Radakovich Q&A, part II

Greetings-

Hope you’re well. Forthwith, more questions that either were omitted or abridged from an interview I did with Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich a couple weeks ago, linked here. Most of these questions are about football ticket sales.

Q: For a family of four to buy single-game tickets to one of the ACC games, it would cost minimum $200. Does that seem like a reasonable cost?

A: I think we look at our peers and we’re not out of line with our peers. To run an athletic program where you’re a tub on your own bottom, that you need to generate the revenue to create everything here, those seven Satudays this year, or six in previous years, are really the main economic engines that we have to run the entire program.

We have other events that are free or nearly free – softball, volleyball, baseball, women’s basketball. We have a lot of really good team events that are here on campus that people can come and enjoy for a greatly reduced price. Football is the one that we need to be able to create the revenue to allow all of those other things to occur.

My two cents: I acknowledge the point – that the pricing is in line with the market – but I guess I’d say that the market’s prices are expensive, also. The other thing is that, while the prices may be competitive with the cost of Braves or Falcons tickets, the Braves and Falcons have large followings of fans who aren’t season-ticket holders, where Tech obviously hasn’t had that.

Obviously, it’s a balancing act. Tickets have to be expensive enough to create revenue, even if it means sales volume isn’t as high as you’d like. But, as Tech has found over the years, it will probably mean failing to sell out unless the team becomes consistently strong.

Q: Do you feel like you’ve reached a point within the alumni base that you can’t sell more season tickets?

A: Yes and no, because we continue to graduate more people than we ever have before and many of them, we hope, are settling in the Atlanta area. One of the reasons why it’s so important to continue to have great relationships with students is that very soon those students are going to be alumni. We want them to have a great time as students and then we want them to come back as part of the general fan base.

There’s a great deal of passion associated with Georgia Tech and we want to make sure that as our alumni base continues to grow, we increase that footprint like I talked about earlier. But we also want to make sure that our students that are here right now understand that athletics is a great differentiator in their collegiate experience. Without athletics, Georgia Tech would be a very different institution and maybe not one that those students would have wanted to attend.

My two cents: It’s a hopeful way of looking at the challenge and perhaps one that will in time bear itself out, particularly if the Paul Johnson era goes the way many anticipate. However, it doesn’t appear that the school’s increasing enrollment has made a noticeable impact on season ticket sales to this point, unless new alumni are replacing fans who are giving up their tickets.

Q: What’s your opinion on the proposals to pay scholarship athletes a “cost of attendance” stipend?

A: I think that scholarship student-athletes, certainly, they get a lot of benefits being scholarship student-athletes. Some of them, because of their economic circumstance, receive additional dollars through federal Pell grants. To just say all scholarship student-athletes should get paid is a very broad statement and doesn’t really get into individual circumstances.

There’s some scholarship student-athletes that come from backgrounds where they don’t need to get paid. So it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. I think it’s good to have the debate and good to talk about, but the idea of moving the scholarship calculation from the cost of tuition, feess, room, board and books to then include the cost of attendance at a particular school has some problems with it.

Because right now, the various costs of attendance figures at schools are very different. You could have one school that adds an additional $5,000 because of their location and another school might have $2,000 within that number.

If someone is looking at just, ‘Where am I going to make the maximum amount of money?’ they would be moving towards the school with the $5,000 cost of attendance.

I think each school very thoughtfully does that because there are other scholarhips that are given academically or whatever around college campuses that do include the cost of attendance. So by just willy-nilly increasing that (cost of attendance) number is going to have a lot of affect on other parts of campus who are giving scholarships to other individuals. So it’s really hard. It’s a nice soundbite, but I think there’s a lot more debate that has to go forward before we get to that point.

My two cents: I’m kind of with Radakovich on this one. There’s a lot to wade through. I also wonder about the rationale of the proposal. If the idea is to let student-athletes share in the wealth that they’re helping create, that makes some sense (although the truth is not many schools, Tech included, could handle the extra cost). However, if the people proposing the stipends think it’s going to make street agents or shady boosters go away, they’re bananas.

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82 comments Add your comment

Jacket Backer

June 22nd, 2011
8:26 am

Good stuff Ken…..

Go Jackets!

Casual observer

June 22nd, 2011
8:38 am

Nice interview Ken.

Casual observer

June 22nd, 2011
8:39 am

And now, we await comments from moron dawg fans.

GT-'93

June 22nd, 2011
8:40 am

Sign better talent.
Win more games.
Sell more tickets.

It’s not rocket science.

Casual observer

June 22nd, 2011
8:41 am

It was certainly before Dan’s time, but he might want to find a way to reach out to the fans Dave Braine gave the shaft to and threw out of the east stands.

Big Macon Dawg

June 22nd, 2011
8:42 am

Tech football is a joke, and will be largely ignorned by the media this year, and overshadowed by UGA’s run for the National Championship.

14-0 baby!

Gooooo DAWWWWGS!

Greg

June 22nd, 2011
8:46 am

Man it must really suck to live in Macon.

Tech Fan

June 22nd, 2011
8:51 am

And there you have it Casual Observer……

juvenal

June 22nd, 2011
8:57 am

14 daaug players arrested, 0 thrown off team……

Lunch Money NOW, Nerds!

June 22nd, 2011
9:00 am

Wait, so tech is having trouble selling football tickets to see the mighty honey bees?

Don’t look now, but Georgia State football will surpass you in attendance by 2015 when they join the Big East. Sad, really.

At least then there will finally be a college football team in Atlanta more than once every two years.

Moobs Johnson

June 22nd, 2011
9:16 am

$200 for a family of four??? What happened to the ticket+coke+hot dog promotion?????

MatthewH

June 22nd, 2011
9:17 am

Maybe I’m not smart, but what does “where you’re a tub on your own bottom” mean? It is in the second line of his first answer.

Moobs Johnson

June 22nd, 2011
9:18 am

Tech must try really hard to not sell out your hig school sized stadium in the middle of the largest city in the college football loving south.

dawgmatic

June 22nd, 2011
9:23 am

More importantly, what happened to Dress-Up-As-A-Star-Wars-Character Night? It was always a sell out, but the nerds spent more time arguing over who was stronger in the “force” than watching the honey bees get destroyed or eyeballing those hideous tech cheerleaders. In other news, tech is negotiating with Coca-Cola to trademark “Joke By Coke,” but Dawgs fans deserve some royalties for that one, right, nerds?

Ken Sugiura

June 22nd, 2011
9:35 am

MatthewH – i should have explained that. it means to cover your expenses with your own revenues, i.e., be self-sufficient.

Ken Sugiura

June 22nd, 2011
9:36 am

dawgmatic – you’re welcome to post, but, come on, please be a little more creative than the Star Wars jokes. i hope you’ve got better material than that.

Buzziswiser

June 22nd, 2011
9:39 am

As GT has become more of an international school, would guess a lower percentage of new alumni remain in the Atlanta areaa. When you add the Tech Fund, tickets for ACC/UGA are closer to $100/ea. Success at the gate depends on getting the non-alumni to the game. Find the game experience less inviting with the late decisions on kick-off time, length of games,and cost of concessions.
Players are getting paid. They are called Pell Grants on top of a full scholarship for everything required to go to school including room and board.

Tom

June 22nd, 2011
9:48 am

And oddly enough, Tech’s cheerleaders have actually been HOTTER than UGA’s as of late…..even most of the Dawg faithful are flummoxed. Heck, I’m flummoxed! HA!

dawgmatic

June 22nd, 2011
9:52 am

I’m amused that you think I’m making this up. Any journalist should know that sometimes fact is stranger than fiction, but I’ll let the nerds show you themselves. At least we’re in agreement that those cheeleaders are hideous, since you didn’t accuse me of making that up.

juvenal

June 22nd, 2011
10:04 am

creative? you kidding, Ken?

MatthewH

June 22nd, 2011
10:05 am

Thanks for the info, Ken.

Bill

June 22nd, 2011
10:15 am

Will Big Macon Dawg be leading the charge to fire Richt this year after he goes 6-7 again? Yes.

Tokyo jacket

June 22nd, 2011
10:27 am

The pay for student athletes issue is a way for the programs on top to stay on top as a recruiting edge. Think about it, the conferences that are most seriously considering it are the SEC, BIG10/11/12, and PAC10/12. It’s just like the BCS and a way for the elite to get more elite.

Tokyo jacket

June 22nd, 2011
10:42 am

As a pretty ardent republican, it hurts me to say that the government needs to get involved in the way college football is run. There are a lof of people out there that say “we have more pressing needs for our government to address.” But, from a financial standpoint, this is a MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR industry we’re talking about. And, there are serious exclusion practices going on in NCAA Football at the moment. If players start getting paid, it will only get worse.

By the way, D-Rad’s comment hit the nail on the head. That’s pretty much what I’ve come to expect from D-Rad. Crazy smart.

The Real YellowJacket

June 22nd, 2011
12:38 pm

Your two cents is out of line. Which other sport would you drop to bring football prices below the market?
That’s what would happen. Is it rather high, yes. Should the prices be reduced and other sports cut, no!

Delbert D.

June 22nd, 2011
12:51 pm

Need to get some stats on what percentage of male graduates are living in a defined radius of Atlanta 5 years after they graduate.

CPJ Supporter

June 22nd, 2011
12:59 pm

Ken, you just became my favorite contributor after that, “you’re welcome to post, but, come on, please be a little more creative than the Star Wars jokes. i hope you’ve got better material than that.” reply.

Way to stand up for Tech! And good interview. I would’ve liked to have heard more about how they plan on promoting Tech football more for this season (giveaways, etc.) but good work!

Tech Guy

June 22nd, 2011
1:14 pm

After the 1990 National Champioship season, we did not sell out a 43,000 seat stadium. So the GTAA spent millions on the opponent’s North stands and booted good Tech fans from the East stands.Now GTAA has a debt of $170 million and can’t sell out the stadium. Have you ever heard of large debt causing major problems?

uga cheerleaders

June 22nd, 2011
2:01 pm

kinda hard to find a woman attractive that has a permanent drool mark of ‘baci’ juice on her chins and that wears her makeup so thick it weighs more than a pound.

besides how could one not blow their lunch when they witness their date and cheerleaders squat on the library carpet to urinate!

tokyo jacket dude ,,, dude,,,,

June 22nd, 2011
2:39 pm

you ADMIT to being a republican and than lament about the pubs needing to get involved in college fb? dude…. what planet have you been living on. mars?

you act like pubs are for small government yet…. instead of working on jobs and the economy they have been getting involved in class warfare trying to tear down all that is the middle class.

no more collective bargaining
privatizing of the states
creating a gestapo state that takes away the rights of small towns to do their own thing. heck with the fact that they are tossing elected official to the wayside
drug tests for all govt employees and people who receive any kind of assistance
doing away with ss and medicare
more tax breaks for the rich
allowing for corporations to be treated the same as an individual
making it almost impossible for a woman to get an abortion for any reason
inacting laws that make it almost impossible for the poor and students to vote
doing away with child labor laws
etc etc etc etc etc….

it looks like at least 6 states will have massive recalls on republican legislators including the governors. can you say do over?

and your worried about college fb?

duuuuuuuuuude! if i were you i would be ashamed to admit i was republican!!!

i used to be a pub an i am ashamed of that fact and of that party.

juvenal

June 22nd, 2011
2:53 pm

2:39PM post-this is NOT npr! the only delusions allowed here are about sports, not that pols of any stripe will fix anything…….

Beavis McCann

June 22nd, 2011
3:14 pm

Sure, a less than prime seat to an ACC game costs $50. Plus $20 to park. Plus gas. Plus way over priced concessions. It certainly is reasonable day out — if you are the family of an AD who makes $650,000 or so a year.

Here’s the Catch-22 of college athletics. Athletic departments want to be a part of big money TV deals. They want all of their games on TV — and god forbid the networks fail to show their game in HD.

As a fan, I can sit at home and enjoy the best seat any fan can have for the game right there in my living room. Or I can drop about $250 to $300 for a not so great seat just so I can bask in the atmosphere of ACC football at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Hardly worth it I’d say — and a very hard sell to the very smart fan base that Tech has.

The fans who are paying the price for season tickets do so because Tech football is their passion/addiction. Good for them. And good luck trying to find a lot more like them.

Tech Student

June 22nd, 2011
3:28 pm

The base problem with the revenue is a bad team. Ticket prices should be comparable to the demand, and right now even the students (who get free tickets) don’t show up until halfway through the 2nd quarter. I vote to get rid of the triple option and go with a more exciting offense to put butts in seats. I’m tired of seeing the ground and pound from CPJ.

Ken Sugiura

June 22nd, 2011
4:18 pm

interesting posts, and thanks for the kind words.
@RealYellowJacket – If you read the post again, I said that I think the ticket prices are expensive, and if they don’t reduce them, they’ll likely always have trouble selling out unless the team becomes an perennial powerhouse. that’s their choice. that doesn’t mean i think they should lower prices.
@ tokyo jacket … dude I tend to agree with juvenal. let’s try to stay focused on football.
@ beavis – very good point. another problem is that the proliferation of televised football is that the transplanted college football fan that tech seeks has a much better chance of seeing his/her team on tv now than he/she did five or 10 years ago. “proliferation of televised football” – talk about a nerd.

italian_29

June 22nd, 2011
4:36 pm

I like Tech Student’s solution, who wants to brave Atlanta traffic, pay close to 200 dollars after parking and concessions, to see an offense that you can see free in alot of high school games for 5 bucks.

supersize that order, mutt

June 22nd, 2011
4:43 pm

Tech Student, you are full of it. Tech students have been late for games for the last 30+ years, even during the Hamilton years when Tech ran an offense which you claim is more exciting (more about that later). Students are late for games because they are either tied up with fraternity tail-gating, too hung over from the night before, or just too damn lazy to get out of the bed. And don’t think that Tech students are unique in that aspect. I have not been to many games in Athens, but the students there have always been the last to show up for the games, Believe it or not, I attended one Tech – UGAg game in Athens many years ago where the mutt student section never filled up–not even close. As far as the excitement level of Tech’s TO offense, since when is an offense that can regularly run up 400+ yards and 40+ points less exciting than a “standard” offense that puts up 300+ total yards (sometimes) and still only score 3 or 4 TD’s? Since when is a 60 yard pass play more exciting than a 60 yard run from scrimmage. Ohio State in the 60s can rightfully be accused of running a ground and pound offense, but the TO definitely does not fall into that category. I for one think the TO, when run right, is the most exciting offense in football. A few (completed) passes might make it better, but Tech once beat a highly-favored Notre Dame team without ever throwing a pass, much less completing one. That was, of course, when Pepper Rodgers was coach and ran the wishbone. We even beat the hell out of the mutts that same year without completing a pass (attempted one, if I remember right). If you don’t think Tech’s offense now is exciting, then you must have been one of the hungover ones.

supersize that order, mutt

June 22nd, 2011
4:45 pm

italian_29, so which is it? free or 5 bucks? it can’t be both. And I would repeat the same thing to you that I addressed to Tech Student.

supersize that order, mutt

June 22nd, 2011
4:47 pm

italian_29, in addition, have you ever been to a game in Athens? Even before they increased the capacity of Sanford and Son Stadium to its current level, traffic and parking were worse there than it’s ever been in Atlanta. I live in Augusta, and it takes longer to get to and from Athens for a game there than it does to get to and from Atlanta for a game there.

Sugar Hill Dawg

June 22nd, 2011
4:54 pm

I recall during my years at UGA (’71 – 74 seasons) the games at Grant Field felt more like a UGA home game. (I guess that’s why Tech got rid of the North Ave. end zone seats.) As a former UGA season ticket holder (kids came along – fall baseball, band, etc. no time to go to Athens, much less Jax), I can testify the donation to the Georgia Student Educational Fund (Hartman fund) was a lot higher than the price of the season tickets. I didn’t major in economics, but with UGA’s larger fan base supply and demand factors into the actual cost of a ticket. When Tech announced their version of the “donate to get tickets” plan struck me as a sure fire way to alienate the non – diehard Tech season ticket holders. I wonder if this is fact or fiction – any one have a clue? Tech’s history and tradition will guarantee a certain level of support, but….

supersize that order, mutt

June 22nd, 2011
5:06 pm

Sugar Hill, I think the “donate to get tickets” definitely hurt attendance at Grant Field. Giving to the Alexander-Tharpe Fund didn’t hurt much, if at all, but the year that DRad instituted the required predetermined donation, attendance dropped drastically. I’m not saying DRad was wrong in doing that; every other school in the country has been doing it for years. But Tech fans had been spoiled for so long, that I honestly believe they revolted. I am a die-hard fan, because I didn’t stop buying tickets. The required predetermined donation is not so big as to deter me from buying tickets. But I bet if you took a poll, you would find that it did turn off a good many former season-ticket buyers.

Robert

June 22nd, 2011
5:09 pm

If they pay the athletes, I’m out of here> No more college sports for me.

Sugar Hill Dawg

June 22nd, 2011
5:42 pm

Yo, supersize – stay true to your school! Outstanding! I have two boys at Auburn, but I’m decked out in the Red and Black for that game! I’m sure you’re as loyal to the Trade School as I am to THE University. Keep the faith!

supersize that order, mutt

June 22nd, 2011
5:50 pm

Sugar Hill, thanks. Nice to see a dawg fan in here who can keep it civil. Let’s put it this way about my loyalty: I’ve been going to Tech games since 1962 and I’m not planning on stopping until I can no longer make the drive from Augusta. I’ve been through the worst and the best with the Jackets, and I love ‘em no matter which.

BuggyTownSting

June 22nd, 2011
6:40 pm

dawgmatic we gave up on Star Wars night when we saw what happened to the mutts when y’all all dressed up like Darth Vader and the Death Star errrrrr Alabama destroyed your planet

Who Cares?

June 22nd, 2011
8:38 pm

With all the responses to dawgmatic, it looks like s/he really struck a nerve with the Star Wars comment. Relax, people.

PAUL SUCKS BIG JOHNSON

June 22nd, 2011
9:25 pm

Wait…… tech can’t sell football tickets??? wow, o wait they can’t win games that explains it. How is that high school offense working out for you?

superDawg

June 22nd, 2011
9:29 pm

Ken the real joke is when tek nerds put down UGA when we put the smack down on your jackits year in and year out.If you can’t run with the BIG DAWG get out of the yard!Oh and one other thing good luck in the A-SHE SHE.

superDawg

June 22nd, 2011
9:30 pm

UGA fans must be very proud of.....

June 22nd, 2011
9:41 pm

superDawg
Can’t spell, poor grammar skills, no idea that you leave a space after a period or exclamation mark and obvious latent homosexual issues (”A SHE SHE”).

macrotech

June 22nd, 2011
10:54 pm

superDawg, if you’re going to run with the big dogs…stop pissing like a puppy