Friday, July 11, 2008

The Laws of Supply and Lukewarm Demand | by Pat

Back once again with the results of the annual BGS lottery ticket poll. Let's breeze through the standard disclaimers and warnings of informality and the general unscientific-ness of this poll and get right to the numbers. For comparison, here are the results from 2007 and 2006.

Regular Alum Sorin Society Monogram Club
Req Won Rate Req Won Rate Req Won Rate
San Diego St.
594 456 77% 403 394 98% 105 105 100%
919 172 19% 562 477 85% 178 164 92%
@ Michigan St.
169 53 31% 111 64 58% 22 8 36%
624 330 53% 424 408 96% 103 103 100%
537 75 14% 403 391 97% 106 106 100%
@ North Carolina
354 12 4% 178 36 20% 55 2 4%
201 161 82% 74 64 86% 27 24 89%
489 228 47% 346 336 97% 102 102 100%
@ Boston College 328 12 3% 179 38 21% 52 2 4%
@ Navy
495 419 85% 265 231 87% 48 32 67%
384 358 93% 342 332 97% 61 59 97%
@ Southern Cal
210 154 76% 123 112 91% 36 18 50%

• The first thing that jumps out is the much higher win rates than last year for home games, especially for regular alumni. The logical conclusion is that ticket requests were down this year. I guess that's what a 3-9 season and mediocre home schedule will do for you. The increase in miminum donation ($100 to $200) to be eligible for the lottery shouldn't be over looked either. To be fair, it is possible that lottery revisions upped the number of tickets given out to alumni via the lottery. But I'm leaning towards the 3-9 and lackluster home opponent rationale myself. The amount of money returned is usually a decent barometer of demand and this year's total return ($4.5 million) is far below 2007 ($8.6 million) and 2006 ($11.7 million). The increased access is good news as fans have a better chance of seeing a game, but bad news when you realize that increased access is due partly to many fans deciding that trying to get tickets in the lottery isn't worth it for a variety of reasons.

• It seems that despite being the home opener and designated Senior Alumni game, the San Diego State (77%!) matchup didn't draw many requests. Overall, ND claims that the Michigan (19%), Stanford (14%), and Purdue (53%) game rank in the Top 25 in home game ticket requests. I'm curious how far down the list the Syracuse game ranks. Message board chatter indicates that ND called those in the lottery and provided an additional chance to buy Syracuse tickets. I can't verify that right now, but it sounds like demand for the 'Cuse game might not have met supply, despite the results of the poll suggesting that some did lose out. And while it may just be a statistical quirk of our limited sample size (~1000 responses), the fact that the Stanford game had a lower win rate than the Michigan game is a bit interesting.

• Pat yourself on your back if you are a regular alum and managed to snag tickets to either North Carolina (4%) or Boston College (3%). On the other hand, the Washington (82%) and Southern Cal (76%) have awfully high win rates. The 2006 poll results have the game at the Coliseum with a 14% win rate for regular alumni. Did ND get more tickets, or like with home games was demand down this year? Are Irish fans resigned to another year of Trojan victory?

• The 2006 results also show far more requests for Southern Cal tickets than Navy tickets, whereas this year Navy requests more than doubled those for the trip to L.A. Notre Dame claimed that this year's Navy game is the fourth most requested road game in Irish ticket history. As an aside, that means more people requested tickets to this year's Navy game than last year's UCLA game at the Rose Bowl, which was named fourth most requested ever last year. East Coast bias indeed.

• For those who paid the increase in donation level to reach Sorin Society levels, at least you were rarely turned down for ticket requests. Aside from the Michigan games, win rates were all near 100%. Of course, getting a Monogram remains the best way to ensure future ticket availability.