FanPost

Pollard's Efficient Frontier

L'ames-sur-dames, Iowa -- (September 13, 2007)  Iowa State University athletic director Jamie "Macro Whiz" Pollard today announced that all tickets for Saturday's annual intrastrate game with Iowa were no longer valid.

The move appeared unprecedented in college football history.

"I'm sorry if these clowns -- heh heh -- can't read the fine print on the back of their tickets, much less price the option I dropped in there," Pollard said, referencing language on the back of the ticket in 1.1 point type.  The language, revealed by University of Iowa forensic medicine students using their latest electron microscope, indeed allows ISU to cancel the ticketholder's right to enter the stadium on September 15.

L'ames-sur-dames, Iowa -- (September 13, 2007)  Iowa State University athletic director Jamie "Macro Whiz" Pollard today announced that all tickets for Saturday's annual intrastrate game with Iowa were no longer valid.

"Void.  Burn 'em.  You don't even have to tear them up," Pollard said.

The move appeared unprecedented in college football history.

"I'm sorry if these clowns -- heh heh -- can't read the fine print on the back of their tickets, much less price the option I dropped in there," Pollard said, referencing language on the back of the ticket in 1.1 point type.  The language, revealed by University of Iowa forensic medicine students using their latest lab equipment, indeed allows ISU to cancel the ticketholder's right to enter the stadium on September 15.

"But I didn't come here to be popular.  I came here to do things, change things, polish my resume and quickly get hired someplace with bigger McMansions and more BMWs at the coffee shop.  So deal with it."

Background to Pollard's Decision to Cancel Purchased Tickets

"It's really all about a Markowitz curve," the former Wisconsin assistant athletic director said.  "You know, efficient frontiers, maximum economic returns for a given supply-demand condition, and constraints.  These are terms of art I don't understand at all, but then, neither do the reporters at the Register so who the fuck is the wiser?"

"Well, people thought it was extremely strange that I deliberately undersold Trice by 27% for the biggest game of our year, probably one of Iowa's biggest, and certainly the game with the broadest statewide support," said the state employee whose pension and health benefits (paid for by people who could not buy tickets, or just had them voided by some asshole who's lived here for two years) outstrip those of any unfortunate sad sack motherfucker who has a real job in the private economy.  "But I counted on the fact that no one would report the story accurately, and, fuck if I'm not right.  They didn't.

"But they still don't know the half of it.  If I can't enhance my risk-adjusted annuity value of ticket sales but saying "Fuck you, and your combine" to people who had gotten used to this being a pretty fun, if somewhat tawdry (for Iowa) annual exercise in football theatrics, then what's the point of the game?  How'm I gonna get enough debt to finance some new facilities, TV and billboards?  Have you seen the commercial credit market the past three weeks?  It's bloody, worse, I suspect, than we're going to look after the Nebraska game.

"You think this is about football, small towns, and whether or not Iowans are going to take to an uptight southerner to replace that maniac McCarney?  Fuck no!  This is about facilities, annuitized contracts, putting lipstick on a very big pig, and my fucking career, which I am not going to finish in L'ames-sur-dames, no thank you very much.  This is about fucking me!  So spare me the tearful yeomen who can't get into their beloved Trice -- they're not doing anything, for me."

The Decision

Pollard realized on Wednesday, September 12 that in his bold move to suppress attendance at Trice he'd left money on the table.

"I mean, how the fuck will that look in my next interview," Pollard said.  "I got this call from some dope on the west coast, some Sergey something-or-other, Gin, Grin, Brin, I don't know.  He said wanted to attend the game on Saturday with some of his staff.  Apparently they have some Clowns -- er, Clones -- working out there in California and he just wanted to make a small donation to the university and fly some fucking 767 or other in here with some staff.  He said, "I hear you only have 41,000 seats sold, so seems like we could disappear into the mix and no one would be the wiser."

"Certainly not the Register, I thought.

"Now I'm not AD for nothing.  As I said, this is all about me, my facilities, and my revenue.  Got that?  So I said, No fucking way.  Like, we undersold this stadium for a reason.

"So the guy goes, what's the expected take?

"And I said, oh, if we pro rate the extorted season tickets, maybe $2.3, $2.4 mil."

"And he said, I'll take it."

"Take what?"  I said.

"I'll take the stadium.  I'll write you a check for $3mm.  You tell everyone else to stay home.  You get more money, more attention, there's no need for all the concession/security/clean-up spending you'll have to do.  Me and my buds, about 50 of us, will watch the game.  You can still put it up on that bicycling tv network if you want, for the losers who will lose their tickets or just didn't have the scratch to begin with.

"Sergey," I said, "that's brilliant.  YOU'RE brilliant.  But it's not enough.  This will cost me plenty.  Strange as it sounds, some people will say I out-thought myself.  That's embarrassing.  Hurt me, next interview.  I'll need at least $3.5mm."

"No dice."

"Okay, sure, just kidding.  I guess I just found my efficient frontier, eh?  My point of maximum return."

"Maybe.  For this weekend."

Next Year

Pollard had no direct comment when asked if he was considering cancelling 11 of the 12 games and auctioning the remaining contest to billionaires on eBay.  Then, oddly, he started talking and wouldn't shut up.  

"It's an interesting idea," he said.  "Why not take the season private?  So we forfeit 11 games?  Saves some wear and tear, we're the suck anyhow, and this way we elevate our profile and revenue per game attributes to something approaching those of the New York Giants.  Do you think they're hiring?  Anyway, I was thinking we might really cater to whomever bought the game and took it private: you know, dedicated cheerleaders, and I don't mean those college girls, maybe private comfort stations, hire a few of the ex-NFL Europe types to shore up the two-deep, shit like that.  That might be good for an SI cover.  For me, I mean.  It's really all about me.  Me, and my career.  I think if we sell the entire season in the form of one game some dipshit will pay $20-$30mm.  We're way ahead, there.  Of course, I wouldn't want to just spring it on everybody.  Have to break them into the idea slowly.  Talk to the Register, you know."

One Reaction by an Iowan

"I don't know about this," said Larry Petersen of rural Joice, Winnebago County, Iowa, ISU 1979 and 1982.  Petersen roomed with former ISU and NFL star Maynard Stensrud.  "I used to enjoy going to the games, and you know, I have a couple of degrees from Ames, so that was good to revisit and relive.  I sent two of my kids down there too, and they seemed to like it.  And my cousin down in Iowa City and I, well, we just kinda joked about the game, most years, and it was fun, and usually we would get together and see the game, down at Ames or over in Iowa City.

"I guess that just doesn't fit into Mr. Pollard's strategic plan.  I do wish," said the commodities-trading grain farmer, renowned at the coffee shop for going long corn 6 months before the ethanol boom took hold, "he would stop with the self-serving rhetoric about revenue and optionality and long-term vision, Markowitz and the like.  Dilbert, now that might be more appropriate business reference for that individual."

"But you never know.  Maybe Iowa will continue the games, and we'll be able to go to one occasionally down in Iowa City.  They seem to have a different outlook, you know.  Somehow you just get the impression it's still about the game, the small towns, and the kids on the field under a fine autumn sky.  When we're talking about Iowa, I mean to say.  Not Iowa State.  I hope so, anyway.  I do enjoy football.  Don't people miss football, in L'ames?  Strange, that you'd organize a game so that people could not attend."

Unless otherwise expressly indicated by BHGP editors, this FanPost is strictly the viewpoint of the author and is not endorsed by BHGP in any way.

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