Mark Coyle and what his plan is to bring back fans


Active member
per Jess:

While attendance was down overall this past season, the issues kind of came to a head in the two sparsely-attended playoff games with Michigan. You announced a price cut for some tickets recently. What went into that decision and what else is being considered to boost attendance?

Everything is on the table. I've said this publicly many times, but it's on us to get people back. We’ve got to do that. I was raised to know that when you point a finger, you've got three fingers pointing back at you, so we have to take a look at how we do things, and that's what we've done this offseason. We’ve taken a hard look. It’s important to point out that we were second in the country in overall attendance. Sometimes the narrative is ‘Oh, my God,’ and no doubt the Michigan (playoff) series caught everyone's attention. It caught our attention. But we had several very good crowds this year and people remember that last series against Michigan in the Big Ten playoffs. Sometimes we lose sight that we were second in the nation in attendance.

But you talked about the ticket prices. We wanted to take a hard look at how we did that. We reduced ticket prices to $500 for some season tickets, which is the lowest it has ever been inside 3M Arena at Mariucci. We looked at our scholarship seating areas and how we could make some adjustments there based on feedback we got from fans. We went to our Board of Regents and we’re thankful for their support and the support of our president where we can now have beer and wine sales inside that venue. These decisions were based on all ideas and input that we got. When I was hired we put together a Fan Advisory Council. And these are things, when we look at the market, we see. I believe all schools in the state of Minnesota sell beer and wine at their facilities, so why aren't we doing it here? It's all part of the fan friendly environment that we're trying to create. So we'll continue to be aggressive and look at hockey. There's no doubt it's a priority for us and it's not their fault they're not coming to games, it's on us. We have to figure out how to get them back and that's something it seems like we have conversations about daily.

Related to that, is there a break-even point where ticket prices can drop too much and hockey is no longer a revenue sport?

Hockey will always be a revenue sport here at Minnesota. It's one of the foundational programs in this department. I said it when coach Lucia stepped down and retired, I feel that we have the best hockey job in the country and hockey will always be a revenue sport for us.

One of the early complaints from fans about Big Ten hockey was the inability to find games on TV, at least in the places where fans were used to finding them. Has the situation with Big Ten Network and FSN gotten better for the home viewer?

We hear that every day from people, and selfishly we feel that we have the best college hockey television package in the country. We have phenomenal relationships with the Big Ten Network and Fox Sports North and I think we're on TV more often than any other college program in the country, which is awesome for a lot of different reasons. We work very closely with our TV partners. I can tell you that Francois McGillicudy, the new president of Big Ten Network, is aware of what hockey means to Minnesota and Michigan and the other teams in the Big Ten, and the priority we place on that in terms of TV and the exposure we get. We feel very positive about the exposure we get on TV. It's important for our recruiting and when it's done right it can be a great marketing tool for our institution. People can see what the University of Minnesota is like when they watch Gopher hockey games on Friday and Saturday nights. We feel like we have strong partnerships and we're thankful for the TV coverage we do get.

Go Gophers!!