Foley's Friday Mailbag: Oct. 19, 2012
T.R. Foley, InterMat Senior Writer
firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @trfoley
InterMat senior writer T.R. Foley answers reader questions about NCAA wrestling, international wrestling, recruiting, or anything loosely related to wrestling. You have until Thursday night every week to send questions to Foley's Twitter or email account.
Do you want to read a past mailbag? View archives.
I'm always tempted to answer in public the questions and comments that are sent in private. There have been rambunctious rants, vitriolic attacks and spirited defenses. They pour in from all corners of the country and I even have gotten a few from abroad. When readers and their comments are kept quiet, the tone of the emails can turn sour. But not to worry, if you've sent, or plan to send, one of these spirited emails, know that I appreciate your time and opinion and will always keep them confidential. I'm not always right, and I don't always carry the most popular opinion, but I'm writing because I love wrestling, which I recognize is also why you are writing.
We are a little more than two weeks away from the season. Send in your questions and opinions and I'll do my best to answer every week.
Final note. We postponed the release of the new podcast "Back Points with T.R. Foley" until next week. The podcast opens with Cal Poly head wrestling coach Brendan Buckley and continues the following week with another big guest. I'm hoping that out new format and logo will attract new wrestling fans. If not, we'll still be having fun and talking wrestling so feel free to give it a listen at work or on the road.
Your mail ...
Q: Why do we see all those empty prime viewing seats at the "sold-out" NCAA Championships year after year? Last year, plenty of lower level, center mat seats were empty for the semifinals and even the finals.
-- Dick F.
Foley: I haven't spent much time watching the NCAA Championships on television, but I can give three possible explanations for the empty seats. First, there is always a section reserved for wrestlers and coaches. Sometimes these seats are left vacant, especially in the semifinal rounds when some wrestlers are on the mat and others are in the back warming up. Second, there is always an exclusive sitting area by the mat made up of folding chairs and left for dignitaries from the city and heroes of our sport. Some don't show and there are always lots of empty seats.
There are always empty prime viewing seats during critical rounds, like the semifinals and finals, of the NCAAs? (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)The other theory is just what constitutes a sellout. For more information I turned to "Man, Economy & Sport," a blog that breaks down the financials of sports using statistics and lesser-known laws and regulations. According to ME&S the term "sellout" only refers to what the primary vendor is selling. For instance, if the host venue has 18,000 tickets and they sell all 18k then the venue is technically a sellout. However, those tickets are sold to secondary markets like fans from Ohio State or Virginia or Wyoming, and tertiary markets like eBay, StubHub and TicketMaster. Anyone who has tried to buy tickets a week before NCAAs knows that the tickets on the tertiary market are expensive and sold above face value. However, they don't sell all those tickets. To make a profit they might only need to sell sixty or seventy percent of their stock to turn a profit. Therefore you'd get a portion of the premium tickets which go unsold.
MS&E did a nice write-up on the elasticity of the NFL marketplace for tickets after the Jets were recently scared into thinking that they might have a mostly empty Meadowlands. The political and economic issues are more complex, but it's an interesting read.
Marshall PeppelmanQ: What is the word on Marshall Peppelman? Will he be in Cornell's lineup at 174 pounds?
-- Andy P.
Foley: Yes. I'd expect that he'd wrestle the whole year and I'd expect him to make the NCAA tournament. He's a top fifteen wrestler.
Q: Are there too many college rankings?
-- Jason S.
Foley: No. Who am I to stop everyone from ranking their own wrestlers. It's a horribly difficult job because as the ranker worries about 770 starting wrestlers fitting correctly into 200 spots, the invested reader is worried about how ONE wrestler fits into a range of about ten wrestlers. Good rankings are very difficult to master, and though I'm biased, InterMat has the most trusted rankings every week of the season.
It's also important to remember that rankings often have a stench of geographical biases. No harm, it's natural to rank the guys you know and have seen above those that you haven't.
But like I said, we are the best in the business and have been for a very long time.
Q: What do you think of Flo hosting the NWCA All-Star Classic?
-- Brian H.
Foley: Flo isn't hosting the event, but they are carrying it on their site. I LOVE the idea of Flo on the job. Last year was awful. Fans couldn't get the feed and when you the feed arrived it was choppy and mostly unwatchable. Assuming that the guys at Flo get the technical aspect correct I think it'll be a big success for their site and for fans. Video and video streaming are what Flo does and they do it better than any other company in wrestling. I think they're offering it to their Technique Wave subscribers, though I'd assume they'll let viewers buy a one-month subscription in order to watch the event.
Another reader directed me to the Flo message boards which were filled with fans complaining about the company's business practices. Even a cursory glance at the 150+ comments showed frustration with Flo not only for charging $20 fee,but for doing so after so many years of talking about how they'd "do this for free." I'm more than willing to pay for the NWCA All-Star Classic, but I'd prefer not to give my credit card to the company and risk forgetting to cancel and being charged $20-a-month. That's the same business method as FreeCreditReport.com. But they have singing pirates on commercials during "American Idol" so maybe it'll create some cheddar for the Austin-based video company. I'd think the company will respond to the backlash by offering a one-time option as well, though I also read that some of their Tech Wave subscribers felt that they weren't getting enough value in the past and that this event would help make up for it. Tough business decisions ahead for Flo.
What is more compelling to me is how much the NWCA earned in exchange for the rights. Will let you know if that answers bubbles up soon.
Q: Haiku about Trev Alberts incompetence?
Foley: Leader's blonde crew cut
Fire Trev Alberts Now