Best values for sports fans

AnotherViewsquareDo fans get their full value when they attend live sporting events? Do they go home happy afterwards or suffer buyers’ remorse?

Team Marketing Report (TMR) last month released the NFL “Home Field Disadvantage” report. They used a formula to “create a cost-per-win average” by multiplying a team’s average ticket price by the number of regular-season home games, then dividing it by the number of home wins.

The 2014 Detroit Lions, whose 7-1 home record had the best home-field value, were followed by Green Bay, Denver, Kansas City and Arizona, reports TMR. The worst was Tampa Bay, followed by Tennessee, Chicago, New York Jets and New York Giants.

Our crack “View” research team used the TMR formula to examine the home advantage or disadvantage of the five local pro teams.

The Minnesota Lynx (15-2) last summer offered Twin Cities pro fans their best value ($23.28), followed by the annually woeful Wolves (24-17, $64), the Minnesota Wild (26-15, $65.39), Minnesota Twins (35-46, $76.35), and the Vikings (5-3, $141.65). Vikings fans, during the chilly fall and into serious winter, get the worst for their money.

We also looked at the Gophers and, depending on the team, found even better values:  women’s hockey ($8), volleyball ($10.90), women’s hoops ($14), men’s basketball ($37.20), football ($41) and men’s hockey ($42.50).

When asked, Twins officials argue that attending games at their ballpark is a good value: In part two of this series, we noted that it costs over $200 for a family of four to attend a Twins game, nearly $80 bucks for each win last season.

“Obviously we would like to have won more games than we did last year,” admitted Chris Iles, the team’s corporate and digital communications director, to the MSR during a media luncheon last month. “You can get tickets starting as low as $5 on student days. We got tickets that range from super cheap to as nice as you want. We do think we are pretty a good value here in the market.”

“We’re under-delivering,” added Twins President Dave St. Peter. “Ideally, when you have a competitive Twins team and you combine that with Target Field and the amenities of this ballpark and the game-day experience, I would put our value against any in professional sport.”

Maybe I had it wrong as a youngster going to baseball games or basketball games. I didn’t go to old Tiger Stadium or Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit for the so-called amenities, but rather to root for the home team to win. Afterwards, I evaluated the game-day experience not by the blasting music and endless commercials that didn’t exist at the time, but by whether the Tigers or Pistons won or lost and how they played the game — and nothing more.

And it didn’t cost me a month’s salary or more to attend. Boy, how times have changed.

“Admittedly we’ve got to win baseball games,” said St. Peter. “That part of the experience is important for many of our fans. Not all of our fans — some of our fans are causal fans. They’re here for a night under the stars or a day under the sun. But most of our fans care…about the success on the field.”

An overlooked milestone

Rutgers Women’s Basketball Coach C. Vivian Stringer last week became the Big Ten’s all-time winningest basketball coach. She totaled 169 wins at Iowa, and her Scarlet Knights, new to the conference this season, pushed her past former Penn State coach Rene Portland’s 176 wins.

Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com.