Here’s a bit from Athletic Department Director Rob Mullen’s July 2012 planning document, full pdf here. Price elasticity is the top threat to Duck Athletics, followed by the NCAA, and Professors Harbaugh and Tublitz:
RG sports reporter Steve Mims reported on the elasticity threat w.r.s.t. Dana Altman’s basketball team back in March, here:
Oregon lowered ticket prices by more 34 percent this year, including a $500 reduction in the lower half of the 100 level, and added single-game tickets for $10. Oregon also provided free shuttles to games and offered season parking passes for $50 to $100.
Oregon is averaging 6,770 fans this season, which is up from 6,209 last year. The difference is even wider in conference games, with an average of 8,098 following 7,131 last season. (But for today’s Utah conference game announced attendance is only 6,807.)
A 34% cut in the price, and, using the midpoint method, an increase in the Qd of (6770-6209)/((1/2)(6770+6209)) = 8.6%. So the elasticity of demand is about 0.25. You don’t have to have passed microeconomic principles to understand that this price cut is going to reduce ticket revenue below last year’s dismal $2.6M. And rumor has it that AAD Eric Roedl has realized he can’t squeeze ASUO for more student money either.
The Oregonian’s Tyson Alger has a new story here. Duck PR Flack Craig Pintens is now reporting larger attendance numbers – but still not large enough to offset the loss from the lower prices. So this year’s basketball revenue will take another hit:
Oregon’s 2014-15 attendance was the worst in Matthew Knight Arena history and the lowest overall numbers for Oregon since 1992. It was a 20 percent decline from the prior season and well below the arena-high 8,018 fans per game posted in the 2010-11 season, the first year Matthew Knight Arena opened.
In response to an Oregonian/OregonLive article this winter detailing Oregon’s falling attendance, fans outlined reasons they stayed away last season. Parking, availability of games on TV and the fallout from the previous summer’s sexual assault accusations were recurring themes.
Oregon responded to the poor 2014-15 numbers by dropping ticket prices, creating new ticket promotions and generally bettering the fan experience inside the arena.
And the numbers returned to normal — with the help of a terrific on-the-court product put on by the Dana Altman-led team.
It was a nice bounce-back year, Pintens said. But it’s not good enough. Not yet.
“The goal was to fill up Matthew Knight Arena,” he said. “And until we do that, we’re not quite there.”
Fill it up at any price? That’s going to require Dana Altman paying our students to show up and watch him coach. Of course Altman’s got the money – at least until his players figure out how to break the NCAA cartel and get their cut.