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Monday, October 29, 2007

You're Doing It Wrong...

The St. John's basketball program ranks with programs like North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky and Duke in terms of all-time wins*. But the Red Storm has fallen on hard times of late, bottoming out badly during the tail end of the Mike Jarvis regime with off-court controversies, player transfers, and NCAA sanctions.

And lots and lots of losses.

The university is taking steps to right the ship and emulate some of the other programs on that list.

Unfortunately, one of those key steps is "soak the fan base for every cent you can extract."

St. John's recently unveiled a new method for assigning seat locations for season ticket-holders -- the best seats will go to those who have donated the most cash to the university.

This is a common practice at universities where basketball tickets are as hard-to-get as opening night seats for Young Frankenstein the Musical. But the Johnnies play to mostly-empty houses, except when teams like Connecticut or Duke are in town.

Perhaps the athletic department should consult with one of the professors teaching Economics 101. See, you're only supposed to raise prices when demand is high... not when your squad has been picked to finish 14th out of 16 teams in the preseason coaches' poll.

* Remarkably -- or perhaps not so remarkably -- the NCAA hasn't updated that list since 2004.

Fair & Balanced Reporting
One note on the New York Post article linked above... the author quotes Ron Naclerio, a "season ticket holder since 1975" as saying:

They are saying, 'Thanks for 30 years of loyalty - see you later,' and the last few years have been hard to watch. "I understand that it is a business, and you have to generate money, but it doesn't seem right that it has to be on the backs of the loyal fans."
The article doesn't identify Naclerio as the coach of Cardozo High School -- or as someone who has reportedly campaigned for an assistant coach position with the Johnnies on more than one occasion.


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