid athletic department budget cuts

    Well. Hmmm. Why do families have to tighten their spending? Think about it. There are numbers of reasons and not just one.
    I do not believe in atheists, therefore they do not exist.

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    BamaNation Hall of Fame 81usaf92's Avatar
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    Re: SEC needs to evolve football scheduling amid athletic department budget cuts

    Quote Originally Posted by B1GTide View Post
    LOL - this isn't about scheduling, it is about the way that young people now view content. For example, did you know that 2018 saw the first year in which the average American spent more time viewing content on their phone than on their TV? Americans are changing. The way that we view things is changing. Getting a person to commit an entire day for 60 minutes of football is becoming a huge challenge. One that will not be solved with better scheduling.
    If we changed Duke to Oklahoma, Texas, USC, etc you are only probably getting 10k - 15k more people there. The truth is going to a game isnít as special to most 25-45 year olds as it was 5-10 years ago. Thatís a big reason why you only see 2 NFL stadiums with the capabilities of 100k and the average NFL stadium is 71k.

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    BamaNation Second Team theshow4jsu_13's Avatar
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    Re: SEC needs to evolve football scheduling amid athletic department budget cuts

    Quote Originally Posted by 81usaf92 View Post
    If we changed Duke to Oklahoma, Texas, USC, etc you are only probably getting 10k - 15k more people there. The truth is going to a game isnít as special to most 25-45 year olds as it was 5-10 years ago. Thatís a big reason why you only see 2 NFL stadiums with the capabilities of 100k and the average NFL stadium is 71k.
    I honestly think that's why its a good move on UA's part to renovate BDS. Reduce seating, add in the student "lounge" or whatever they call it. Make it more of an experience for the fan.

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    Re: SEC needs to evolve football scheduling amid athletic department budget cuts

    If you're going to make teams in the power 5 play only power 5 type teams in a full season then you're going to have to up the scholarship limit. If you don't then a lot of players are going to get hurt.

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    Re: SEC needs to evolve football scheduling amid athletic department budget cuts

    Quote Originally Posted by Rama Jama View Post
    Ole Miss is a bad example.
    Auburn is a bad example, too. They were only trying set the narrative in advance of the Leath firing.

  9. #9
    BamaNation All-SEC TiderMan's Avatar
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    Re: SEC needs to evolve football scheduling amid athletic department budget cuts

    Quote Originally Posted by B1GTide View Post
    LOL - this isn't about scheduling, it is about the way that young people now view content. For example, did you know that 2018 saw the first year in which the average American spent more time viewing content on their phone than on their TV? Americans are changing. The way that we view things is changing. Getting a person to commit an entire day for 60 minutes of football is becoming a huge challenge. One that will not be solved with better scheduling.
    Well I dropped my season tickets due to scheduling. I got tired of paying full price for a ticket to see Bama play UTC, La-Monroe, Citadel, Ark St, FAU, FIU when actually I could just show up and pay 1/2 price outside the stadium and get better seats. I pick and choose the games that I will go to this season and will come out cheaper and I won't feel like I have to go when it is 90 degrees for an afternoon game in September for a team that we will be up by 30-40 points at the half. For the SEC home games, prices rarely go much over face value and there are always bargains to be found there too.

  10. #10
    BamaNation Hall of Fame B1GTide's Avatar
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    Re: SEC needs to evolve football scheduling amid athletic department budget cuts

    Quote Originally Posted by TiderMan View Post
    Well I dropped my season tickets due to scheduling. I got tired of paying full price for a ticket to see Bama play UTC, La-Monroe, Citadel, Ark St, FAU, FIU when actually I could just show up and pay 1/2 price outside the stadium and get better seats. I pick and choose the games that I will go to this season and will come out cheaper and I won't feel like I have to go when it is 90 degrees for an afternoon game in September for a team that we will be up by 30-40 points at the half. For the SEC home games, prices rarely go much over face value and there are always bargains to be found there too.
    Sorry, but Alabama has always scheduled like this. If anything, Alabama's schedules are more difficult under Saban than they have ever been. So, if you gave up your tickets due to scheduling, you changed, not the schedules, which is exactly my point.

  11. #11
    BamaNation All-SEC TiderMan's Avatar
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    Re: SEC needs to evolve football scheduling amid athletic department budget cuts

    Quote Originally Posted by B1GTide View Post
    Sorry, but Alabama has always scheduled like this. If anything, Alabama's schedules are more difficult under Saban than they have ever been. So, if you gave up your tickets due to scheduling, you changed, not the schedules, which is exactly my point.
    Well speaking for myself, better scheduling would have kept me a season ticket holder - so that is my point. Increases on Tide Pride donation fees, overall ticket prices, premium priced SEC games, and paying $45 a ticket for the scrub games made no sense anymore. There was no benefit to keeping them and I can still go to games for less money spent.

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    BamaNation Hall of Fame selmaborntidefan's Avatar
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    Re: SEC needs to evolve football scheduling amid athletic department budget cuts

    Quote Originally Posted by B1GTide View Post
    Sorry, but Alabama has always scheduled like this. If anything, Alabama's schedules are more difficult under Saban than they have ever been. So, if you gave up your tickets due to scheduling, you changed, not the schedules, which is exactly my point.
    Methinks he's making the point that he could actually get the tickets for less than he was paying for them.

    Our schedules (in general with the exception of this year and 2010) have been tougher than they used to be. But the flip side is that a lot of those marquee matchups aren't part of the package because they're neutral site games. So yeah - we scheduled USC, but it didn't move the needle at all for the season ticket holder because it wasn't part of his/her ticket deal.

    When folks sell their season tix on Stub Hub, they're trying to recoup the money for the year. The problem is - and I'm not judging these folks, I totally understand why they do it - they tack on their Tide Pride fees to the cost of the ticket. Why should I pay for those extra fees, which are part of having the spot, especially when I can get tickets to the bakery games for less than face value right outside the stadium in a lot of cases?

    Of course, I don't disagree with what you're saying as far as the content viewing, either. I think we're looking at a time long gone where going to a CFB game in person was a big deal. The world is not as big as it once seemed to be thanks to the Internet. And the cost plays into it as well.

    All these "future big games" are setting up for the inevitable expansion of the playoff to eight teams, with the five conference champions guaranteed a spot. And when that happens, the New Year's Day bowl feast that is already on life support will die off for good.
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    BamaNation Hall of Fame selmaborntidefan's Avatar
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    Re: SEC needs to evolve football scheduling amid athletic department budget cuts

    One more point, though - this doesn't "really" affect us like it does others.


    In 2016, we averaged 101,821 fans per home game. That means every single game was sold out, including the 11 am kickoff with MSU. In 2017, we dropped by an average of 99 fans per home contest. We had Fresno, CSU, and Mercer among those 7 games that year.

    I can't seem to find 2018 data, but it's not like our home games don't sell out or almost sell out.
    My New Year's resolution for 2019 is this year I'm not going to drink anymore. I'm not going to drink any less, either.

    I was married for 25 years, but if I'd killed her on the honeymoon, I'd have been out in less than 20.

    Butch Jones has richly earned his title, The Archbishop of Talentbury

    After reading all the horrible things drinking will do to you....I gave up reading.

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