Reusse: Steep prices keeping fans away from Gophers' big three

BleedGopher

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per Pat:

We can confirm that 709 days after the arrival of P.J Fleck in the Twin Cities that the amped-up Gophers football coach has gained a zealous following that does not appreciate belittlement of his quirks in either mainstream or social media.

More surprising, there still seems to be strong backing for men’s basketball coach Richard Pitino as he heads toward the meat of his sixth campaign in January with a 32-60 record in Big Ten regular seasons.

The men’s hockey followers received what they seemed to want this season, with the departure of Don Lucia and the hiring of Bob Motzko, the veteran coach who turned St. Cloud State into a potent program.

So, we’re optimistic about football (I’m hearing the Gophs won the Axe), and we still have faith in Pitino, and we have renewed hope with Motzko, and that begs the question:

Where is everybody?

Much focus has been put on former athletic director Norwood Teague’s accelerated “scholarship seating” fees for driving away longtime season-ticket holders.

Here’s what I didn’t get until some recent conversations at Williams Arena: Those fees also have had a harsh effect on impulse ticket buying because of wildly inflated single-game prices.

The athletic department doesn’t want a customer in the Barn with four season tickets paying an average of $70 because of fees to find out the person in the next seat got in for a reasonable single-game price of half that.

Meaning, the single-game tickets have been sent to the stratosphere by being prorated at a similar price to the fee-attached season tickets.

There are nine Big Ten men’s basketball home games left and five have prices between $55 to $90. The Wisconsin hockey series tickets are $50 to $70. The ticket prices were similarly outrageous for this fall’s Fleck-ball, even with tens of thousands of empty seats.

Deterrent A for Gophers ticket-buying is not competition in the sports market, too-busy lives or a negative perception of the programs. It’s the price for somebody to take his or her kid to one decent Big Ten game.

Question: Are you all nuts in the athletic administration thinking it’s a good idea to charge some of the highest single-game prices in the country?

http://www.startribune.com/steep-prices-keeping-fans-away-from-gophers-big-three/502856611/

Go Gophers!!
 

SelectionSunday

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Have always thought it amazing that Gopher season tickets are more expensive than Michigan State season tickets. How is that possible?
 

bleedsmaroonandgold

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Have always thought it amazing that Gopher season tickets are more expensive than Michigan State season tickets. How is that possible?
Mind numbing incompetence from Coyle and those under him. It feels like our athletics department is incapable of grasping the most fundamental economic realities and marketing principles.
 

Tim1406

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Have always thought it amazing that Gopher season tickets are more expensive than Michigan State season tickets. How is that possible?
Upper deck(decent view) big ten games at MSU can be gotten for $15 when it’s not sold out.(often is sold out)

Edit: prices were from 2 years ago I havn’t bought tickets to a MSU basketball game in nearly 2 years now.
 

Moonlight

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And this is at the root of people who complained about the USBank stadium game. If we didnt feel like we've become the patsy for the athletic department's needs and plans, it would have been welcomed.
 

TruPhan

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per Pat:

Question: Are you all nuts in the athletic administration thinking it’s a good idea to charge some of the highest single-game prices in the country?

Go Gophers!!
I would be very interested to see the averages in these sports at Power 5 schools. If we truly are in the top 10%, it is absolutely ridiculous and someone needs to be held responsible. I'm a big Gopher hoops fan, went to the U and have bee to 2 games in the last 5 years. The product on the floor simply hasn't justified the price in my opinion.
 

dpodoll68

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And this is at the root of people who complained about the USBank stadium game. If we didnt feel like we've become the patsy for the athletic department's needs and plans, it would have been welcomed.
So, what you wanted is for the Gophers to not participate in that game? You didn't answer when I posed this question previously.
 

Moonlight

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So, what you wanted is for the Gophers to not participate in that game? You didn't answer when I posed this question previously.
I realize that you didnt grasp what I was saying and I rarely take the time to explain myself further to someone clearly not actually interested in understanding, but looking for a fight. It's unlikely I'll be responding further, to you anyway, if what I write below doesnt satisfy your so-called 'curiosity'. Because, at the risk of sounding like our president, its a very dumb question, worded to bait and I generally have better things to do with my time.

So for the rest of the posters here; I attended the game. I willingly purchased tickets. What I want is for the University of Minnesota to not look at their season tickets holders as a bottomless well and the answer to their funding problems. You can't go to the well too many times without it going dry. They're careless with providing information at the ticket office, cheaper ever year with halftime 'entertainment'.
Reseating the barn means season ticket costs went up - and people I know couldn't continue. When you pony up more money for the same basic product, people ought to feel like they've been given something in return.
 

tjgopher

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Mind numbing incompetence from Coyle and those under him. It feels like our athletics department is incapable of grasping the most fundamental economic realities and marketing principles.
You realize this fiasco was implemented by Norwood Teague? Coyle is now left trying to clean up the mess.
 

dpodoll68

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I realize that you didnt grasp what I was saying and I rarely take the time to explain myself further to someone clearly not actually interested in understanding, but looking for a fight. It's unlikely I'll be responding further, to you anyway, if what I write below doesnt satisfy your so-called 'curiosity'. Because, at the risk of sounding like our president, its a very dumb question, worded to bait and I generally have better things to do with my time.

So for the rest of the posters here; I attended the game. I willingly purchased tickets. What I want is for the University of Minnesota to not look at their season tickets holders as a bottomless well and the answer to their funding problems. You can't go to the well too many times without it going dry. They're careless with providing information at the ticket office, cheaper ever year with halftime 'entertainment'.
Reseating the barn means season ticket costs went up - and people I know couldn't continue. When you pony up more money for the same basic product, people ought to feel like they've been given something in return.
And what does any of that have to do with the US Bank Stadium game?
 

bleedsmaroonandgold

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You realize this fiasco was implemented by Norwood Teague? Coyle is now left trying to clean up the mess.
Coyle's cleaning is not going well. Pricing is something that can be changed pretty quickly, so to the extent that is a problem, Coyle owns it. He could go back to pre Teague pricing if he wanted. Of course, one quick fix for fan relations would be for Coyle to stop lying to fans. Culture builds itself top down, so the department's general attitude toward customer service is also on him.
 

Holy Man

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Coyle's cleaning is not going well. Pricing is something that can be changed pretty quickly, so to the extent that is a problem, Coyle owns it. He could go back to pre Teague pricing if he wanted. Of course, one quick fix for fan relations would be for Coyle to stop lying to fans. Culture builds itself top down, so the department's general attitude toward customer service is also on him.
And has been an issue for at least 15 years. Whoever said the problem in the system is that service is either is one or ten of ten hit it on the head. At worst, the people answering the phone don't care (like whoever responded to Hodger in the email on tournament tickets), at best they are grossly ill prepared to answer easily anticipated questions. Whatever it is, it doesn't work well, and has left me lacking in confidence in the ticket office for years, and has burned more time than I care to admit following up and asking questions that it often takes multiple tries to get an answer, and even then I'm not sure it's accurate. Occasionally, someone will answer, and know he doesn't know and actually try to find an answer. Usually, they guess. That does seem to be a problem that could be resolved with a decent script and set of talking points to all the students who answer the phone, which should not be that hard.
 

bleedsmaroonandgold

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And has been an issue for at least 15 years. Whoever said the problem in the system is that service is either is one or ten of ten hit it on the head. At worst, the people answering the phone don't care (like whoever responded to Hodger in the email on tournament tickets), at best they are grossly ill prepared to answer easily anticipated questions. Whatever it is, it doesn't work well, and has left me lacking in confidence in the ticket office for years, and has burned more time than I care to admit following up and asking questions that it often takes multiple tries to get an answer, and even then I'm not sure it's accurate. Occasionally, someone will answer, and know he doesn't know and actually try to find an answer. Usually, they guess. That does seem to be a problem that could be resolved with a decent script and set of talking points to all the students who answer the phone, which should not be that hard.
I almost feel like the problem is over-scripting. They get micromanaged and if they are faced with a question or issue that doesn't align with the script, game over. Way back in high school, I was an usher for a minor league hockey team, and the way they treated the ushers was not very scripted, but they conveyed this culture of "every time you interact with a fan, that might be the interaction that decides whether they ever come back, so treat it as such."

That culture was contagious and organic. They would pay all the ushers an extra half hour of wages every game so we could have a meeting before doors opened. In that meeting, they would recognize anyone who a fan had specifically praised to one of the supervisors. They also would make sure we are up to date on information fans might want. "There is a new winger playing tonight, its John Doe's first game, he is wearing number 11, and he just got traded from team xyz, so make sure you pass that info along if you hear anyone asking about who the new guy is." Or "a new Mexican concession stand just opened behind section 112, so if any fans ask you where the burritos they keep seeing are coming from, direct them that way."

The outcome is we got creative, we didnt need a script. I'd socialize with the concession vendors before doors opened, that way if a fan spilled their soda, in addition to radioing for a mop, I could ask them what they were drinking and go get the concessions guy to refill it for them. If a fan was offput by a drunk fan who got ejected near them, I'd go find my supervisor and say "hey, this is what happened, and it rubbed them the wrong way, any chance we can hook them up with some free tickets or a tshirt or something?" The answer wouldn't always be yes, but the supervisor also would make sure I knew he appreciated me trying to wow a fan, and not be annoyed at me for asking or rocking the beat. One thing I knew for sure was that if a supervisor heard me tell a fan "i dont know" or "thats not my job" instead of "I'll find out" or "I'll connect you with the right person", I would have got my head bit off. Those things are super easy, but also very impactful for fans. If you have that kind of culture, the script doesn't matter, because staff will consistently make sure to do right by customers.
 

short ornery norwegian

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DP - I understand the issues with the US Bank game - neutral site - not controlled by the Gophers, etc.

So, short of not agreeing to play the game, the Gophers (I think) could have done a better job of getting in front of the issue. Be open and up-front about it. "hey, we wish we could make this part of the season-ticket package, but we're not allowed to for xxxxx reasons. We think it will be a great game, and we hope you will be able to attend. if you can't, we'll see you at the Barn for the next home game."

Most people will accept an apology, or an explanation, if it seems genuine and honest. The U of MN does not always meet that standard in its messaging and communications with its fans.
 

rmj

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I almost feel like the problem is over-scripting. They get micromanaged and if they are faced with a question or issue that doesn't align with the script, game over. Way back in high school, I was an usher for a minor league hockey team, and the way they treated the ushers was not very scripted, but they conveyed this culture of "every time you interact with a fan, that might be the interaction that decides whether they ever come back, so treat it as such."

That culture was contagious and organic. They would pay all the ushers an extra half hour of wages every game so we could have a meeting before doors opened. In that meeting, they would recognize anyone who a fan had specifically praised to one of the supervisors. They also would make sure we are up to date on information fans might want. "There is a new winger playing tonight, its John Doe's first game, he is wearing number 11, and he just got traded from team xyz, so make sure you pass that info along if you hear anyone asking about who the new guy is." Or "a new Mexican concession stand just opened behind section 112, so if any fans ask you where the burritos they keep seeing are coming from, direct them that way."

The outcome is we got creative, we didnt need a script. I'd socialize with the concession vendors before doors opened, that way if a fan spilled their soda, in addition to radioing for a mop, I could ask them what they were drinking and go get the concessions guy to refill it for them. If a fan was offput by a drunk fan who got ejected near them, I'd go find my supervisor and say "hey, this is what happened, and it rubbed them the wrong way, any chance we can hook them up with some free tickets or a tshirt or something?" The answer wouldn't always be yes, but the supervisor also would make sure I knew he appreciated me trying to wow a fan, and not be annoyed at me for asking or rocking the beat. One thing I knew for sure was that if a supervisor heard me tell a fan "i dont know" or "thats not my job" instead of "I'll find out" or "I'll connect you with the right person", I would have got my head bit off. Those things are super easy, but also very impactful for fans. If you have that kind of culture, the script doesn't matter, because staff will consistently make sure to do right by customers.
I work at Target Field as an usher and the culture there is like you described ushering minor league hockey. There is excellent communication and teamwork. The Twins give you the information you need to succeed and then largely let you do your job unless you need help.
 

bizzle22

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I almost feel like the problem is over-scripting. They get micromanaged and if they are faced with a question or issue that doesn't align with the script, game over. Way back in high school, I was an usher for a minor league hockey team, and the way they treated the ushers was not very scripted, but they conveyed this culture of "every time you interact with a fan, that might be the interaction that decides whether they ever come back, so treat it as such."

That culture was contagious and organic. They would pay all the ushers an extra half hour of wages every game so we could have a meeting before doors opened. In that meeting, they would recognize anyone who a fan had specifically praised to one of the supervisors. They also would make sure we are up to date on information fans might want. "There is a new winger playing tonight, its John Doe's first game, he is wearing number 11, and he just got traded from team xyz, so make sure you pass that info along if you hear anyone asking about who the new guy is." Or "a new Mexican concession stand just opened behind section 112, so if any fans ask you where the burritos they keep seeing are coming from, direct them that way."

The outcome is we got creative, we didnt need a script. I'd socialize with the concession vendors before doors opened, that way if a fan spilled their soda, in addition to radioing for a mop, I could ask them what they were drinking and go get the concessions guy to refill it for them. If a fan was offput by a drunk fan who got ejected near them, I'd go find my supervisor and say "hey, this is what happened, and it rubbed them the wrong way, any chance we can hook them up with some free tickets or a tshirt or something?" The answer wouldn't always be yes, but the supervisor also would make sure I knew he appreciated me trying to wow a fan, and not be annoyed at me for asking or rocking the beat. One thing I knew for sure was that if a supervisor heard me tell a fan "i dont know" or "thats not my job" instead of "I'll find out" or "I'll connect you with the right person", I would have got my head bit off. Those things are super easy, but also very impactful for fans. If you have that kind of culture, the script doesn't matter, because staff will consistently make sure to do right by customers.
Makes me think of the Nebraska game when my dad was trying to find an ATM. He asked three different ushers where it was. The first two said they didn't know. The third one was on his little radio for like 2 minutes trying to figure it out before he asked another usher near him. They eventually sent us to the right place, but I was really surprised it took that much just to get someone to tell us where an ATM was.
 

Moonlight

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DP - I understand the issues with the US Bank game - neutral site - not controlled by the Gophers, etc.

So, short of not agreeing to play the game, the Gophers (I think) could have done a better job of getting in front of the issue. Be open and up-front about it. "hey, we wish we could make this part of the season-ticket package, but we're not allowed to for xxxxx reasons. We think it will be a great game, and we hope you will be able to attend. if you can't, we'll see you at the Barn for the next home game."

Most people will accept an apology, or an explanation, if it seems genuine and honest. The U of MN does not always meet that standard in its messaging and communications with its fans.
Right. Or a very simple thing like - 'bring you US Bank ticket stub for a free soda at the Barn'. Cost really nothing but acknowledges loyalty.
 
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