Hi Bill. This is The Coug Sports Blog talking. I've got one big request for you and I think you need to make it happen this Summer. I know you would love to lock up Oregon at Qwest Field. I know that First and Goal has told you that Oregon is the bigger potential money draw and the two teams against each other virtually assures a sellout each year and big public interest in King County. I know you have visions of completely drowning out the Huskies one week out of the football season and making it all about the Northwest version of the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (Georgia vs. Florida in Jacksonville).
The thing is, I think you have the wrong team targeted. I understand why you think Oregon is a great fit. You know better than anyone EXACTLY how much they make per home game and how much they make when they travel to Pullman. You can do the math and make this a profitable venture for them. No one ever said revenue had to be 50/50. It could be 60/40 and still make WSU a huge sum of money. You also understand just how much the Oregon group hates to travel to Pullman and you also understand just how important King County could be to grow the Duck brand/donor base all while undermining the Huskies.
Here's the problem. Duck fans don't get it. They don't understand that they are picking up money in capital donations each year and their operating budget is huge BUT they still finished running in the red by more than 600 hundred thousand dollars as recently as last fiscal year. They missed on more than $2.2 million dollars in pledged donations because of the downturn in the economy. You know that and apparently everyone knows that except for Duck fans. I know that you are just waiting for the new AD to come in and look at his operating budget. It won't take long to see easy money to fill that donations gap. Which is why I would say stop trying to climb that mountain now.
I hope you're enjoying the fishing trip right now and that you're locking down those big ticket donors. When you come back to Seattle in a few weeks I hope you put all that Duck thinking aside though. I hope you meet with First and Goal again and say, "We want to focus on an annual neutral site game with the Oregon State Beavers." Ask them what that revenue stream would look like.
I hope you call up Bob DeCarolis over at Oregon State and say, "Bob, I can relate to your situation. You are running $5.9 million dollars in the red. You need money bad . Let's get together in Seattle every year and split that gate. It probably means $1.5 million dollars or more for each of us that we can immediately drop into our annual budget." Do it while Oregon fumbles around trying to land their next AD. Do it while you have some leverage with Oregon State and say we want to do this with you but Oregon is an option once their new AD comes in and takes a look at that operating budget.
I know that a conference game is probably going to happen in 2012 at Qwest. I love it. I just think that Oregon State is the team to lock up. Forget Oregon and start talking with the Beavers. It makes sense on so many levels for both schools and that is more of a natural rivalry for us than Oregon anyways.
So, Bill…..I hope you come back from Canada with a cooler full of fish this weekend and then I hope you get on that phone and start the conversation with Oregon State. I promise you won't regret it when you see that stadium full with Crimson and Gray and Orange and Black in 2012.