Friday, March 30, 2007

The Boulevard

by Steve Orsini, Director of Athletics

It’s been a while, but I’m glad to be back. I hope everyone has enjoyed our new bloggers. I really think they add to the blog.

By now, several of you have probably received our season ticket renewal plan and accompanying parking plan. I can tell by the postings on the message boards that a few of you may disagree with our decisions regarding the Boulevard. While these were tough decisions, they were decisions that had to be made. When I came to SMU, I was given the challenge of developing a program that is top-25 across the board. To do this, we have to increase our revenues. Our fans should know that everything we do is geared towards reaching that top-25 standard. The revenues we generate will be invested in the programs you support and love.

In the past few months, we have made numerous investments in our football program, including the addition of a new Assistant Coach, a Director of High School Relations, an On-Campus Recruiting Coordinator and three new Strength Coaches. We will also be implementing an aggressive marketing campaign to help grow our fan base and get the SMU brand out to the Dallas community and beyond. The process of becoming a top-25 program requires resources – to get there and to maintain it.

This plan took time to develop. To begin the process, we surveyed members of the Mustang Club, the athletic department and the co-chairmen of the original traditions committee. After evaluating the findings, we worked collaboratively to come up with a new tailgating plan that we could all agree on.

Our new parking plan will help solve a few problems we encountered last year. First and foremost, we’re creating new areas for tailgating. Last season, only a little over 100 groups of fans were able to have a reserved parking spot with an adjacent tailgating spot. For many fans and visitors to the SMU campus, tailgating with convenient parking was unavailable. Our new plan offers choices for all budgets when it comes to parking and tailgating on our beautiful campus on game days.

We also began to have problems with individuals tailgating in areas that were previously “sold” to others. Unfortunately, Boulevard rules, as previously written, hindered our ability to regulate these spaces. To solve this, all tailgating spots will be reserved starting in 2007 and these spots will be protected by SMU P.D. and our gameday security.

The plan should also make it easier to find a place to park as our attendance grows – and it will grow. Our parking plan now mirrors game day parking at most major universities and positions us for success as our program continues to improve. In an effort to enhance the fan experience on the Boulevard, we will also be providing convenient, premium portable restrooms and establish a center walkway the length of the Boulevard.

We thank you again for your support of these changes we are making and look forward to seeing you this fall for exciting collegiate football on the Hilltop. Until then, GO MUSTANGS!


Blogger Jason said...

Thanks for coming on here and explaining the new plan. I don't know how these changes will effect the boulevard and I'm eagerly awaiting my season ticket renewal to go over the plan myself. My greatest concern is that one of the few things that is right with SMU football will be ruined.

I love the plan to be a top 25 program and I understand you must raise the funds to accomplish this, just don't do this at the expense of a great tradition.

I can get on board with the price changes, etc., but please, please, please re-think establishing a center walkway the length of the boulevard. As you can see in the picture posted on the blog, the ability to congregate and mingle make the boulevard special. This move will be akin to what happened in the '50's when cities built freeways through neighborhoods, forever altering the landscape, and community scope.

6:03 PM  
Blogger ItsZep said...

Hopefully these new funds will play a part in helping SMU get to the place we all want to be.

It seems like the jump in prices could have been staggered over a couple of years instead of a one year 800% increase.

My main fear is that some of the long time fans that have supported a BLVD spot will have "sticker shock" at such a large increase and decline to renew and they will be replaced by "wealthy donors" that will not show up on gamedays.

I guess we'll see how it turns out.

I do like the part about BLVD paid members will now have a clearly defined reserved spot. Also the upscale porta-potties is a great and long needed addition.

Not sure if it would be practical or worthwhile, but it would be nice for the Sept games if the SMU work crews zooming around in the golf carts also sold ice to BLVD members. Electrical outlets and lights and speakers up in the trees would be something for the future to consider. Announcements could be made like when the team walks across from Perkins or ads selling other SMU events or a pre-game radio show...ect.

I am sure all these decisions are not easy. Steve thanks for helping SMU find it's way to that "Top 25" goal. Hopefully the Mustangs start winning and the support grows to a point where a BLVD spot is $1000 a season! Now that would be a nice problem to have!

6:35 PM  
Blogger BrianTinBigD said...

I am sure you have considered the situation carefully but please do not use the excuse that you surveyed the Mustang Club. You used a sham survey that only allowed you to raise prices since none of the answers had even remotely resaonable price level responses. I appreciate the fact that you are trying to make everything Top 25 but I would think that maybe you should make the football team Top 50 and make the tourney in basketball before you go Top 25 in prices. As a reminder, this is Dallas. I have many options for my entertainment dollar.
I am a loyal SMU supporter that even travels games. However, after doing the math, it appears it will be cheaper for me to travel to games and tailgate for free than it would be to get a new space on the BLVD.
I will strongly consider buying other options. I can get Cowboy tickets and reserved parking for the prices you are looking to charge. It is about simple economics and you have failed this class.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

What SMU can not afford to do is drive its fans away, and that's exactly what this does. SMU's first home game, against a metroplex rival, would have been the prefect opportunity to showcase your beautiful campus, gorgeous new stadium, and revamped approach to Mustang Athletics. However, these ridiculous prices and even more ridiculous policies will keep THOUSANDS of people away.

As a UNT alum, I tailgate every game. We get there at 10am, pay our $10 for access to the parking lot (at the stadium), set up our generator to power our televisions, and just watch college football, grill, and socialize all day. After last year's success up in Denton, we were so excited at the opportunity to take our set-up 'on the road', and party alongside SMU students and alum.

However, we have decided to haul everything down to Austin and watch TCU play UT (2 real-life top 25 teams!) because including gas, it's cheaper. Shame on SMU for bringing $ and profits into the arguement. Why don't you try expanding your fan base instead of bleeding your few fans dry.

8:47 AM  

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