Well, I never thought it would happen, but it finally did. I finally got a response to an email I sent to Dan Guerrero.
Never mind the fact that the response wasn't from Dan himself. He's a busy guy. Lots of Chianti to drink I assume.
But, I did receive a response to the email I posted in the comments of yesterday's Game Screening post.
It came from Associate AD of Marketing and Business Development Scott Mitchell. Here's what he wrote:
Thank you for your note and for your concern regarding the UCLA-Colorado "Game Screening" this Saturday at Pauley Pavilion.
This screening is actually a part of Parents’ Weekend rather than Homecoming. For obvious reasons, the Athletic Department would prefer that all parents and family members attend the game at the Rose Bowl rather than stay on campus and watch it in Pauley Pavilion. There are others on campus that believe it is important to offer an alternative to those parents who may not be able to attend the game in person. Hence, the screening.
This is a link to UCLA Parents’ Weekend. You will see that the navigation of the site and promotion surrounding it encourage game day attendance. Indeed, the majority of parents and family members attending this year’s Parents’ Weekend will cheer the Bruins on in person at the Rose Bowl. Ticket sales to this group have gone very well. The crowd in general will be large.
The screening offering is part of a balanced approach and the direction that UCLA as a whole feels is most appropriate. It is scheduled for a room in Pauley and we believe that it will be a modest event.
Thanks for your support of the UCLA Football program. Our players clearly appreciate the passion and energy shown by so many of the Bruin faithful.
Now, of course, this left me with a few thoughts, which I immediately shared with Scott. This was my response to Scott:
I appreciate the response.
I can understand offering an alternative under the circumstances you've mentioned. However, the Homecoming Committee has chosen to list this event as part of the official Homecoming activities.
Here is a link to the Homecoming schedule: http://www.studentgroups.ucla.edu/homecoming/?page_id=20
That was the impetus for my email, not the schedule for Parents' Weekend. So, now the Game Screening has gone beyond the initial target audience.
The concern obviously is that, by holding such an event, it offers an easy excuse for anyone -- students, parents or both -- to skip the trip to Pasadena. Of course, the fact that we play our home football games 45 minutes (on a good day) from campus doesn't make things easier for anyone.
Perhaps I'm reading the Parents' Weekend site incorrectly, but after looking at the site you sent me, I disagree with the notion that it encourages game attendance.
As I look at the schedule, I noticed that the event listed as "Watch the Football Broadcast" is actually listed before the game itself. I also noticed that the third sentence of the Off-Campus Activities section advises folks to allow 2 hours to drive 25 miles, instead of including that information in the Transportation to the Rose Bowl section on the Football page (http://parentsweekend.ucla.edu/football/). If I'm a parent and I read the page you sent me, my inclination is to say, "Oh, it's going to take two hours to travel 25 miles? Well, why not just watch it at Pauley Pavilion then?"
It just isn't set up to encourage attendance. In fact, it's actually set up to discourage attendance.
As far as attendance goes, it was absolutely wonderful to see 85,000 at the Cal game!
And, while some may question the decision to offer the Groupon offer for the Washington game, I actually think it was an inspired idea to boost attendance for a tough start time on a Friday night. (Can you imagine what traffic will be like for that game?)
But, it sounds to me like the concern that "others on campus" have is that it may not be affordable for everyone. I'm sure that you have a better idea as to exactly how many tickets have been sold but, as of yesterday, according to Ticketmaster.com, there were plenty of GA tickets left (unlike the Cal game). Surely, some sort of Parents' Weekend special package could have been put together to make it more affordable and it could have included an option for a discounted rooter bus ticket for parents attending Parents' Weekend.
My point here is pretty simple.
For most games, there are plenty of tickets available and each unsold ticket represents lost revenue to the Athletic Department, not unlike an unbooked plane ticket or hotel room. Wouldn't it be better to move some of that unsold inventory at a discounted price (not unlike the Groupon offer) and get some revenue from the seats than get no revenue for the unsold seats while hosting a Game Screening at Pauley?
One of my biggest gripes with how UCLA Athletics is run is the fact that, far too often, things are done myopically with no thought to the big picture. I could really go into a long list of things that just make me shake my head, but that would really change the focus of this email. Trying to stay focused on this weekend, I will simply say that this is another one of those examples.
I would be happy to share other examples in a continued conversation.
In fact, in closing, allow me to suggest that the Athletic Department strongly consider implementing some sort of advisory panel/focus group made up of both WAF members and regular season ticketholders that could help to improve the overall experience. I can't tell you how much I would welcome the opportunity to provide feedback that just isn't obtainable from a survey like the one that the WAF just released. As a 15-year season ticketholder, I would hope that you would welcome real, honest feedback from your customers in order to improve the overall customer service experience that you provide to people like myself.
Thanks again for responding,
Have you contacted our Athletic Department yet?