Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

Huskies Bailout Program Misguided

Washington Huskies
Washington Huskies

Last week, the University of Washington booster program announced a bailout program of sorts, where fans could donate to season ticket holders who, because of the economic environment, couldn’t pay for Huskies football games.

Under the “Dawgs Supporting Dawgs” program, boosters can donate two seats for $500 or four seats for $1,000.

The athletic department is supporting the effort and is trying to make this about the economy, but I assure you, it is not.

It’s about not having the right price for the product, which is a bad one.

The bottom line is some people can’t afford to go to University of Washington games because, to say the least, the experience isn’t good.

In 2002, Rick Neuheisel’slast year, season ticket sales were at 55,000. Since then, the Huskies have gone 18-54, including 0-12 last season, which has resulted in the current season ticket count of about 40,000 this year, according to the Seattle Times.

Did anyone in the athletic department ever think that season ticket holders shouldn’t be paying $33 to $65 per game for seats?

Did anyone in the athletic department walk outside the stadium last year before the games? I'm told it was pretty easy to get your whole season worth of tickets for under $100.

What this program fails to take into account is the fact that price is subjective. Price is based on value. And the number one factor in value is winning percentage.

It’s why Michigan Stateis probably justified in raising ticket prices this year even though the state of Michigan is reeling a whole lot more than the state of Washington is. Keep in mind, the Spartans have won 16 games in the past two seasons.

On the surface, this is a great PR campaign. It shows that the fan is really cared about. Unfortunately, it ignores the truth. And that is that no superfan can’t afford to go to games because of the economy. Some can’t go to games at the price the school is charging because it’s not worth it.

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