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Southwestern University (SWU), a large state college in Stephenville, Texas, 30 miles southwest of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, enrolls close to 20,000 students. In a typical town–gown relationship, the school is a dominant force in the small city, with more students during fall and spring than permanent residents.

A longtime football powerhouse, SWU is a member of the Big Eleven conference and is usually in the top 20 in college football rankings. To bolster its chances of reaching the elusive and long-desired number-one ranking, in 2005 SWU hired the legendary Bo Pitterno as its head coach. Although the number-one ranking remained out of reach, attendance at the five Saturday home games each year increased. Prior to Pitterno’s arrival,attendance generally averaged 25,000 to 29,000 per game. Season ticket sales bumped up by 10,000 just with the announcement of the new coach’s arrival. Stephenville and SWU were ready to move to the big time! The immediate issue facing SWU, however, was not NCAA ranking. It was capacity.

The existing SWU stadium, built in 1953, has seating for 54,000 fans. The following table indicates attendance at each game for the past six years. One of Pitterno’s demands upon joining SWU had been a stadium expansion, or possibly even a new stadium. With attendance increasing, SWU administrators began to face the issuehead-on. Pitterno had wanted dormitories solely for his athletes in the stadium as an additional feature of any expansion. SWU’s president, Dr. Marty Starr, decided it was time for his vice president of development to forecast when the existing stadium would “max out.” He also sought a revenue projection,assuming an average ticket price of $20 in 2011 and a 6.5% increase each year in future prices.

Discussion Questions

1. Develop a forecasting model, justify its selection over other techniques, and project attendance through 2015.

2. What revenues are to be expected in 2014 and 2015?

3. Discuss the school’s options

2008 2009 2010

Game

Attendees

Opponent

Attendees

Opponent

Attendees

Opponent

1

34,500

Baylor

36,500

Oklahoma

36,100

TCU

2*

39,900

Texas

40,100

Nebraska

45,600

Texas Tech

3

38,000

LSU

39,500

UCLA

43,500

Alaska

4**

26,500

Arkansas

25,300

Nevada

27,000

Arizona

5

34,500

USC

36,500

Ohio

39,500

Rice

2011

2012

2013

Game

Attendees

Opponent

Attendees

Opponent

Attendees

Opponent

1

41,500

Arkansas

43,000

Indiana

47,000

TCU

2*

46,900

Missouri

49,300

North Texas

50,500

Texas Tech

3

43,500

Missouri

44,500

Texas A&M

46,000

Alaska

4**

30,500

Miami

34,000

Southern

36,500

Arizona

5

41,000

Duke

48,000

Oklahoma

50,000

Rice

*Homecoming games

**During the fourth week of each season, Stephenville hosted a hugely popular southwestern crafts festival. This event brought tens of thousands of tourists to the town, especially on weekends, and had an obvious negative impact on game attendance.

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