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Could Nebraska baseball ever be a profit generator?

ShortSideOption

All Big 10
10 Year Member
I am intersted to get peoples thoughts on this. Nebraska currently is one of the few athletic departments in the country that generate a profit in 3 sports (football, mens basketball, volleyball), could our baseball team ever turn a profit? If so, what would be the biggest factor?

What got me thinking about this is seeing how teams like LSU continuously turn out a profit from their baseball team. While I understand that the climate is much more conducive to getting butts in the seats, could Nebraska ever get to that point with their baseball team? And further, what would it take? It's no secret that LSU is a college baseball power, but besides being better, is there anything they could do to help get them in the black? Would taking more local kids help? That is an area that I think Erstad can do better in, but also think he did that very well in the 2018 class. Is there anything they lack for a gameday environment that could help?

The problem with baseball right now, is that it is 750k in the hole, even while they get a bargain out of their baseball coach by paying him just around 200k. Which adds another dynamic to getting in the black. You can't get rid of a coach that has given you your only conference title in the last decade out of your Big 3 sports, has won a conference coach of the year, and done that all as recently as less than 2 years ago when you are getting him for 500k less than the going rate.

In 2017 (the year we brought a trophy to Lincoln for the first time in over a decade), we were 6th in the country for average attendance. The problem is, you have usually 7-10 games less than the southern schools.
https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2017/06/02/Research-and-Ratings/NCAA-baseball.aspx

So that takes you to the corporate donors and boosters to get you there. What would it take to have a few companies pay the 20k-25k per year to get those all sold out?

Long question short, do you think we could ever get there? We have to make up 750k that we are in the hole while we already have a bargain price on a Conference Coach of the Year and already have extremely good attendance numbers.
 

Nebugeater

Scout Team
15 Year Member
I am a season ticket holder. I think we can get close or break even but it will take some doing.

We have a few things going against us that some can be addressed and some cannot.

Weather Can't change this and this year sucked X2 For every year like this there will be a year we are wearing shorts to game in March.
The B1G conf does not bring the "names" into Lincoln that the Big 12 did.
We have a HC that is still learning to be a HC. I am OK with this as long as we keep progressing. May need to evaluate assistances though.
The Shine is gone from Haymarket park. It is a great park but it is time for some paint and general freshening up. There are lights, water fountains, RR facilities etc that need to be better cared for at this point in it's life or it will spiral down fast.
The heated field for early season green grass needs to be fixed and made working again. Too much $$ spent to have it not working and say no one knows how to fix it. I think the green grass in early season when especially when there is a bit of snow on the concorses is a nice selling point.
Take down the safety netting that was put up in two phases and spend the $$ to put up a uniform net that covers the area needed. I know it doesn't impact all the seats but the big vertical cable that joins the old and new nets is a HUGE annoyance for part of the view and for me it is viewing home plate.
General tidiness. Put things away out of site. There are too many items sitting around visible under stairs and in corners that are not part of the game day experience. Looks cluttered and not cared for. Go to Warner park for Storm Chasers games and you do not see this.
I know the park is city owned but the Huskers have to have some pull on this.
Keep scheduling aggressively and get a Non Conf series like this years Az State series every year at home
We know the Husker Fans will support the team. There is a solid core that are there all the time. In my seating area there is a core that has been there for many years. We need to bring back the middle of the road fans.
Maybe some of the GA grass seating should be converted to some bench seating or something off the ground. The grass does not work well for early season games. Would this add to attendance... Not sure.
Win but that is stating the obvious.
Maybe ticket prices are too high considering some of the cold weather games that do not get as good of attendance. Will not pretend to know the best formula but would a slightly lower season ticket price sell more tickets and then concessions since the place is not sold out. Seems to be somewhat the formula at Pinnacle for basketball with the Upper bowl pricing. I think a sold out event actually increased the desire for people to go even if actual attendance is not 100 %.
If the park seats 8,500 in total and we could increase season tickets by 1500 @ say $8 a ticket that would be an added $324,000 to the till
Game day experience is good as far as i am concerned. I am there to watch baseball though so maybe I am not the best to answer that one.
To your point about Corporate $$ the "sky box" seats seem a lot emptier the last couple of years but that is just an observation and may not be a fact.


Just a few random thoughts.
 

Husker Eponymous

Scout Team
10 Year Member
They generated a small profit the years they held regionals and supers on their way to the CWS.

What is helping teams like LSU turn a profit, besides a stadium that seats 10k, is the tuition remission for in-state students.
 

Husker Eponymous

Scout Team
10 Year Member
I a
,
In 2017 (the year we brought a trophy to Lincoln for the first time in over a decade), we were 6th in the country for average attendance. The problem is, you have usually 7-10 games less than the southern schools.
https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2017/06/02/Research-and-Ratings/NCAA-baseball.aspx

So that takes you to the corporate donors and boosters to get you there. What would it take to have a few companies pay the 20k-25k per year to get those all sold out?

Long question short, do you think we could ever get there? We have to make up 750k that we are in the hole while we already have a bargain price on a Conference Coach of the Year and already have extremely good attendance numbers.
By half a game because Michigan had a game cancelled due to weather. In the Big 10. Funny how you aren't including the fact NU spends more then every other team in the B1G on baseball, and in some cases 2-3 times as much. In fact, SSO, why doesn't NU move to the Summit for Baseball, then they can win it every year???

Lol, conference coach of the year. Boy SSO, you are really really trying. You know what my dad always used to say? When you are good at something, you won't have to tell people, they will tell you. And man, you have been telling, and telling, and telling people Erstad is the man. In fact, you have been saying it so much I'm beginning to believe it!

Funny how that CCOY has more losses in regionals to non-schollie teams then he does total wins. He must've faced those conference coaches of the year in regionals, lol
 

ShortSideOption

All Big 10
10 Year Member
I am a season ticket holder. I think we can get close or break even but it will take some doing.

We have a few things going against us that some can be addressed and some cannot.

Weather Can't change this and this year sucked X2 For every year like this there will be a year we are wearing shorts to game in March.
The B1G conf does not bring the "names" into Lincoln that the Big 12 did.
We have a HC that is still learning to be a HC. I am OK with this as long as we keep progressing. May need to evaluate assistances though.
The Shine is gone from Haymarket park. It is a great park but it is time for some paint and general freshening up. There are lights, water fountains, RR facilities etc that need to be better cared for at this point in it's life or it will spiral down fast.
The heated field for early season green grass needs to be fixed and made working again. Too much $$ spent to have it not working and say no one knows how to fix it. I think the green grass in early season when especially when there is a bit of snow on the concorses is a nice selling point.
Take down the safety netting that was put up in two phases and spend the $$ to put up a uniform net that covers the area needed. I know it doesn't impact all the seats but the big vertical cable that joins the old and new nets is a HUGE annoyance for part of the view and for me it is viewing home plate.
General tidiness. Put things away out of site. There are too many items sitting around visible under stairs and in corners that are not part of the game day experience. Looks cluttered and not cared for. Go to Warner park for Storm Chasers games and you do not see this.
I know the park is city owned but the Huskers have to have some pull on this.
Keep scheduling aggressively and get a Non Conf series like this years Az State series every year at home
We know the Husker Fans will support the team. There is a solid core that are there all the time. In my seating area there is a core that has been there for many years. We need to bring back the middle of the road fans.
Maybe some of the GA grass seating should be converted to some bench seating or something off the ground. The grass does not work well for early season games. Would this add to attendance... Not sure.
Win but that is stating the obvious.
Maybe ticket prices are too high considering some of the cold weather games that do not get as good of attendance. Will not pretend to know the best formula but would a slightly lower season ticket price sell more tickets and then concessions since the place is not sold out. Seems to be somewhat the formula at Pinnacle for basketball with the Upper bowl pricing. I think a sold out event actually increased the desire for people to go even if actual attendance is not 100 %.
If the park seats 8,500 in total and we could increase season tickets by 1500 @ say $8 a ticket that would be an added $324,000 to the till
Game day experience is good as far as i am concerned. I am there to watch baseball though so maybe I am not the best to answer that one.
To your point about Corporate $$ the "sky box" seats seem a lot emptier the last couple of years but that is just an observation and may not be a fact.


Just a few random thoughts.
This is a really good post as I was looking for something other than "being better" because we are in a league now that is really difficult to be consistently good in. We also aren't playing teams now that move the needle like Texas. A really good Illinois team who swept teams like Coastal Carolina and Florida Atlantic for quadrant 2 wins still isn't going to draw a crowd like Texas will despite being better this year.

I am unsure what the sales are for the corporate boxes, but I assure you they aren't sold out. Could we do anytning to promote better there? I think the Saltdogs do a better job at promoting for businesses than the Husker games do. But I think it's the same people that put it on? Maybe it's a matter of marketing?

As you said, Haymarket is old. Still the best venue in the B1G, but it needs updated. Could we add some more corporate boxes to help? Surely not if we aren't even at 50%, but if we could increase some sales there, the weather becomes less of an issue.

The assistant thing needs to be addressed. Silva you have to keep. But in a sport where you get one head coach and two assistants, and one doesn't recruit, you have to remedy that. I've seen enough of Mike Kirby. And that falls on Darin Erstad.
 

HuskerWeatherman

Husker Fan
15 Year Member
One thing that will always work against Nebraska is travel costs.

We spend most of the first month of the season on distant road trips due to Nebraska's climate. And even within the conference itself, the Big Ten footprint is huge.
 

Busker

Recruit
That’s actually not a bad idea. Gotta wait for TO on that one.
I don’t think it’s a good idea in any other sport. Basketball, football, even volleyball would get too rowdy. But baseball, which plays during the day in most cases I think would go over pretty smoothly. Not to mention the fact it already has the infrastructure in place to do it for the Saltdogs.
 

ShortSideOption

All Big 10
10 Year Member
One thing that will always work against Nebraska is travel costs.

We spend most of the first month of the season on distant road trips due to Nebraska's climate. And even within the conference itself, the Big Ten footprint is huge.
That’s a really good point. We aren’t bus tripping to Lawrence or Manhattan, we are pretty much flying now. Another thing that works against us. That said, I don’t feel like we are that far off being “only” 750k in the red. A few good marketing ideas or boosters buying in and it’s made up for.
 

ShortSideOption

All Big 10
10 Year Member
I don’t think it’s a good idea in any other sport. Basketball, football, even volleyball would get too rowdy. But baseball, which plays during the day in most cases I think would go over pretty smoothly. Not to mention the fact it already has the infrastructure in place to do it for the Saltdogs.
Baseball can get pretty “boring” so I see your point.
 

carrolltonsker

Husker Immortal
10 Year Member
It actually was in 2017, I think. We had four revenue producing sports that year--football, volleyball, men's basketball, and baseball. We were one of only a very few schools that had four profit producing sports that year.
 

jikastew

All Legend
10 Year Member
That’s actually not a bad idea. Gotta wait for TO on that one.
Well, everyone knows my stance on that.

Stop listening to post-coach TO. All-time great coach. Hall of Famer by any standard. Horrendous for the University in any administrative/contributing role thereafter.



And with that........I would expect the venom of Husker Nation to hit me square in the head.
 

Deer&Ducks

Recruit
5 Year Member
One thing that will always work against Nebraska is travel costs.

We spend most of the first month of the season on distant road trips due to Nebraska's climate. And even within the conference itself, the Big Ten footprint is huge.
I had several thoughts in the attendance area and this was one of them. Someone else mentioned the AzState series, would should be huge. NU needs to get more big names that draw big crowds to generate revenue. However, few, if any Big10 teams fit in that category. That leaves the off in-conference weekend (amazing job getting AzState here) and the early season. Most big name teams probably don't want to play in Nebraska in March, and if they did and the weather is poor, the crowd will be sparse anyway.

This means NU has to travel to find good teams, so the revenue is going the wrong direction in two ways - no income and high travel expenses.

Back during the seasons when the team was a regular in the regionals, the berms and outfield grass areas were often packed. That's where your revenue really comes from, because your season tickets are what they are. Big10 baseball has failed to really captured much interest, I think. I went quite a few times in past years, but haven't been in the last couple. The baseball just isn't very good. Not that my friends represent any sort of random sample, but we're all baseball guys and none of us are all that interested in going to most games. One of them dropped his season tickets this year.

Which leads into my last thought. Going to a game generally isn't on my radar, because I don't enjoy watching Nebraska play. It's just my opinion and I don't want to disparage anyone who thinks differently. I will, however, be at at least one of the AzState games because I want to see THEM play. If attendance is going to improve, Nebraska has to get a lot better. As far as I can tell, there's very little buzz around the idea of baseball in the area. With the early season Nebraska has, I thought it might get going, but the team's recent troubles probably killed that.

So to summarize my thoughts on SSO's question from an attendance standpoint is that I think NU baseball can turn a profit. They're going to have to get back to where NU is hosting regionals again on a regular basis, though. That generates buzz, which leads to excitement, ticket sales, sponsorships, etc. The one thing that works in NU's favor is that people will come out to watch a team that wins. Back when the team was rolling, people who had no concept of baseball were going to the games.

That will be difficult in the Big10, but I do think it's possible.
 
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