Rivals has collected football season ticket prices and minimum donations at the 120 FBS schools for the 2010 season. The donations work like NFL personal seat licenses. Programs realize there is "money on the table" since some fans place a higher value on attendance at home games than what it costs to get season tickets. So schools charge a fee to capture some of that value in order to generate maximum revenue.
There's not a lot of surprising things in there, at least to this economist. Ohio State tops the list with a minimum donation of $1,500 - you could get a nice, new Fender Strat for that - and a ticket price of $606 for a minimum total of $2,107. Nebraska is high on the list as is Notre Dame.
I was surprised to see Wisconsin so far at the top of the list, but it's minimum donation amount of $1,000 allows the donor to buy multiple tickets, so that skews the Badgers' ranking.
UW only charges students $154 for season tickets, plus a $20 donation, er, "processing fee." The students get poorer-quality seats, but the much-cheaper price a student has to pay relative to the average non-student indicates they use price discrimination to generate revenue. There's no surprise there either.
If you want long-term success in your football program, then you need a fan base willing to shell out the big bucks, and the Ohio State University has that. So does Notre Dame, Michigan, Oklahoma, etc.
Of course having a fan base isn't sufficient at driving a successful football program. You also need a supportive administration and a head coach who can surround himself with good people and good players and who can coach those players up. Bill Callahan, I'm thinking of you.
Via Wiz of Odds