Archive for Friday, January 9, 2009

Just too much

The BCS football championship game this week gives us ample evidence of why sports events may soon be struggling like the rest of the country.

January 9, 2009

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Many Americans are understandably displeased at the way organizers of various athletic events, professional and “amateur,” force the public to pay so dearly to be mere spectators. The economy has countless needs for funding and yet sports events too often seem oblivious to the challenges so many face.

A perfect case in point was the 2009 BCS Championship Football Game in Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Thursday.

Just before kickoff time for the game between Florida and Oklahoma, tickets in the farthest corner of the upper deck were going for $550. Some scalpers were getting even more than that. Other seats, such as those high above the 50-yard line, in the club seating region and the lower bowl were ranging from $600 to $2,500 each.

Then consider this: A 14-seat luxury suite that included three parking passes and a $1,500 food credit was available for $6,706.

Who is trying to impress whom, and why? The most delightful aspect of all this is that the “poor” people who chose to watch the game on television saw it better and in more depth than the high-rollers, no matter what they tell us.

It will be interesting to see just how such excesses are continued with the nation struggling financially and so many companies failing and people losing jobs. What about the coming professional Super Bowl? For years there has been great publicity about 30-second advertising spots costing as much as

$1 million each. It is difficult to believe there are many companies that will leap at the chance to blow that kind of funding this year.

Already the U.S. Olympic Committee is losing previously well-heeled sponsors. That is bound to carry over to other athletic events, and reports on spending for BCS football activity likely will hasten such withdrawals. How soon will it affect runaway expenses and salaries in college sports?

For years, taxpayers in host communities have been forced to help build huge athletic facilities that have ticket prices the common citizen cannot afford. The time may be near when that kind of manipulation by sports promoters will be seriously altered, for the better.

Comments

grimpeur 6 years, 4 months ago

Heh. Check out the "AD's salary" item in the "most-discussed" sidebar at the right. Poetic.Look, LJW, how bout you try not to sabotage the impending excess--I mean, improvements to the high-school...I mean, KU stadium with these doom-saying columns, 'kay? We need to make sure that the freeloaders on the hill are put in their place. And we need to keep up with Texas in the overblown athletic facilities race. Next, you'll be suggesting that KU start collecting rent--for the stadium, the parking lots on campus, the police, Allen Field House, and, of course, the KU logo--from that totally separate corporate entity called Kansas Athletics, Inc.The excess is in your own backyard. And there's no sign of it being reined in any time soon, as long as they keep passing out contrived awards and obscene rewards simply for feathering one's own nest. Of course, on the bright side, it's nice to know that KAI is so flush that there will surely, surely be no ticket price increases needed over the next decade. Now that would be a slap in the face of the average fan. Not that that average fan, his face still stinging, would notice another one.

Bruce Bertsch 6 years, 4 months ago

Hate to break the news grim, but KU athletics, Inc., funds about 1/3 of the parking budget at KU due to (gasp) rent paid for the parking lots. They also get to pay rent for their space, phones, network connections, etc.

grammaddy 6 years, 4 months ago

We stopped going to K.U. football games when they closed the "horseshoe" and put in the big tv. We used to love watching the games from the hill but they cut off our view.

repaste 6 years, 4 months ago

Blocking the hill, kicking red dog out, 2nd highest paid AD, and you get an Allen field house with empty seats and a subdued crowd. Folks who can afford seats don't always make it, and they are not as enthused. Oh well.

Raider 6 years, 4 months ago

"We stopped going to K.U. football games when they closed the “horseshoe” and put in the big tv. We used to love watching the games from the hill but they cut off our view."So basically you never paid to go anyway, and you got ticked off and started boycotting them when they took away your free ride. Typical.

RedwoodCoast 6 years, 4 months ago

I know a good solution to this problem, and I practice it all the time... I don't give a crap about athletics.

Cait McKnelly 6 years, 4 months ago

I don't either Redwood. I could give a rats patootie about professional athletics (and don't be fooled, college athletics is professional athletics). With the economy going down the drain maybe, just maybe, the day of "bread and circuses" is over.

riverdrifter 6 years, 4 months ago

Those numbers for tickets to yesterday's BCS championship game are chump change compared to the Super Bowl, the end-all-be-all example of wretched excess. $2000 gets you a pigeon seat in the end zone -maybe. Heck, two years ago for a hundred bucks I got a Thursday badge to the Masters at Augusta. Worth it!

notajayhawk 6 years, 4 months ago

cait48 (Anonymous) says… "With the economy going down the drain maybe, just maybe, the day of “bread and circuses” is over."History wasn't much higher on your list than athletics, was it, cait?The phrase "bread and circuses" refers to the Roman hierarchy giving the people free food and entertainment - keeping the poor happy so they wouldn't cause too many problems. The more poor people there were, the more important "bread and circuses" became. It appears the O'president has no intention of cutting back on the "bread" part. And even though, as the editorial and previous comments correctly state, the average person can't afford to go to the "circuses," the government is handing out coupons for convertor boxes to make sure the masses will still be able to catch them on TV (in digital).***As for the article, sure sounds like sour grapes from a JW editor who couldn't get corporate sponsorship to attend the game."The most delightful aspect of all this is that the “poor” people who chose to watch the game on television saw it better and in more depth than the high-rollers, no matter what they tell us."Watching any sporting event on TV is always better, if you want to watch the game. Attending in person something like the Super Bowl, the Final Four, the Kentucky Derby, etc., is an event, a happening, that's why people pay thousands for the tickets."It is difficult to believe there are many companies that will leap at the chance to blow that kind of funding this year."I'm assuming (and sincerely hoping) the LJW editor who wrote this isn't involved in the business end of the paper. Spending money on advertising isn't 'blowing that kind of funding,' it's a normal and apprpriate business expense. I often wonder why anyone 'blows' money to put the ads we all ignore in the sideboards of this website, but trust me, oh great and wise LJW editor, Anheuser-Busch wouldn't spend several million on Super Bowl advertising if it didn't increase sales enough to recoup that money in increased profits.

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