Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Its not all about the U

The fan consensus, as reported by the media, is that it feels like a slap in the face to UM fans to have "1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5, them Gators don't take no jive"* honored in the stadium they share with the Fins.

And I would agree, generally, that this was a ridiculous "causal oversight" by the Fins, and them saying that they invited the Canes to have one of their own, but that they declined, seems almost like they're trying to dig themselves out...

But what really gets me was this comment:

We have to do everything we can to sell out Dolphins games.

If that means recognizing one of the state’s premier universities and that allows us to market tickets to that institution, that’s our right to do.

That's from Mike Dee's mouth. And. yes, of course, you are a private business. And its your job to sell tickets to maximize your profit.

Naturally, the lockout hurt. But you know what hurts more? The way you treat actual fans of this team. You make the players inacessable, by essentially barring them from saying anything to the media other than the company line. You have an owner who undermines his coach and then laments "I didn't know that there would be such a fan uproar." And when the organization is bad, and fans are upset with the recent direction and have chants at practices, you bemoan *them* as being the bad guys.

And to top it all off, you charge "$99 for two tickets" to a preseason game. A freakin' preseason game! Unemployment remains above 10%, and there are many people well extended beyond their means - and tickets are "as low as $34", plus a $25 parking charge, plus outrageous concessions. To see a team that underperforms, and only won one game at home last year. Its no wonder you can't sell out a game.

If I'm not working, and my money can go to putting food on the table and seeing the game on TV, or seeing a game in person, which am I going to choose?

The comment is insulting to those in that predicament. And adding that he sent a mailing to "supporters" of the Gators tells me he went after the booster-types, because they have money, which is subtly insulting.

I know you can't (or won't) lower ticket prices. But how about finding a way to build excitement in YOUR OWN fan base? There are scores (heck, legions!) of fans out there. The fact that there are more than 20 recognized fan sites out there, each with their own following (check the message boards for any of them to get a sense of how passionate they remain!) tells me that the fans still care. Dee was brought here to bring in the fans and sell out every game. And since it appears that he failed to ignite the fan base (without really trying), now it appears he is trying new avenues to create a new fan base - though not necessarily of the Dolphins.

They'll show these prospect fans around, and try to sell them on becoming fans of the experience, whether or not they care about the Dolphins. And that's fine. Just like bringing in B-list celebrity owners to say "Fins Up" is a way to bring in some new fans. Don't mean nothin'.

Reality is that H Wayne couldn't figure it out, either.

And I certainly don't have the answer. But I do know that winning on the field puts fannies in seats. How about starting there?

* actual comment by a Florida legislator after they won the national championship

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