Meeting with athletic department employee

UpAndUnder43

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So I was randomly contacted to meet with an employee of the athletic department. I do have season tickets in multiple sports (volleyball, mens basketball, womens gymnastics), so maybe that is why. I'm not entirely sure.

We met for coffee (he paid!) and talked about all things Gopher sports, from my perspective. He was really prepared, knew a lot about the various teams and was extremely excited about the direction of the programs on campus.

I told him what I really thought about fan engagement, game day experiences, etc. and for the most part it was well received and he agreed they have a long ways to go with some things. They are trying to do more of this so if they reach out to you, I recommend meeting with them.

Anyway, wasn't sure where to post this but it was nice to have them reach out to meet with me and feel like I'm being heard.
 

Face The Facts

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That's really good to hear.
Glad they are getting out on the ground level to hear what people are thinking.
 

Rescooter

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So I was randomly contacted to meet with an employee of the athletic department. I do have season tickets in multiple sports (volleyball, mens basketball, womens gymnastics), so maybe that is why. I'm not entirely sure.

We met for coffee (he paid!) and talked about all things Gopher sports, from my perspective. He was really prepared, knew a lot about the various teams and was extremely excited about the direction of the programs on campus.

I told him what I really thought about fan engagement, game day experiences, etc. and for the most part it was well received and he agreed they have a long ways to go with some things. They are trying to do more of this so if they reach out to you, I recommend meeting with them.

Anyway, wasn't sure where to post this but it was nice to have them reach out to meet with me and feel like I'm being heard.
As long as this is a confession time; I met with Mark Coyle last year. My takeaway was the same as yours. He was well-prepared, enthusiastic, and liked the tragectory of the programs. One small thing he mentioned; he is looking for a family atmosphere at games (was concerned about aging Gopher fans). He asked about my suggestions as to what they could do. I gave him a few ideas and he seemed genuinely interested. Overall, I left our meeting with much more respect for Gopher Football and the U of M in general.
 

Hates Monikers

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As long as this is a confession time; I met with Mark Coyle last year. My takeaway was the same as yours. He was well-prepared, enthusiastic, and liked the tragectory of the programs. One small thing he mentioned; he is looking for a family atmosphere at games (was concerned about aging Gopher fans). He asked about my suggestions as to what they could do. I gave him a few ideas and he seemed genuinely interested. Overall, I left our meeting with much more respect for Gopher Football and the U of M in general.
I'm glad to hear he's trying to get more families to games. I always thought the "Gopher fans all have gray hair" thing was overblown and not much different from other colleges. But that was when Williams Arena was full (or more full) in the 1990s and early 2000s and in the early years of TCF Bank Stadium. I do see a much higher percentage of gray hair now.

Part of this is caught up in the success (or lack thereof) of the teams and the broader attendance issues. But if Coyle doesn't think the high cost of tickets is an issue for families, it will never get fixed.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

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I was contacted like that too but I kinda thought it was a play for additional donations...
 

UpAndUnder43

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I was contacted like that too but I kinda thought it was a play for additional donations...
He did mention the Brick campaign and sent info on it in a follow-up email but there was no pressure/mention of that kind of thing prior to him mentioning that campaign. Really low-key approach for donations, if that was the goal.
 

MNVCGUY

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As long as this is a confession time; I met with Mark Coyle last year. My takeaway was the same as yours. He was well-prepared, enthusiastic, and liked the tragectory of the programs. One small thing he mentioned; he is looking for a family atmosphere at games (was concerned about aging Gopher fans). He asked about my suggestions as to what they could do. I gave him a few ideas and he seemed genuinely interested. Overall, I left our meeting with much more respect for Gopher Football and the U of M in general.
The long long period of bad Gopher football has created that massive age gap. We have an old section of fans that remember when the program was great then we have the huge gap from then to the Mason years where the program was a joke for the most part and lost a huge chunk of potential fans. Compounding all that is the current problem of getting butts in the seats facing everyone these days.

But it is great to hear they are getting out and talking to fans to try and do what they can to address the issues.
 

A_Slab_of_Bacon

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He did mention the Brick campaign and sent info on it in a follow-up email but there was no pressure/mention of that kind of thing prior to him mentioning that campaign. Really low-key approach for donations, if that was the goal.
Kinda wish I had answered the call then ;)

I was all Oh man they just want money. and moved on.
 

McPeePants

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So I was randomly contacted to meet with an employee of the athletic department. I do have season tickets in multiple sports (volleyball, mens basketball, womens gymnastics), so maybe that is why. I'm not entirely sure.

We met for coffee (he paid!) and talked about all things Gopher sports, from my perspective. He was really prepared, knew a lot about the various teams and was extremely excited about the direction of the programs on campus.

I told him what I really thought about fan engagement, game day experiences, etc. and for the most part it was well received and he agreed they have a long ways to go with some things. They are trying to do more of this so if they reach out to you, I recommend meeting with them.

Anyway, wasn't sure where to post this but it was nice to have them reach out to meet with me and feel like I'm being heard.
Loved to finish reading your sincere post and then get to your footer — "F wisconsin" lmao
 

Word

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As long as this is a confession time; I met with Mark Coyle last year. My takeaway was the same as yours. He was well-prepared, enthusiastic, and liked the tragectory of the programs. One small thing he mentioned; he is looking for a family atmosphere at games (was concerned about aging Gopher fans). He asked about my suggestions as to what they could do. I gave him a few ideas and he seemed genuinely interested. Overall, I left our meeting with much more respect for Gopher Football and the U of M in general.
I met with Teague way back when. He seemed prepared, enthusiastic, etc but we all know how that turned out. [emoji3]

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Schnauzer

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I had the same style meeting this past spring. I felt it was a very good thing for them to be doing. Great discussion.
 

highwayman

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I was contacted like that too but I kinda thought it was a play for additional donations...
He did mention the Brick campaign and sent info on it in a follow-up email but there was no pressure/mention of that kind of thing prior to him mentioning that campaign. Really low-key approach for donations, if that was the goal.
Always Be Closing. It’s how things get done. I like it.
 

UpAndUnder43

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Always Be Closing. It’s how things get done. I like it.
I had no issue with it. Wasn't pushy or annoying about it. In fact, I think his overall attitude made me much more likely to donate/get a brick/whatever.
 

UpAndUnder43

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The long long period of bad Gopher football has created that massive age gap. We have an old section of fans that remember when the program was great then we have the huge gap from then to the Mason years where the program was a joke for the most part and lost a huge chunk of potential fans. Compounding all that is the current problem of getting butts in the seats facing everyone these days.

But it is great to hear they are getting out and talking to fans to try and do what they can to address the issues.
I have made this point so many times.

I'm 33. There is a good amount of fans my age and younger. Mason had some good teams in my formative (high school/college) years and then Brewster LOL but Kill stabilized it and Fleck has had some success.

People a few years older than me and into their mid-50s had very little to cheer for. Older folks are around but as this employee so nicely put it they will "retire" from season tickets so they need to add more somehow.

They are working on it. And I think they realize the only way to really add ticket holders and fans is to win but they are doing what they can for now.
 

LesBolstad

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The bottom line is you have to have your men's football and basketball at least in the mix for conference championships every few years- and heaven forbid actually win a title in either sport once every 10 years. We have not done this for over 50 years. Whatever you have to do to make that happen, do it.

It's great we are very competitive in virtually every non FB/BB program but the the most part, people really don't care that much.
 

Gophers_4life

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The punch line, it seems: the athletic dept already is well-aware of the all the things that posters on here gripe about (besides the lack of wins/titles), as far as atmosphere goes.

The things that posters always suggest are things that are easy to say, but for whatever reason are difficult to implement. Not sure if it is a lack of money available to be spent on those things, a lack of political will in the University to try to implement some of them, logistical/practical things that get in the way (student alcohol use is always going to be a concern, for example), something else, a combination, etc.

Having allies in the administration (especially the President of the Twin Cities campus) can only help, I'd imagine.
 

Pompous Elitist

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Have to give credit for some of the ticket initiatives which will help get butts in the seats and build the fan base. Do those of you that live there think there is enough tv, radio, billboard marketing to snag casual fans? Endless committees, fan surveys when the answers are slapping them in the face (this is not a fault limited to this industry) are a way to look like action is being taken without really making decisions or taking ownership of decisions that could go south.

I think if Coyle asked for a meeting some of us would need to check for plastic on the floor.
 

bleedsmaroonandgold

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I'll believe Coyle and company are serious about fixing the attendance problem when I see attendance numbers that look good. It is easy to tell people you want to fix something, but being willing to make the expenditures or sacrifices in short term revenue to actually accomplish it are something else.
 

Spoofin

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As long as this is a confession time; I met with Mark Coyle last year. My takeaway was the same as yours. He was well-prepared, enthusiastic, and liked the tragectory of the programs. One small thing he mentioned; he is looking for a family atmosphere at games (was concerned about aging Gopher fans). He asked about my suggestions as to what they could do. I gave him a few ideas and he seemed genuinely interested. Overall, I left our meeting with much more respect for Gopher Football and the U of M in general.
Kudos for meeting with Mark and giving him your thoughts. Honestly, I’d rather shove a stick into my eye than have a conversation with Mark Coyle.


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mnsports1

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Kudos for meeting with Mark and giving him your thoughts. Honestly, I’d rather shove a stick into my eye than have a conversation with Mark Coyle.


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In defense of most of the posters I am guessing they didn't know they had a choice between shoving a stick in your eye and meeting with Coyle.
 

short ornery norwegian

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Or, you shove a stick in your eye, and then you meet with Coyle. That will impress him with your level of commitment.

As others have said - anyone with one or two good eyes can look around college football, and see other programs that have fun and vibrant game-day atmospheres and tailgating situations. Sure, some of those programs are perennial contenders - but not all.

It can't be a secret. There has to be a common denominator. And I happen to believe the common denominator is pretty simple - the teams with a great game-day atmosphere have made that a REAL priority. They do whatever it takes. Yes, I know the Gophers have an urban campus. But other schools are located in cities of varying sizes. they have neighbors. they have local ordinances. and they find a way to work it out. Because, in those cities, the College Football Team is Important.

I say again: if the administration really wanted to, they could have the band march down University Avenue. And if anybody squawked, they would say "It's Game Day. This is what happens on Game Day." Likewise with tailgating, hospitality tents, etc. They could make it happen if they REALLY wanted to. so far, they haven't.
 

LesBolstad

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Kudos for meeting with Mark and giving him your thoughts. Honestly, I’d rather shove a stick into my eye than have a conversation with Mark Coyle.


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D-Bag award worthy. You win one:

dbag.jpg
 

Spoofin

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In defense of most of the posters I am guessing they didn't know they had a choice between shoving a stick in your eye and meeting with Coyle.
LOL. Well played.


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Bayfieldgopher

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Or, you shove a stick in your eye, and then you meet with Coyle. That will impress him with your level of commitment.

As others have said - anyone with one or two good eyes can look around college football, and see other programs that have fun and vibrant game-day atmospheres and tailgating situations. Sure, some of those programs are perennial contenders - but not all.

It can't be a secret. There has to be a common denominator. And I happen to believe the common denominator is pretty simple - the teams with a great game-day atmosphere have made that a REAL priority. They do whatever it takes. Yes, I know the Gophers have an urban campus. But other schools are located in cities of varying sizes. they have neighbors. they have local ordinances. and they find a way to work it out. Because, in those cities, the College Football Team is Important.

I say again: if the administration really wanted to, they could have the band march down University Avenue. And if anybody squawked, they would say "It's Game Day. This is what happens on Game Day." Likewise with tailgating, hospitality tents, etc. They could make it happen if they REALLY wanted to. so far, they haven't.
Two letters.

P. Politically
C. Correct

Minnesotans don't know how to have fun because they are afraid they may offend someone..
 

Face The Facts

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I think taking the short term break on ticket prices to rebuild a sell out crowd would be a good strategy. Then leave it like that for 2-3 years. Then raise fees a bit.
Once they started getting some people, they ruined it by raising prices way too quickly and way too high.

Minnesotans shop for the best value and with various other sports and legal scalping, there is plenty of competition for the sports dollar.
 

Ogee Oglethorpe

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I'm glad to hear he's trying to get more families to games. I always thought the "Gopher fans all have gray hair" thing was overblown and not much different from other colleges. But that was when Williams Arena was full (or more full) in the 1990s and early 2000s and in the early years of TCF Bank Stadium. I do see a much higher percentage of gray hair now.

Part of this is caught up in the success (or lack thereof) of the teams and the broader attendance issues. But if Coyle doesn't think the high cost of tickets is an issue for families, it will never get fixed.
I remember my first couple trips to Williams Arena in the early-mid 90's, Clem had the place rockin' and it was known as a great place to watch college basketball. I got there a little early and holy CRAP, I swear the average age of the people walking around the concourse was 87 years old. I remember thinking, THIS is why it's so hard to get good tickets to The Barn.
 

Pompous Elitist

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I think taking the short term break on ticket prices to rebuild a sell out crowd would be a good strategy. Then leave it like that for 2-3 years. Then raise fees a bit.
Once they started getting some people, they ruined it by raising prices way too quickly and way too high.

Minnesotans shop for the best value and with various other sports and legal scalping, there is plenty of competition for the sports dollar.
Disneyland has raised prices 50 percent since 2015 and 75% since 2011. Those are not typos. Recent news reports report lines about half as long as typical for summer. Disney admits attendance is down. Obviously their bottom line is still probably doing ok with the resort/ticket/food/merchandise price increases so they aren’t incentivized to reduce. In fact the experience of guests that can afford to attend is probably wildly improved vs the elbow to elbow crowding of recent years.

That’s Disneyland, a pretty nearly universally liked and maybe loved experience. Jacking prices on a product not nearly as widely loved, with obvious and varied marketplace headwinds, was probably a bad decision even if the bottom line is relatively flat or perhaps even up a bit, for now. In contrast to Disneyland a lack of a crowd reduces the experience of a big event like a football game, outside of traffic going in and out. Does that hurt repeat visits?
 

highwayman

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Two letters.

P. Politically
C. Correct

Minnesotans don't know how to have fun because they are afraid they may offend someone..
You are pretty much right.

The “atmosphere” is created by the fans, not some entity.
 
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