7/11/2015 update: Matt Prehm has an interview with Duck spokesperson Craig Pintens on basketball tickets, here:
The Ducks averaged just 6,209 fans per home game during the 2014-15 season, ranking seventh in the Pac-12. It was the lowest figure since 1992 when an average of 5,819 fans attended games at McArthur Court.
… The Athletic Department operates on zero funding from the University of Oregon [Yeah, sure it does], and so every penny can sometimes count. That’s why when Oregon decided to slash prices across the board – a 34-percent slash on average – was such a difficult decision.
The Athletic Department is reporting a near 90-percent season ticket renewal rate from last season, and while that’s well above the 80-percent renewal norm for the basketball team, it’s still a huge financial hit with the slashed prices.
… With a better marketing plan of the program, ticket costs slashed, and a better non-conference schedule Oregon is seeing early returns pay off.
No, actually this isn’t paying off. I’m no economist, but if you cut prices 34% and sales only increase by 10 points on a base of 80 – lets call that 13% – total revenue will drop. As it did. And as explained below the basketball program is now losing millions – even if you ignore the sunk costs of the $13.5M Knight Arena bond payments.
And it seems that they are prepared to lose more millions to avoid the embarrassment of having the country’s most expensive college arena sit half empty. Meanwhile, the millions in hidden subsidies from the academic continue – including the $450K we pay athletics each year for the Knight Arena land.
Meanwhile Coach Altman has also succeeded in driving away the UO student fans:
… Based on numbers given to me by [Duck PR flack Craig Pintens], the average student attendance for this season was 989 per game. Last season, they were 1,539. In 2012, it was 1,541. In 2011, it was 1,574.
5/15/2015: UO could save $3M a year by shutting down basketball, mothballing Knight Arena