Convince me the SEZ is a Good Investment (Long & Numbery)

Discussion in 'Football' started by hawkfan, May 16, 2014.

  1. hawkfan

    hawkfan Well-Known Member

    Feb 18, 2009
    Jamie Pollard's job is to raise the level of football success in Ames - if he doesn't do that, he's doing a disservice to the university. In that context, I kind of understand where the SEZ expansion is coming from, but IMO, if he has $60M to invest in the football program, he's investing it in the wrong place, just based on the last 10 years worth of attendance data:

    Year Attendance
    2013: 55,361
    2012: 55,274
    2011: 53,647
    2010: 45,395
    2009: 46,242
    2008: 47,429
    2007: 49,462
    2006: 46,171
    2005: 46,705
    2004: 44,822
    2003: 41,518

    So that is a 10 year attendance average of 48,366 - that's 88% of the current stadium capacity & 79% of the projected eventual capacity of 61,000. Generally, the only sound reason to increase capacity is a clear need for more capacity - is there a clear need for more capacity?

    2011-2013 had great ticket sales - but there is certainly a logical reason season ticket sales increased: back to back bowl games in 2011/2012 as well as unprecedented media exposure after the win over a top 5 Oklahoma State team in 2011 (Biggest win in program history, right? That's going to lead to a big spike in season tickets, especially at the current low cost). Has any ISU football related clip got played more times in the national sports media than that OSU game and the ensuing Rhoad's "I'm so proud" speech? That game alone sold a lot of tickets from 2011-2013.

    Pollard is going forward with this expansion without even seeing how a few down years (which, historically, are going to happen at ISU) affect the attendance - I'll gladly wager that the attendance average will be below 55,000 in 2014 if the season goes as expected. It's easy to sell season tickets when you have a couple of bowl games and a win over a top five program in your recent past, it's much more difficult coming off no bowl game and a losing season. Winning sells tickets, nothing else will.

    In addition to the challenge of fielding a bowl team most seasons to maintain sellouts, ISU also will have to contend with increased ticket prices, which will inevitably lead to lower attendance. ISU is taking $100 hillside season tickets away and replacing them with (what will likely be) $300-$500 season tickets. What are the odds that a family of four who spent $400 in 2014 for hillside season tickets is going to ante up and buy season tickets @ $1,200? Some will, but I am certain not all will, which will lead to a decrease in attendance. And I'm not even going to speculate how much the current season tickets are going to go up after the renovation is complete - but it would be naive to think the prices will remain static given a $60M investment in Jack Trice.

    Add to the above that ISU's 2014 season likely ends up with a regular season record of 3-9 +/- a game - unless Mangino is an absolute miracle worker - and that will make it really difficult selling season tickets at an increased cost going into 2015. This spring is the first time I'm hearing casual ISU fans say "Rhoad's better win this year or else..." - and that's before a potential rough year in 2014.

    To me, it seems like the stadium expansion is a want, not a need - Pollard is putting the cart before the horse. There is really only one way an increased stadium capacity is a need: if ISU continues to win. Recruits win games - if ISU has $60M available for football - build some badass practice facilities or something that will really help you get recruits to campus - I don't think empty seats will get recruits to come to ISU.

    What has changed so much from 2010 (where attendance was 45K) that Pollard thinks selling 61,000 seats consistently (likely at a higher cost where you are pricing out the current hillside season ticket holders) won't be a problem at ISU? The attendance spike has been impressive for ISU, but if I'm making a $60M investment, I'm waiting to see if that fan support is at least somewhat constant in a down year before pulling the trigger on this renovation. It seems to me like this renovation has the possibility of making ISU football look less "big time" when the 10 year average remains a constant and the stadium is 21% empty.
  2. hawkfan

    hawkfan Well-Known Member

    Feb 18, 2009
    I should also note, Al_4_State and I had a discussion about this on another message board – he claimed that the recent surge in alumni in the Des Moines area are what will support this expansion, which makes no sense to me at all – in 15 or 20 years, maybe that’s a valid point, but wealthy alumnus are the ones buying season tickets, not college kids with debt (or at least I couldn’t afford them when I left college), so I’m not sure that makes sense.

    If you’re trying to capitalize on that, wait for 10 or 20 years when that demographic is in a good position financially to spend money on the season tickets.
  3. CysRage

    CysRage Well-Known Member

    Oct 18, 2009
    Cedar Rapids, IA
  4. jdoggivjc

    jdoggivjc Well-Known Member

    Sep 27, 2006
    Publications Manager
    Macomb, MI
    You're a Hawk fan. I could give you every reason in the world why this is a good thing for ISU, but at the end of the conversation nothing will convince you this is a good thing BECAUSE it's a good thing for ISU.
  5. MNclone

    MNclone Well-Known Member

    Apr 10, 2006
    Production Engineer
    Burnsville, MN
    I track manufacturing capacities as a part of my job. If you simply look at a ten year average you are doing it very wrong. I understand that this isn't exactly the same, but you are still wrong in your logic. Go plot those ten years and also a trend line on them and let me know what you think.
  6. 1100011CS

    1100011CS Well-Known Member

    Oct 5, 2007
    Fortunately, we don't have to convince you. Worry about how the UofI is spending their money.
  7. ruxCYtable

    ruxCYtable Well-Known Member

    Aug 29, 2007
    You're a Hawk fan so I don't know why I'm bothering to respond but I will.

    It's important for more reasons than money. Will it be filled to capacity every week? Probably not, at least yet. The stadium in its current configuration just isn't legit enough for a BCS school. Plain and simple. You can't have recruits walking in and seeing the amazing practice facility and possibly the best weight facility in the country only to be disappointed by the stadium. That won't happen anymore.

    There are a multitude of other non-financial reasons but these are what pop out to me.

    I have a question for you: Why do you even care? I don't give a rat's *** what the Hawks do.
  8. IcSyU

    IcSyU Well-Known Member

    Nov 27, 2007
    Rochester, MN
    You don't build stadiums for just enough seats for most games. You build stadiums to the reasonable max capacity. The early season games will have attendance in excess of 60,000 every year. The games with iffy weather at the end of the year are going to probably increase in attendance because there aren't as many hillside tickets. A real seat in the stadium > a hillside ticket.

    There will still be hillside seats as well, and I'd bet every season ticket holder currently will have options on season tickets going forward with the same budget. The current endzone seats will probably be shifted such that the cheapest seats are in the upper corners. $175 or whatever the endzone tickets may get you a corner seat instead of a 3rd row seat.

    Bottom line is hillsides are cut down and actual seats are going in. That alone is a win for Iowa State.

    Is 56,800 sold out seats at an average of $100 per ticket better than 58,000 sold tickets with 3,000 empty seats at the same $100? Even if the ticket price falls to a revenue break-even point with the 56,800 you're still better off. More people buying concessions, merchandise, and more chances to pick up a future season ticket holder.
  9. Tailg8er

    Tailg8er Well-Known Member

    Feb 25, 2011
    First, I don't think using the last 10 year average is as applicable to using say the last 3 years. This program is nowhere NEAR where it was 10 years ago.

    Second, there was a damn large donation especially earmarked for this project.

    & lastly, the increased capacity is just a small part of this expansion. It will be a gateway to the university. I guarantee the stadium being bowled in with more of a big time feel will have a positive impact on recruiting.
  10. JohnnyFive

    JohnnyFive Well-Known Member

    Feb 25, 2012
    No, I will not
  11. JBone84

    JBone84 Well-Known Member

    Nov 30, 2006
    Mechanical Engineer
    Rochester, MN
    OP is full of illogical assumptions and general idiocy.
  12. Die4Cy

    Die4Cy Well-Known Member

    Jan 2, 2010
    Why would a ten year average be the relevant statistic? Look at the trendline. The last three years ISU has been well over capacity in attendance, which, even if you completely discount the recruiting and income potential of the build, shows that there are enough fans to fill these seats already.

    Really, the only question about the expansion is price point management--finding the mix of packages that maximizes revenue potential.
  13. Stormin

    Stormin Well-Known Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    First of all, you need to understand that the South End Zone being expanded has been talked about for a long, long time. In fact, former Athletic Director Gene Smith laid out the case for expansion about 15 years ago. And that was when Iowa State was only drawing 40,000 plus per game.

    Right now Iowa State is consistently selling out the stadium at over 100% of the capacity. So there is demand for seats. In most seasons Iowa State will easily sell out the 61,000 seats or come very close to it for about half the games on the ISU schedule. That increases revenue. Increased revenue is good for ISU.

    Secondly, bowling in the endzone and adding another big video scoreboard will enhance the already great ISU football gameday experience. Plus it will cut down the wind tunnel effects of the open south end now. So it will be great for fans.

    Improving the facilities and the stadium has a positive effect on recruiting. There is a lot of excitement amongst recruits about the improvements being made at Iowa State. Iowa State will have the 3rd largest stadium in the Big 12. And the Cyclone fans will fill it. There will still be cheap seats on the North Hillsides. And I expect there will be season tickets in the $175 range in the wedge areas of the expansion on the south. Look at what season tickets cost other places.

    The Reiman Family has given a $25 million donation to get this project started. That is almost half of the projected costs of the End Zone Expansion.

    The excitement of the expansion will help drive ticket sales for the coming year or two. Plus the expected improvement in the team will help also. Waiting would be a foolish thing to do. The time is ripe for expansion of the base right now. The ISU basketball team is enjoying great success. And the football team is poised for future success as well.

    The thinking that ISU needs to maintain the hillsides and not expand is the type of thinking that will doom Iowa State and bring back the days of Hot Tubs in the end zones.

    You need to worry about Hawkeye basketball and the collapse they had. Carver Hawkeye will only be able to filled with the 4 tickets, 4 Cokes, 4 Hotdogs for $20 special.
  14. IowaStateClones

    IowaStateClones Well-Known Member

    Dec 7, 2009
    First, convince me that you are not a *********
  15. MaccloNe

    MaccloNe Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    #15 MaccloNe, May 16, 2014
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
    Why does Iowa invest in a spitting lunatic that recruits midlevel gingers?
  16. MaccloNe

    MaccloNe Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    Please rename to long and stupid.
  17. CtownCyclone

    CtownCyclone Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2010
    Project Engineer
    Where they love the governor
    Let's not be so hasty to put a damper on End Zone Hot Tubs...
  18. wartknight

    wartknight Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2006
    Maybe to someone who just looks at that number, but there are other numbers at play.
    You can get an ISU Season ticket for $175. That is not out of line for someone just out of college to be spending on their entertainment budget at all. ISU's first bowl game in a long time was 2000. The generation that saw that happen is now in their 30s and has a much higher interest in ISU athletics in general than those that were in school for the 20 years before them. I know the term "This isn't your father's ISU" is used by some to talk about how the team is more competitive now, but to me that also means I'm not driving to the game to get there 10 mins before with 25000 other people at the game. The atmosphere on gameday around Ames is so much different than it was when I was a kid sitting wherever I wanted in the stadium.
    The surge in attendance is only partly due to actually having a competitive football team and moreso, IMO, to the seeds that have been planted over the last 15 years.
  19. Stormin

    Stormin Well-Known Member

    Apr 11, 2006
    The perfect place for the hot tubs is on the patio area of the Jake overlooking the North End Zone.
  20. CapnCy

    CapnCy Well-Known Member

    Jul 6, 2010
    This post got me would actually be a very fascinating research study for someone smarter than me to'd have to be in depth, but look at statistics of attendance, success, recruiting, facilities, coaching salaries, etc (again, lots of data points trying to find correlation between it all. And, likely, it wouldn't be conclusive because there are SO many variables. But, in theory, we COULD take that 25 million and go to Nick Saban and say "we'll give you a 3 year, 8 million a year contract" and would that be a better long term investment?

    As you all know, unfortunately, it is an arms race. How many times to uniform threads pop up? has NOTHING to do with success on the field. And, for every recruit we may lose because of our single uniform, do we pick up one if we keep Yancy and his staff/facility fully stocked?

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