Saturday, May 19, 2012

Good money- 3.5 million dollars - after bad?

My friend, Michael McNabb writes:

And now the Regents grant the request of President Kaler for "emergency approval" to pay an additional $3.5 million to an outside company to try to sell tickets to football and basketball games that the athletic department itself has not been able to sell.  See the May 19, 2012 report in the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

 On March 27, the Board of Regents granted Kaler's request for emergency approval to pay Aspire $3.5 million over five years, ending in 2017. The Gophers and Aspire then agreed to a three-year contract, with an additional two years as an option. 

Twelve full-time Aspire sales reps start work June 11 in Minneapolis. They will work from the ticket office in TCF Bank Stadium, except on game days.  
The Gophers will share statistics and team information with the Aspire sales reps, many of whom will be U graduates or Minnesotans. The reps will be faced with the same challenge the Gophers had: trying to sell a losing football program and a basketball program that hasn't lived up to expectations.

In football, the Gophers went 3-9 for the second straight season in 2011. The men's basketball team failed to reach the NCAA tournament for the second straight season, although it made it to the NIT title game.

Minnesota's expectations are for outsourcing to have immediate results, but Maturi cautioned that "nothing's easy."

"There's a lot of competition in this market," he said. "We know that. And we are just trying to do a better job professionally of sharing with the public the great value of the collegiate entertainment dollar."

See the earlier post, Minnesota Leads the Big Ten, for more information about the U of M's support of athletics from general funds. 

Added 5/22

My friend Michael McNabb writes:


Yesterday I posted a link to Minnesota Leads Big Ten on the U of M Alumni Association LinkedIn site.  The Alumni Association site apparently automatically generated the note below and sent it to all of the members of the Linkedin site of the Alumni Association (now more than 19,500 members)!
You added a cross reference to Minnesota Leads Big Ten at the end of your Charlie Brown post yesterday on the athletic department.  You might now add the comment from this alumnus. 
His solution of separating the major sports from universities is also the solution described in the final paragraph of Expensive Icing.

The link to the posting on LinkedIn is:

The alum's comment is:

The most interesting fact is that the U of M leads the nation in hiding the cost of athletics by not charging for building, grounds and maintenance. You can find this out by going back to the original Bloomberg article.

I am not a fan of athletics in public education, even having been a season ticket holder for Gopher football. We have a robust feeder system from K-12 to college to pro. It drains resources from other priorities and subsidizes sports media in big way. Keeping sports separated from school, as the Europeans do, would eliminate the subsidy problem. Then they could pay athletes for their contribution to the sport.

Posted by Robin Johnson 

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