Friday, April 6, 2012

Hot Topics: Should The Spring Game Sell Tickets?

Each week, our writers break down a "Hot Topic" among the Michigan fans and allow them to express their opinions. Topics cover everything from rivalry games to team and fan apparel. Writers have their own opinion and readers are welcome to comment or contact them via Twitter with their thoughts.

Kyle Curtiss - Representing Those That Believe The Spring Game Should Not Sell Tickets

1)  Spring games will never attract the attention that the fall games do. I know it's not meant to, and the Big House is rarely full. People know about it in advance, and even show up to watch some alumni scrimmage beforehand. This year, the novelty of watching our new varsity lacrosse team play Ohio in the Big House after the Spring game is just plain neat. I know I could use more descriptive words than neat, but hey- it is. It's a cheap way to bring in fans who otherwise can't afford it. Why should I have to pay for this? Which brings me to my most vital point--

2)  Michigan earns millions in sports revenue! From ticket sales, concessions, memorabilia, clothing, accessories, etc...they do not need another avenue to collect money. Here's this--ticket prices are being increased by an average of 21 percent this year to help out the debt from the expansions and improvements on the stadium, scoreboards, and Crisler Arena. We have the THIRD largest athletic budget in the country, and yes that has inflated in recent years just like everything else (looking at you gas stations). Granted, the football program generates two-thirds of that, with basketball and hockey behind. Those are the only 3 sports that generates revenue for Michigan, and even hockey isn't that great at it. Why mess up such a fun thing for fans? Free Spring game = more fans = more fans who will pay those ticket prices come September.

Thomas Beindit - Representing Those That Believe The Spring Game Should Sell Tickets

1)  If you've ever went to a spring game I'm sure you've noticed that only about half of the stadium is actually filled.  Now, we all know that getting fans out to watch the Spring Game is an uphill battle, but selling tickets could be an effective way to ensure people come out to the game.  I'm not saying have detailed seat numbers for each ticket, but at least having a physical ticket could spread awareness of the game.  If the athletic department allowed football, basketball, and hockey ticket purchasers to buy a spring game ticket for just $5, they would probably have thousands more people realize that the spring game even exists.  Plus, all the money could go towards donations, which would raise a lot of money since many of the ticket purchasers would ultiately not wind up going to the game.

2) Tickets can also be an effective psychological tool (see Mom, I told you my psych degree would come in use one day!) to ensure that people not only remember the game, but also to get them to actually attend.  The person will have already invested in attending the game, which will give them an incentive to remember and actually show up in Ann Arbor.  Even if something is cheap or free, people will be much more likely to show up to the game.  Having more fans at the game obviously makes the atmosphere better and ultimately can lead to more donations for both Mott's Children's Hospital and the University of Michigan.  Along with this, having more people means more business for the community and refreshment sales for Michigan Stadium.


Final Points

Kyle - Bottom line--people would pay for the spring game. It's natural. Only 5-10 dollars for this? Your regular John and Jane Doe will gladly fork that over, even if it all goes to charity. But we remain tied to tradition, to ourselves, and to our families. Bo wanted that. Bo stuck with tradition and look how revered he will always be. It's about being Michigan Men, and that's not just left to the players. We as fans need to stick with tradition and not charge for a fun scrimmage. Besides, saying I was able to see a Denard touchdown for free is a great brag to have.

Thomas -The Spring Game will probably never reach the capacity of a fall football game, even if college teams scrimmaged one another.  However, selling tickets can be an effective tool to guarantee a certain amount of revenue, while increasing attention for the event.  If it remains free to the public, people are going to generally assume it's not worth attending.  It' just human psychology.  Plus, is selling tickets for $5-10 really that bad?  If fans are really in that bad of a financial situation, I don't think they could afford driving to Ann Arbor, likely tailgating or getting food, and perhaps buying a soveneir or two.  I'm not advocating the athletic department keep any of this money.  In fact, I'd like to see it remain with Mott's Children's Hospital.  I just think it's a great way to get the word out and collect from a multitude of fans that may not otherwise appear at the game.  Think about if all the football, basketball, and hockey season ticket holders alone purchased a ticket?  You'd probably surpass what the Spring Game got last year on that alone.


All writers are entitled to their own opinion and those may or may not represent the held beliefs of Hoke's Mad Magicians as an entity.  Readers are welcome to comment below or contact the writers via Twitter with their thoughts

Photo Credit: Detroit News

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