I’ve been a season ticket holder for UCLA Football for 25 years. 2020 will be the first year in a long time that I will not have “re-upped”.
And apparently, I’m not the only one. Here’s a count of the season ticket subscriptions sold in the past 40 years:
EARLY SIGNS OF COACH JIM MORA’S DEMISE (2014-2017)
If you wondered what really caused Jim Mora’s firing in 2017, you need look no further than the season ticket subscriber data. Between 2014 & his firing in 2017, there was an incredible 30% decline in season ticket subscribers.
EXCITEMENT FROM COACH CHIP KELLY’S HIRING (2017)
There was a small 4% increase in subscribers from 2017 & 2018 likely due to excitement from the hiring of a flashy new coach known for high flying offenses.
BAD TEAM PERFORMANCE (2018)
You’ll notice the massive 26% decline in subscribers between 2018 & 2019. The 2018 campaign with Chip Kelly’s first year as head coach was a disaster.
What can we expect in 2020? Well, UCLA’s 2019 record was 4-8 – one win better than it’s 2018 record of 3-9. So that’s not great. And they lost to USC – something they didn’t do even in 2018.
But Bruins have always come to the games regardless of how bad things were… so why would 2020 be any different?
Enter Dan Guerrero. (Or *exit* depending on your viewpoint.) UCLA Athletics UTTERLY ABUSED it’s fan base over the last 5 years:
- $100 MANDATORY DONATION
All season ticket holder subscribers were required to “donate” $100 to the Athletic Association whether you liked it or not. It was the equivalent of a price hike but because it was donation, UCLA gets the benefit of the money not having been part of a sale – i.e. non-taxable.
The privilege of parking on the golf course each game to walk 1/4 mile to the Rose Bowl is now $30. At the turn of the century it was FREE. Roughly every other year this fee has gone up $5.
Nachos are now $18. Fries are now $15. 6 Buffalo Wings are now $17. The price of food in the Rose Bowl has officially gotten stupid.
The Rose Bowl has always disallowed alcohol within the stadium. But wait! Now, you can pay for the privilege of being able to purchase & drink alcohol in the venue!
- ARE YOU A $1000 DONOR? You get access to the “Beer Garden” – a gated area within the stadium where you can purchase wine & beer.
- ARE YOU A SPONSOR?
If you are, for example, affiliated with TCL, a major sponsor of UCLA football, you get access to their “game party” within the stadium… where alcohol is served.
- $100 WORTHLESS TICKETS
The Oklahoma/UCLA game last year was $100 per ticket & all season ticket holders got 1 ticket. Guess what game no one wanted to go to? Never mind that you couldn’t sell your ticket because no one was buying: The Athletic administration couldn’t even GIVE AWAY tickets to the game. They sent a mail – in desperation – to all season ticket holders that they were giving away 4 FREE tickets to the Oklahoma/UCLA game to each subscriber. I stayed home and watched them get slaughtered 48-14.
Besides no longer being fun to watch – who likes being a perennial loser – everywhere you turn at the Rose Bowl, UCLA football games are a constant reminder of how the athletic department treats its fans as nothing more than a revenue source to monetize & milk.
I think many fans understood that a top tier coach is expensive and that operating a team with quality training resources, quality assistant coaches, and facilities to be proud of requires money. But this is a bridge too far.