Tech’s tall task: How to sell tickets to a bowl in Shreveport

I admire cleverness in any form, probably because I’m so un-clever myself. And the 2010 Lemonade Award — so named for the capacity to take lemon-like circumstances and render them almost palatable — goes to the clever clogs (British term) in the Georgia Tech athletic department.

Tech offered up a frankly classic press release over the weekend, the first sentence of which reads: “Georgia Tech’s special ticket offer to the Advocare V100 Independence Bowl — priced at $14 in honor of the Yellow Jackets’ 14th consecutive bowl appearance — has been extended through Christmas.”

Given that Tech fans have devoted the past 12 months to making fun of Georgia, which played in the 2009 Advocare V100 Independence Bowl, and given that the Jackets enter this postseason at 6-6 after losing four of five games and their best player to a broken arm, nobody thought Tech could give away tickets to this showcase in scenic Shreveport. (Which qualifies as a port only because the Red River runs through it.)

But Tech has gotten all pro-active on us. It is coming close to giving away tickets without doing so. Regular prices for a Independence seat are $42 and $37, which means you can buy from Tech’s allotment of 10,000 tickets at one-third the rack rate.

A 67 percent discount is enough to make you think seriously about buying anything, is it not? But Tech didn’t leave it at that. From the release:

“The response from our fans for this special ticket offer has been very good,” associate athletic director Wayne Hogan said. “In just six days we have sold nearly 3,500 tickets and are approaching our goal of having at least 5,000 Yellow Jacket fans in Shreveport.”

Also this:

“When fans go online to purchase tickets, there is an option to donate tickets, which is fine,” Hogan said. “But our goal is to have Yellow Jacket fans in the stands supporting our team.”

Then the capper, also a Hogan quote:

“With Christmas around the corner, tickets make for perfect gifts or stocking stuffers.”

And there we have it. A cut-rate sale that appeals to school pride, the concept of philanthropy and the spirit of Christmas. A brilliant bit of salesmanship that acknowledges what everybody is thinking — we understand if you don’t want to go to Shreveport, but you can just give the tickets away! — without actually saying it. Classic.

About here, you might be wondering: Why does Hogan say Tech’s “goal” is selling 5,000 tickets when it was required by the Independence Bowl to take twice that many? Because the ACC offers bowl ticket relief for its member schools after 6,000 are dispensed, and Tech can burn off another 1,000 by handing them to band members for admittance and to players as comps. So if Tech gets to 5,000 tickets sold, it can get to 6,000 tickets distributed, which is the threshold that matters.

About here, you might also be wondering: Is Tech, which can’t afford to lose money on anything, going to lose money on this bowl excursion? According to Hogan — this part wasn’t in the release — “we’ll absolutely do no worse than break even, even after subsidizing the ticket discount.”

If you’re Tech, that’s the best you can hope. You move enough tickets at whatever price to meet your contractual obligation, and then you call it a day. Nobody gets rich, either in terms of money or image, by going to Shreveport. (The Independence’s payout is $1.1 million, roughly one-third what the Chick-fil-A Bowl pays its ACC invitee.)

Give Tech credit: It’s trying its best to make this work. In the history of athletic promotion, there has never been a better line than Hogan’s about tickets making “great stocking stuffers.” And if you were wondering whose idea it was to price tickets at $14 as a salute to 14 consecutive bowl berths … well, that was Hogan’s, too.

Beats the heck out of selling tickets for $1 a pop in honor of the Jackets’ missed extra point in Athens, wouldn’t you say?

By Mark Bradley



198 comments Add your comment

rawdawg

December 13th, 2010
10:22 am

DA MAN

December 13th, 2010
10:27 am

wow, finally a new Bradley post

Not Disappointed!

December 13th, 2010
10:29 am

what’s for supper? Go Jackets!

ga_tech_92

December 13th, 2010
10:29 am

Shug

December 13th, 2010
10:30 am

It’s really rather amazing what Tech has been able to accomplish with its football program during the past century with the alumni base and alumni/fan interest it has. It’s fans don’t care about football. They have other, non-sports, interests. A large portion of its student body consists of out of staters, and it’s in-state students tend to be the type that don’t follow sports closely. That’s not a knock on them.
In any event, good luck to the Ramblin’ Wreck.
One of these years (like last year), Tech’s going to play in a good bowl in a nice location and it will still have trouble selling tickets. The bowls know this.

NotEvenWorth$1

December 13th, 2010
10:33 am

I can’t figure how these bowls survive. How much are they knocking their sponsors up for? I always figured the law of diminishing marginal returns was undeniable. Maybe bowl-economics supercedes it. Whateva…

Bryan G.

December 13th, 2010
10:35 am

I’m a UGA fan, but I think this is a great idea.

Look, NO ONE wants to go to freaking Shreveport. Tech really came up with a good solution to create some incentive for its fans.

Reggie Ball

December 13th, 2010
10:36 am

I would suggest they hire me to do a personal appearance in Shreveport on gameday. I’m sure folks would buy tickets in droves if you throw in a chance to meet me for free.

Mark Bradley

December 13th, 2010
10:37 am

Kudos, rawdawg.

gir know better than you

December 13th, 2010
10:39 am

at least the GT quarterback has not been susupended and ineligible to play in the bowl game likou e the inbred one at your school….you mention how GT made fun of UGA, what about UGA making fun of GT especially the student athletes which is so uncalled for. Just read the idiot comments about Chandler Anderson, a future Air Force Officer and you writers at AJC set it up for these kids to be made fun of by morons with a 6th grade education. You Mark are no better. You have made fun of GT every time you get a chance calling it a joke. Ia Sean Bedford a joke? 3.9 gpa aerospace engineer and All ACC Center? UGA is the one that beats its chest every year and brags about all its 5 stars and how the next national championship is around the corner but yet here there were in the Independence Bowl in one year after being preranked number one in the nation. Do not get me started on you inbred Ky school. If it’s shame on anyone, IT IS SHAME ON MARK BRADLEY and AJC

Trey

December 13th, 2010
10:40 am

The Liberty Bowl is no better. We made fun of Shreveport because we were in the Orange. If they were in the Sugar, the mutts could make fun. And don’t say how great Memphis is, therefore the Liberty is better. If that were the case, every team would have a goal of going to whatever bowl is in Hawaii.

Bryan G.

December 13th, 2010
10:45 am

Trey – I agree the Liberty isn’t any better….but….

Wouldn’t you rather go to Memphis (and Tunica) than Shreveport? I mean, really?

GT12

December 13th, 2010
10:47 am

Could you try to sound a little more like an a-hole Bradley?

Jeesh..

Joshua Barlowe

December 13th, 2010
10:48 am

Neither team has a right to make fun of anybody this year. Both are 6-6 and the “Good Old Fashioned Hate” was more like “Good old fashioned fumbling contest.”

Go Jackets.

jambee3

December 13th, 2010
10:48 am

A little brutal don’t you think, Mark? You do two articles in a week and they are both about Tech in the Independence bowl. Move on.

Class of '98

December 13th, 2010
10:49 am

42-34. 9 out of 10.

rxdawg79

December 13th, 2010
10:50 am

@Shug: Agreed. And you’re right that it’s not a knock on Tech, it’s just how it is. Heck, last thing I read was that UGA isn’t exactly burning through its Liberty Bowl allotment either.

sidewalk 74

December 13th, 2010
10:51 am

Hey Mutts,
Last year 7-5 got you to Shreveport.
This year 6-6 got you to Memphis.
So exactly what are you making fun of?
Maybe next year you can be the first 5-7 team to make a bowl game.

Ted Striker

December 13th, 2010
10:51 am

I’m waiting for William Shatner to get my ticket price down to $3.

GTBob

December 13th, 2010
10:53 am

Trey pretty much nailed it. Nobody made fun of UGA last year because Shreveport is such a bad city. We made fun of UGA because they were in such a terrible bowl game. We were terrible this year so we get to go to the same one. However UGA is playing in pretty much an equally terrible bowl game so making fun of GT looks pretty dumb.

5150 P.O.A.D.

December 13th, 2010
10:55 am

Hope you enjoyed your time off Mark Bradley.
I talked with dad and even he doesn’t want to spend the money to see this game at the CHEAP price on a Monday after Christmas and a 9 hr drive. Nashville, Memphis, Charolette, or D.C. we would go. Shreveport just sounds as fun as Birmingham, but Papa John’s bowl isn’t a long drive.

brian22

December 13th, 2010
10:57 am

Bark,

Tech went to a BCS bowl last year while Georgia went to an awful bowl game. That’s what we were pointing out, genious.

defactodawg

December 13th, 2010
10:57 am

Mark,

Good to see you back. Missed your work during the past week.

Neither of the local teams have anything to brag about so It would be nice to read insightful comments rather than the usual juvenile banter.

42-34 - Dawgs STILL Run This State

December 13th, 2010
10:58 am

Why Can’t Coach Paul Johnson win a bowl game?

Terrible Truth

December 13th, 2010
10:59 am

Hell, they can’t sell tickets in Atlanta, why would Shreveport be any different?

Class of '98

December 13th, 2010
11:05 am

We’re not making fun of you for playing in Shreveport. We are making fun of you because we have won 9 out of 10 and because we run this state.

And because you are Tech, and it is so, so easy.

Bradley is a Hack

December 13th, 2010
11:08 am

Give it up Marcus.

Aren’t you the guy that got dressed around half time to drive up to Kennesaw to cover the Tech upset?

UGA=YAWN

December 13th, 2010
11:08 am

6-6 teams should not be going to bowls – GT included!

droopydawg

December 13th, 2010
11:08 am

Well, I’ll say this for the Techies…they talked all kinds of trash about Shreveport last year and they are refusing to go there to support their team this year…at least they are consistent. Then again, they do not support their team at home either (free coke and hot dog, anyone?), so maybe it has nothing to do with the bowl game.

droopydawg

December 13th, 2010
11:10 am

brian22: protip: when you are making fun of someone’s intelligence, it is best not to misspell “genius”.

droopydawg

December 13th, 2010
11:10 am

Also, you won the ACC last year…James Madison could have done that.

droopydawg

December 13th, 2010
11:11 am

…and still lost to a mediocre SEC team two years running. There is a reason the ACC champion hasn’t played in the BCS championship since the heyday of FSU.

UGA=YAWN

December 13th, 2010
11:11 am

Shug – our fans care. That is just a silly comment. We lost our first game to one of the worst teams in the country – Kansas. After that, we care a lot less – and should! Win 10 or 11 games a year and fans WILL care. Win 6 and lose to UGA and fans will not. We are GT afterall. IE. we are smart and have brains. Who would or should care for this sorry excuse of a season????

droopydawg

December 13th, 2010
11:14 am

UGA=YAWN: I believe your last post is actually the Webster’s definition of “fair weather fan”

guy

December 13th, 2010
11:15 am

class on 98. you pass this state, and win this state, but you did not run this state this year…

rduck

December 13th, 2010
11:19 am

UGA=YAWN: I totally agree that 6-6 teams should not be in a bowl. The bowl games are supposed to be rewards for the teams, coaches and fans. A 6-6 team doesn’t deserve a reward. It deserves to be at home watching the games and fueling the fire to do better.

1eyedJack

December 13th, 2010
11:22 am

I would prefer to receive a lottery ticket as a stocking stuffer.

Eyore

December 13th, 2010
11:22 am

You mean people aren’t flocking to the ticket booth in droves to buy a GT bowl ticket? You mean seeing Isaac Hayes’ car wasn’t a big enough draw?

Ramblinwreck83

December 13th, 2010
11:23 am

@ Mark Bradley. Don’t you have anything else to write about? Two articles about the same bowl game. What about UGA’s bowl game coming up? I haven’t seen you write squat about that. And you have been on GT case the entire year. Tech was expecting a drop off this year. UGA didn’t look any better than Tech did. You and everyone else didn’t give GT a chance in the UGA/GT game but it was there for the taking. That GT “high school offense” ripped that good UGA defense a new one. If it weren’t for a few mistakes. We could of left out of Athens with a W. And by the way, UGA fans made fun of Tech for more years than i can remember when they went to a better bowl game. But UGA goes to a sub-par bowl one year and Tech fans make fun, and we get crucified by you. I think you just do it to satisfy the UGA fan base since their bigger than Techs. You remind me of some fellow who ran for the Presidency no too long ago. Mr. John “Flip Flopping” Carey. A man that went with the tide and whatever the general consensus was at the time.

Bobo

December 13th, 2010
11:27 am

I am going to miss Shreveport and the Independence Bowl this time, but…I am sure we will be back in 2012, 2013 and in 2014.

serious question

December 13th, 2010
11:30 am

how many tickets has uga sold to their bowl?

droopydawg

December 13th, 2010
11:30 am

rduck: going to a bowl game gives teams additional NCAA sanctioned practices. Who needs those more than 6-6 teams?

Coach Vince "Coke Head" Dooley

December 13th, 2010
11:30 am

I tired to tell Mark Richt that you only suspend players after the bowl game…not before the bowl game.

bruce mac

December 13th, 2010
11:30 am

So, lets see; the loss (again) to UGA does not matter because both teams are bad and the fact that Yech is going to SHREVEPORT does not matter because something about Yech going to the Orange Bowl last year is the only reason Yech flopped those gums incessantly in 09. That my friends is Georgia Tech logic at its best. By the way, the basketball loss to UGA (again) does not matter either because everyone knows CPH should be fired. In preperation for Baseball, that does not matter either because Yech beat UGA last year. The fact that Yech will lose in a Bowl for the sxith time in a row does not matter either because the Yech players were not inspired by such a weak bowl. Now that settles it, Georgia Tech sucks at everything and it does not matter to Yech fans. Glad we could clear that up.

droopydawg

December 13th, 2010
11:32 am

Ramblinwreck83: that “good” UGA defense? beating up on a brand new defense with misplaced personnel is not that impressive. Also, going 6-6 in the ACC is a big dropoff, especially considering UM and UNC were much, much worse than expected. I thought Tech would suck this year, but Tech fans did not judging from the pre-season comments.

Coach Ray Golf

December 13th, 2010
11:32 am

My motto is “3 yards and a cloud of dust”.

Big Dog 98

December 13th, 2010
11:34 am

dawg fans are the best even if we never attended UGA … or any other college.

Ramblinwreck83

December 13th, 2010
11:34 am

droopydawg

Do you mean the trash talking UGA fans have done for many many years? You deserved it last year for all the years UGAs have run their mouths. By the way, Football didn’t just start when Mark Richt arrived at UGA. remember the mid 80’s and 90’s. That wasn’t a good run for the puppies. That’s why y’all like to speak only of the years after 2000. Oh and nice juvenile comments above. It just further establishes that your no more than a joke. I guess we shouldn’t expect anymore from a UGA fan.

thebighairybeast

December 13th, 2010
11:35 am

The Thrashers marketing department needs to hire these guys. Showing some originality selling a difficult product.

Ramblinwreck83

December 13th, 2010
11:38 am

bruce mac

Stop roaming the Tech articles. I know UGA fans seemed to be obsessed this year but, give it up. It’s bad for your health to get all worked up about GT.