Ticket sales down?

Ramaste

Top Member
Mar 25, 2012
102
199
I'm a pre-Shaka donor, but I don't go as far back as others on this board. I remember 1 year when I got a phone call from freshman Rod Brandenburg thanking me for my donation....even for an old guy like me, that was something special. That was the last phone call or personalized acknowledgement that I have received. Jump to last year when I travel to Brooklyn for the games against Temple and St Johns...not many traveled up for those games. After the Temple game, my friend and I go to the bar set up as the alumni meeting spot....there was Ed, Eric Maynor, and about 10 other fans. I was at the bar..Ed came up to get a beer..I raised my glass and said good game ...Ed gave me a nod and walked away...he wasn't interested in who I was or, more importantly, why I was there...he just knew he didn't recognize me as a big time donor...I've been snubbed enough times in my life that I didnt take it personally.....but if VCU is struggling to fill seats, and I think they are, the personal touch can reaps benefits that go beyond that brief interaction.
 
May 19, 2015
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11,665
I don't think anybody begrudges major donors. I think the question is how does alienating the non-big donors affect things.
How are the non-big donors affected. I ask you specifically because I enjoy and respect your postings and I am missing how the big donors negatively impact their opportunities.
 

Mistachill

Top Member
Apr 20, 2009
16,599
27,139
How are the non-big donors affected. I ask you specifically because I enjoy and respect your postings and I am missing how the big donors negatively impact their opportunities.
Didn't say big donors negatively impact their opportunities. My point is if the AD put their entire focus on cultivating big donors and neglects their average fans/donors, the shift is going to have a negative affect on what (at least from my perspective) VCU was built on. Blue collar, rowdy, passionate fans is what separates us from say UR fans in my opinion. I would hate for the Stu to one day have an atmosphere like the Robins Center because we didn't properly balance the need for corporate support while maintaining the identity we're known for nationally.
 
Mar 2, 2014
1,614
2,115
Didn't say big donors negatively impact their opportunities. My point is if the AD put their entire focus on cultivating big donors and neglects their average fans/donors, the shift is going to have a negative affect on what (at least from my perspective) VCU was built on. Blue collar, rowdy, passionate fans is what separates us from say UR fans in my opinion. I would hate for the Stu to one day have an atmosphere like the Robins Center because we didn't properly balance the need for corporate support while maintaining the identity we're known for nationally.
I don't know, as we age I am seeing more and more sweater vests. Present company included.
 

Ramaholic

Top Member
Mar 8, 2010
731
2,517
My wife and I are Foundation Donors from the original funding of the Siegel Center. It still rankles her how often senior members, Ed and Glenn Hoffman (who is no longer here) walk up our aisle saying hi to others, skipping us. Personally, I could care less and just chalk it up to he and his staff being “northerners” and not skilled in hospitality. I’m sure I’ll be excoriated for that statement. But they sure don’t seem to appreciate long term donors. They strike me as more interested in “what have you done for me lately”. We are still annual Scholarship level donors. Obviously, we do it to support our chosen school.
First, thank you for the amazing support you've given. Whether it is properly recognized or not by VCU, you are a BIG reason why VCU Athletics is where it is at now. There were only several hundred donors back during the Pre-Siegel Center days. And there are only a couple of dozen scholarship level donors. When I hear about folks gushing over Shaka, or WW or MR saving us or keeping the momentum alive, I am like meh. The reason we have maintained our trajectory is because of the few hundred people that supported us in the 70's 80' 90's and the few thousand that support us today. You are at the top of both heaps. People like you have given the students, alums, parents of students and the community a team/ identity to take pride in and cheer for -so very well done sir!!!

As for Ed and staff, they are trying to impossibly thread a needle in trying to make everyone feel important while doing their jobs. I have been to a few events where MR and players are at and it is an impossible task to meet and mingle (as hard as they try) 200 or so people at a reception or coaches show. Ed and staff have several thousand at a home game to navigate. I really think they are doing their best. And if they ever found out you felt you were being snubbed they would take there already overloaded dance card and make sure you were personally greeted each event. I know that isnt what you want as it doesn't seem organic/ authentic, but I really think it is the best they can do. I know the staff is doing their absolute best and they will never be able to equitably balance the 10,000 people who either donate, buy tickets or are passionate fans. I like everyone we have on staff and I give them a pass on anytime they don't strike a perfect balance.
 

Mistachill

Top Member
Apr 20, 2009
16,599
27,139
I don't know, as we age I am seeing more and more sweater vests. Present company included.
Even the younger fans at the Robins Center have a stuffy, pretentious vibe about them. I remember during a game when Grant was coaching, he began pulling the chairs on the court during timeouts and one of their fans whined about whether UR was going to bill VCU for putting scuff marks on the floor. I never want VCU's fan base to transform into that, young or old.
 
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PhantomRam

Top Member
Apr 30, 2009
2,846
7,143
My two cents (that's about what it is worth), I love the SC, great venue for a game, loud, crowd right on top of the floor. But let's be honest the amenities suck. Not quite as bad at GW where the concession stand is a card table, but not much better. The food it poor, the service is poor and the selection is nothing to get excited about. Don't even get me started about the Commonwealth Room. Now, none of this keeps me from coming or expecting something more than what I get for my donation. However, the casual fan might be a bit harder to please or keep. I have been coming to VCU games since 1979 and I have seen several transformations. It's time for another one.
 

MobileMunchies

Top Member
Nov 2, 2013
13,474
39,417
My two cents (that's about what it is worth), I love the SC, great venue for a game, loud, crowd right on top of the floor. But let's be honest the amenities suck. Not quite as bad at GW where the concession stand is a card table, but not much better. The food it poor, the service is poor and the selection is nothing to get excited about. Don't even get me started about the Commonwealth Room. Now, none of this keeps me from coming or expecting something more than what I get for my donation. However, the casual fan might be a bit harder to please or keep. I have been coming to VCU games since 1979 and I have seen several transformations. It's time for another one.
From a long time supporter this is about as precise and reliably valid a summary as one can get.
 
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fmrick

Top Member
Insider
Apr 19, 2009
2,989
4,686
First, thank you for the amazing support you've given. Whether it is properly recognized or not by VCU, you are a BIG reason why VCU Athletics is where it is at now. There were only several hundred donors back during the Pre-Siegel Center days. And there are only a couple of dozen scholarship level donors. When I hear about folks gushing over Shaka, or WW or MR saving us or keeping the momentum alive, I am like meh. The reason we have maintained our trajectory is because of the few hundred people that supported us in the 70's 80' 90's and the few thousand that support us today. You are at the top of both heaps. People like you have given the students, alums, parents of students and the community a team/ identity to take pride in and cheer for -so very well done sir!!!

As for Ed and staff, they are trying to impossibly thread a needle in trying to make everyone feel important while doing their jobs. I have been to a few events where MR and players are at and it is an impossible task to meet and mingle (as hard as they try) 200 or so people at a reception or coaches show. Ed and staff have several thousand at a home game to navigate. I really think they are doing their best. And if they ever found out you felt you were being snubbed they would take there already overloaded dance card and make sure you were personally greeted each event. I know that isnt what you want as it doesn't seem organic/ authentic, but I really think it is the best they can do. I know the staff is doing their absolute best and they will never be able to equitably balance the 10,000 people who either donate, buy tickets or are passionate fans. I like everyone we have on staff and I give them a pass on anytime they don't strike a perfect balance.
Well, what so many of us "older" fans forget, and most younger fans don't realize, is that things are very different today than it was before the SC.

We have been buying season tickets for over 30 years. Back then you did not have to give money to buy tickets. Anyone could just buy tickets and get pretty good seats. As time went on, the number of people buying increased. And the AD started to ask for donation. At first donations were not required to get tickets, they just asked us to donate. Many did. And many did not. As the program started moving forward, they would call and ask that we increase our donations. That is how so many of us got known by people in the AD. They called us asking for money. It was not big money. Later, along came the SC and they stepped it up a notch. As new coaches were hired, at a higher cost, they would call and ask for even more. And again, you got to know the people in the AD because they were calling you every year. Each donor was assigned to someone in the AD. They would be our contact person.

But today it is MUCH different. Not worse, just different. They don't call as much. They can't. Why? Because there are 10 or 20 times as many donors. Last time I looked the number was over 4000. There is just not enough time in the day to keep in touch with all of those people. There is no one I know that has the mental capacity to know that many people by name. So if a member of the AD staff walks by you, don't take offense to it. They can't be expected to know and acknowledge everyone. Sure, they know who some of the key people are. In every group there are people who have the ability to influence others. A smart leader knows who these people are and takes the time "stroke" them. But to know and acknowledge everyone is impossible. I realize that is why I don't still get the calls every season. I'm not offended by it.

I saw a couple posts by people who said something along the lines of- I'm young, starting a family, have other commitments, student debt, etc. Well, I've seen this posted in the past and I will reply in the same way I always have- Give what you can, even if it is a small amount, just start giving. When we first started giving we gave $50/yr. As our circumstances got better, we gave more. Give even if you don't buy season tickets. Every dollar you give to VCU is accounted for. When you start giving you are given an account number. Each time you give, it is credited to your account. So say you are 25 and give $120/yr ($10/month). If you do that for 10 years and then start to want tickets later, your Ram Ranking will be better, and you will pick seats earlier than someone who did not. Part of the Ranking is lifetime giving. So by just giving a little now and increasing a littler here and there, if you EVER want to buy season tickets, your position will be better. Most people start off their adult life with less than they have later in life. But the commitments you make early often pay dividends later.
 
Last edited:

rvaram

Top Member
Mar 26, 2012
2,843
4,508
I'm a pre-Shaka donor, but I don't go as far back as others on this board. I remember 1 year when I got a phone call from freshman Rod Brandenburg thanking me for my donation....even for an old guy like me, that was something special. That was the last phone call or personalized acknowledgement that I have received. Jump to last year when I travel to Brooklyn for the games against Temple and St Johns...not many traveled up for those games. After the Temple game, my friend and I go to the bar set up as the alumni meeting spot....there was Ed, Eric Maynor, and about 10 other fans. I was at the bar..Ed came up to get a beer..I raised my glass and said good game ...Ed gave me a nod and walked away...he wasn't interested in who I was or, more importantly, why I was there...he just knew he didn't recognize me as a big time donor...I've been snubbed enough times in my life that I didnt take it personally.....but if VCU is struggling to fill seats, and I think they are, the personal touch can reaps benefits that go beyond that brief interaction.
I'm surprised to hear that. I've seen Ed in social 52 several times and have really enjoyed talking basketball with him. Maybe he was having an off day.
 
Dec 2, 2012
1,436
1,999
I have said this in other threads over the years but IMHO the AD has seemed to be worried about pennies while dollars walk out the door. I have watched folks get hassled over taking a bottle of water out of the commonwealth room. I have seen fans be forced to chug a full beer because they weren’t allowed to take the beer out of the commonwealth room. I have to imagine those negative fan interactions with staff hurt donor retention.

I do wonder if donor retention would go up if they gave a small discount for beer to season ticket holders, weren’t so strict about brining items out of the commonwealth room, and tried ways to make donors feel special.
Whoa.
Please do not blame VCU for the stupid ABC laws in our Commonwealth.
The beers in the Stu proper, and the beers in the Commonwealth Room, are considered to be sold under different types of permit and there is nothing the school can do about it.
Its state law, not VCU policy.
Also, if you're at the right donor range they do go out of the way to make you feel special, just look at all the people Ed Mclaughlin schmoozes in the commonwealth room, and those he doesn't know.
If you don't feel special enough pony up the dollars and they'll find you.
 

AlienAiden

Top Member
Insider
May 3, 2012
36,545
115,177
Whoa.
Please do not blame VCU for the stupid ABC laws in our Commonwealth.
The beers in the Stu proper, and the beers in the Commonwealth Room, are considered to be sold under different types of permit and there is nothing the school can do about it.
Its state law, not VCU policy.
Also, if you're at the right donor range they do go out of the way to make you feel special, just look at all the people Ed Mclaughlin schmoozes in the commonwealth room, and those he doesn't know.
If you don't feel special enough pony up the dollars and they'll find you.
Correct. I was at the marathon this morning and they would not let us take our beers off of Brown's Island.
 
Dec 2, 2012
1,436
1,999
I don't think anybody begrudges major donors. I think the question is how does alienating the non-big donors affect things.
don't think anybody begrudges major donors.
I have two begrudges.
Corporate donors need to fill the courtside seats, if you can't find a use you could let your janitor use them one night.
And if you'd rather hang out in the hospitAlity room and miss the darn tip off, you should just stay up there an not come down at all. Because you're blocking the site lines of every one else when you come scampering down to your courtside seats five minutes late.