Two things that are done with frequency in or around Autzen Stadium on game days that are forbidden in the Press Box:
1) Audibly cheering for the Ducks
2) Any type of activity usually found at a tailgate
Since those are two of the best things about going to Ducks games, I prefer to find myself in the stands instead of the box, ideally as often as possible. Meaning I, like many Oregon fans, am a season ticket holder, and like many of those season ticket holders, have to decide by Friday whether or not to renew my season tickets for the 2014 season.
Since it is prudent of any consumer to carefully consider any purchasing decision before making it, I find myself going through all the angles of decision-making on my renewal, and knowing full well many Oregon Duck fans are going through the same process this week, I thought I would share some questions to consider when deciding whether or not to buy these season tickets.
What is the schedule going to be like?
In a word: Good.
After having a somewhat unspectacular home schedule the last few seasons (UCLA was the first top-12 team to visit Autzen Stadium in three years), this season features a much-improved slate of games, including the hated Huskies and both of last year’s Rose Bowl teams. When Oregon plays Michigan State on September 6th, many expect both teams to be ranked in the top five, which if it happens, would be the first top-five match-up at Autzen Stadium ever.
If that kind of non-conference match-up wasn’t enough, the 2014 home schedule is loaded with “revenge games.” There haven’t been many opportunities for revenge at Autzen Stadium. In recent years, the losses have been limited, which is why Oregon hasn’t been able to host a team it lost to the previous season since playing Stanford in 2010. With Stanford and Arizona coming to Autzen Stadium, along that perpetual revenge series known as “every Washington game for the past century,” and it is quite the slate for the Ducks to square some debts.
Can I make it to all the games?
One of the most important questions to ask one’s self: Can I make it to all the games? Sure, your calendar is going to be clear on September 6th, October 18th, and November 1st. But what about Arizona on a Thursday night? How about when the Ducks host Wyoming, which will be a home game for the third Saturday in a row? Many alumni and season ticket holders live all around the state; trekking to Eugene three weekends in a row can be a lot of ask of some. Not just for the season ticket holder, but for finding others to go with them.
If they can’t, hopefully they know people who can easily take tickets off their hands. Best of luck to anyone if they have to brave the secondary ticket market, which often finds few takers for anything beyond the most marquee of games.
Will the Ducks improve on last season?
Essentially, the purchasing of tickets is no different than buying any other tradeable commodity by speculating on its value. With season tickets, the buyer is assuming that there is enough value in purchasing a bulk quantity of that product for a reduced average price to make it worth their while.
The price for tickets, like any commodity, is largely dependent upon demand. The more value it has, the more desire the public will express for it. With tickets, the logic would dictate than when a team does better, the price will go up to maximize the return on its product, and when the team has a decline in performance, that the price will go down in order to entice consumer purchases.
Which is why, as Oregon ascended and won three consecutive Pac-10/12 titles, the prices of season tickets increased. Prices increased for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, as well, though both of those seasons did not yield the same level of success that fans had seen in previous seasons.
Season ticket prices have increased again in 2014, despite a two-year pattern of not having met previous returns, meaning that those who are purchasing season tickets are demonstrating the belief that the Ducks will turn things around and improve in 2014. Rare is the consumer who will agree to pay a price increase only to expect diminishing returns.
So what’s my verdict? Will I renew my tickets for the 2014 season? Like many other season ticket holders, I have a few more days to figure it out.
Top image by Kevin Cline.