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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 3

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 3 51 to sell seats. I think we are laying everything out on the table and looking at options. We have gone through some yield-management exercises and done some analysis. Dy- namic pricing (offering different prices for different loca- tions and/or higher-profile games) is something we have done here a little bit and is something we will continue to do, but we are not doing some of the crazy things that some of the other schools are doing." The process is pretty straight-forward for Butikofer and staff: Plan for success but be nimble enough to alter the plan by using data available to maximize opportunity. "This football team will continue to improve under Coach Brohm. They will do their part," Butikofer said. "So there are no excuses (on our part). When I came in, there was already a set culture, system and set pricing, but I want our group to be positioned where they can be full-throttle in marketing and sales. I want them to be aligned with the current success of this football program and the future success as well." IMPROVING THE EXPERIENCE STEP-BY-STEP In terms of the fan experience, both Butikofer and Peludat know there are upgrades and improvements needed in Ross-Ade Stadium. The sound system and south-end scoreboard are not up to par and are first in line to be improved, though it likely won't be immediate. The expansive south end zone project remains down the road, and other improvements like adding WiFi — a seven-figure proposition — are being studied. "Technology changes so fast that we really have to eval- uate the value of in-stadium WiFi," Peludat said. "Not many stadiums have it because it is so expensive. We just want an environment where phones will work and build it from there." Also, improving the point of sale for concessions is a top priority. Due to the flood of last-minute single-game ticket sales for three of its best-attended contests (Ohio, Michigan and Indiana), it was a challenge to have enough food and drink to handle the demand. "Our challenge is that the stadium wasn't built to effec- tively serve 57,000 people from a concessions standpoint," Peludat said. "So if you look at the ideal number of POS (point of sale) units, it's supposed to be somewhere in the 280 range to handle that many people. We have just over half of what we need at 150, so that's a priority to increase." Despite the lack of POS units, beer sales, in its first season sold throughout the stadium, went well, providing an additional $100,000 per game in revenue. More impor- tantly, it went off with few incidents thanks, in part, to concessionaire Levy for being creative and accommodat- ing, according to Butikofer. EXPANDING THE FOOTPRINT Purdue's football marketing effort is focused on creat- ing the right atmosphere for all Purdue fans. A winning team is one thing, but making the entire experience of attending a college football game the most engaging, fan-friendly experience is always the priority and can al- ways be improved. And there are strategic initiatives outside of Tippeca- noe County that are key focuses. "We need to be in better position to attack more busi- ness in Indianapolis, so that people come here (for games and events) and we exceed expectations," Butikofer said. "Even if we can get people just coming back for one game annually, if we can get the Indy crowd thinking that way, we're going to be in way better shape than we are right now. "Everybody wants a positive experience, especially when you talk about pursuing the family dollar. That's what we are really going to focus on, that this is a fami- ly-friendly environment for everyone." It's the experience that Butikofer had growing up in and around Kinnick Stadium. "It is great to have kids on campus hanging outside of the stadium on gameday throwing the football," Butikofer said. "I can point to the exact blade of grass outside Kinn- ick Stadium where my grandpa and I used to do just that. "Those memories and family experiences are hard to du- plicate in today's world, and you can't put a dollar value on it. I think as we get that family business from places like In- dianapolis, Chicago and beyond, it is critical that you have your infrastructure (in place) and always (are) in the best position to put your best foot forward." To that end, it appears Purdue is well-positioned to have a big year both on and off the Ross-Ade Stadium field in 2018. j

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