Which B1G team provided its home fans the best value in 2015?
For consumers of college football in the 21st century, value is often overlooked.
Even though ticket sales in college football dropped for the fifth straight year, the ticket price of an average home game did not. In fact, half the B1G had an average home ticket price north of $95 per game in 2015.
Tixers.com found the average home ticket price for each B1G team last year, which probably didn’t reveal anything shocking. It’s really expensive to watch Ohio State and not very expensive to watch Purdue.
But both of those teams got to host nearly the same competition. Their home strength of schedule wasn’t all that different, so there was opportunity for both teams to provide their fans with value based on performance.
This isn’t saying a neutral fan is better off spending its dollars going to a Purdue game instead of a Michigan game. Everybody loves their team and is going to spend X amount of dollars to see them play, and hopefully win.
The goal of this metric was to pinpoint which B1G teams provided their home fans with the most success per dollar spent in 2015. To find that, I took the average home ticket price and divided it by the number of home wins. Home games do not include neutral site games, which meant Illinois and Maryland were the only teams at a disadvantage with six home games instead of a possible seven.
So with that being said, here’s how those numbers shook out:
Scale — Average home ticket price/home win = value
- 14. Nebraska — $176.26/3 = $58.75
- 13. Rutgers — $96.77/2 = $48.39
- 12. Ohio State — $221.32/6 = $36.89
- 11. Michigan — $163.75/5 = $32.75
- 10. Minnesota — $94.28/3 = $31.43
- 9. Maryland — $60.53/2 = $30.27
- 8. Penn State — $180.83/6 = $30.14
- 7. Indiana — $71.66/3 = $23.89
- 6. Purdue — $43.97/2 = $21.99
- 5. Illinois — $79.37/4 = $19.84
- 4. Wisconsin — $95.08/5 = $19.02
- 3. Michigan State — $109.32/7 = $15.62
- 2. Iowa — $96.24/7 = $13.75
- 1. Northwestern — $54.73/6 = $9.12
Go figure that the team with the nation’s longest sellout streak (Nebraska) was the worst value of any B1G team in 2015. That’s what happens when you go 3-4 at home. And Northwestern, the team with the worst attendance in the B1G, was the best value. That’s what happens when you go 6-1 at home.
But maybe it’s unfair to treat every home win equally. After all, Nebraska’s win against Michigan State should carry more weight than Northwestern’s win against Eastern Illinois.
This, ultimately, is about value to home fans. B1G wins mean more than non-conference wins and beating a ranked team means more than beating an unranked team. Even a close loss to a ranked team is of some value to home fans.
With that in mind, let’s adjust the scale and see how the numbers change:
- Victory vs. team in final AP top 25 = 2
- Victory vs. unranked B1G team = 1.5
- Victory vs. unranked non-conf. team = 1
- Single-digit loss vs. ranked team = 0.5
- 14. Rutgers — $96.77/2.5 = $38.71
- 13. Nebraska — $176.26/5.5 = $32.00
- 12. Ohio State — $221.32/8 = $27.67
- 11. Maryland — $60.53/2.5 = $24.21
- 10. Michigan — $163.75/7 = $23.39
- 9. Penn State — $180.83/9 = $20.09
- 8. Minnesota — $94.28/5 = $18.86
- 7. Illinois — $79.37/4.5 = $17.64
- 6. Purdue — $43.97/2.5 = $17.59
- 5. Indiana — $71.66/4.5 = $15.92
- 4. Wisconsin — $95.08/7 = $13.58
- 3. Michigan State — $109.32/10 = $10.93
- 2. Iowa — $96.24/9 = $10.69
- 1. Northwestern — $54.73/8.5 = $6.44
You’ll notice that the numbers changed, but not very much. No B1G team moved more than two spots up or down. Northwestern’s value was still the best.
That’s not to say that Ryan Field is a better fan experience than Beaver Stadium. But all things neutral, Northwestern provided its home fans the most value based on the product on the field.
You’ll notice the four best value teams finished in the final AP top 25. They also weren’t in the top four in average home ticket price.
If you want to take out the ticket price element and just look at which teams provided their fans the best on-field product, that would technically be Michigan State. Even though the Spartans’ two best wins came on the road, they ran the table at home and beat a ranked Oregon team in non-conference play.
Iowa, which earned the second-best value in both metrics, was the only other team that went undefeated at home. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Iowa and MSU wound up in Indianapolis.
It’d be challenging for teams like Nebraska, Ohio State or Penn State to ever get into the top half of either value rankings because of how expensive their tickets are. Even if OSU beat MSU and finished with an unbeaten home slate, it still would’ve only been 10th in the adjusted scale rankings. And even if OSU also won a non-conference game against a ranked team like MSU did, the Buckeyes would’ve still only been 10th.
This metric shows that while teams like Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern and Wisconsin aren’t considered blue bloods, they made their fans happy in 2015 — without breaking the bank.