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Author Topic: Why the Hogs vs Tulsa Series needs to stay exactly as is (my rebuttal to Dave Sittler)  (Read 1102 times)

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Direct link to Dave Sittler's "It's time for TU to stop playing Mr. Nice Guy and Arkansas" column
Direct link to "Mr. Sittler has sour grapes with his breakfast in T-Town" on
Direct link to Arkansas vs Tulsa Series records

I, like many others, had the opportunity to read Mr. Sittler's OpEd piece as to why Tulsa's gotten the short end of the stick when playing Arkansas. Fact of the matter, whether you agree with him or not, he does bring up an interesting point: Tulsa has played a disproportionate amount of games in Arkansas. 41 straight games, starting in 1953. Two in Little Rock (1973 & 1985) and 39 in Fayetteville. It's time to tackle the three main points/flaws that I see with Mr. Sittler's arguments. Some of these points were already brought up or alluded to in the original Hogville thread linked above.

#1: What Mr. Sittler might not understand is that there are some agreements in place that dictate how we can set up not only our conference games, but our OOC games.

The Southeastern Conference specifically states that a minimum of 6 Conference games must be played in a Home Stadium.

Further, the Arkansas Razorbacks have an agreement with War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock, AR that calls for one conference game and one OOC game to be played every year through 2016.

This locks up 6 home games and one non-conference game out of 12 every year. In most years, we have to play at least 3 conference road games (most years it's 4). This leaves 1-2 games a year that we have a bit of flexibility on. The problem becomes, however, is who to schedule, and where? Arkansas Razorback fans travel well and are known to buy up as many tickets as possible, especially marquee match ups. The issue is that playing games in a 30,000 seat stadium doesn't bring in the visibility/exposure that a school from a Power Conference really needs.

#2: What Mr. Sittler might also be forgetting is that there is a huge difference in not only Stadium size, but attendance, as well.

Before I dig into this argument, you should probably look at the stats I referenced. It took me a few hours to compile this information and get it human readable. I should note that I am only utilizing data from 1948 through 2010, since these are the only years that I could find direct attendance information for both schools and all three "home" stadiums. I should note that there are less than 5 home games on Tulsa's side where I could not obtain attendance information, so for these two years, the attendance figures might be slightly incorrect. Figures shown are yearly capacity totals, not on a per game capacity total.

Link to the Tulsa vs Arkansas Attendance Figures in PDF format

Hog fans pack a stadium very well. The last time the Razorbacks had a sub 90% capacity percentage was 1996. The last time Tulsa had higher than a 90% capacity percentage was... well... never.

If you take War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock (a stadium nearly twice the size of Tulsa's Chapman Stadium), the Razorbacks have averaged an overfilled stadium 8 years out of 11 (2000 - 2010).

Keeping in mind that Tulsa's stadium seats only 30,000 27,748, and already has issues filling the stadium consistently, how would you propose to accommodate for the well traveled Razorback fan? I should note that I saw where Chapman Stadium's seating capacity was downgraded several times.  Yes, so has Little Rock's, but only by 500 seats, not the nearly 18,000 seats Chapman's reduced over the years.

#3: Further, I should note that Tulsa is actually the third biggest/most prolific school in the State of Oklahoma, so this may also have a factor (both revenue and TV Markets).

Let's talk numbers. Tulsa gets a reported $1m for coming to Arkansas. That's not including the nearly 7500 seats Tulsa gets to sell for its allocation (an average $40 ticket price (I am intentionally underestimating ticket costs) yields an additional $300K in revenue). Travel expenses should be minimal for a two hour road trip.

I ran through some quick numbers. Season ticket sales total $4.3m annually (ESTIMATE ONLY). Let's add approximately $700K for single game ticket sales, bringing FB revenues to approximately $5 million a year. This means that each game brings in approximately $833,333. This is assuming 100% capacity, which we know is NOT the case here.

If you wanted Arkansas to come and play at Chapman Stadium, it's going to take a bit more than the $1 million Tulsa gets. Are you prepared to actually lose money on this deal? I would estimate that Tulsa would go into the red by $450,000 to have Arkansas come and play in Tulsa.

Fact of the matter is that it is not in anyone's best financial interest for Arkansas to come to Tulsa.

It's got to be tough being 3rd in the state, surrounded by two Power Conferences (Big 12 North, West and South of you as well as SEC to the West (twice) and South). I can't imagine the TV market for Tulsa being all too strong, compared to the Big 12 and SEC TV markets.

In this day and age, everything is driven by not just number of butts sitting in the seat at a Stadium. It's also driven by number of butts listening on Radio and watching (online and offline).

Dollar for Dollar and Fan for Fan, Tulsa simply doesn't have the financial resources nor the facilities for Arkansas to come play a game in Tulsa.

The only way this could potentially become a viable option is for Tulsa's own fans to start packing Chapman Stadium and for TU to expand to at least 50K, or for this game to be played neutrally in a stadium that can easily handle 50-70K people. The issue is that this is NOT a marquee match up (a 16-53-3 record against the Hogs proves this, time and time again).

I'm sorry, Mr. Sittler, if you're upset that the Hogs won't do a return game to Tulsa. It's just not financially possible to do so. Oh, and even if you think your own Athletic Director is a jerk, it seems that he's smart enough to realize the financial ramifications, as well. You've got to give him credit for that.

(For Hog fans, any comments about GSD will be bounced... this is not the thread for it. And yes, the same analogy can be applied to Arkansas State, sadly. And yes, I am one of those that would support an UA vs ASU game, if there weren't financial limitations on it.)

Edits above is due to clarification from Reply #7 on this thread]]Reply #7 on this thread. All inaccurate information now has a strikethrough it and corrected text immediately after it. The rest of the information above and below are correct, however.

Some additional points to note:

* I did not factor in any revenues from money collected for Tulsa to travel to OOC Opponents.

* The Tulsa Stadium Revenue numbers do NOT factor in any seat allocations to Opposing teams at Chapman Stadium (AKA 100% of the revenues shown are allocated to Tulsa). We all know that this is NOT the case. I estimate that between 2500 - 5000 seats are set aside for fans of opposing schools. This further hurts the actual total revenue estimates I've given above.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2012, 08:17:22 am by Douglas »
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