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@John at MrSEC @clayaggie Wow, John, I really appreciate your detailed response. Sites like this one have been a nice surprise benefit following A&M's move to the SEC. Keep up the good work!
Well, you have convinced me...mostly. The Vegas oddsmakers' "line setting bias" is a nice data set to consider when sizing up fan bases. It's skewed by geography, as you point out, as well as by, e.g., affluence, if you consider trips to Vegas to be a mark of such, but probably those are still useful filters. Bottom line is it's hard to see any disadvantage in measuring fan intensity in dollars. So while there are obvious reasons why enrollment figures can underestimate a fan base, it's not as obvious that enrollment figures will underestimate how much you can monetize a fan base.
FYI, you may have misunderstood the point of my quibble. I'm not saying that only 20% of B1G students will become fans, I'm saying 80% of those students were there LAST YEAR. Only 20% each year are new fans/students.
FYI2, I don't have any problems saying nice things about other conferences. I went to grad school in the PAC12 and met great fans out there. And as fun as it is to be on top, the SEC needs the other conferences to legitimately challenge it. Otherwise it feels like a regional sport.
Anyway, thanks again for the response!
6 months, 3 weeks ago on How Is A So-So Big Ten Rolling In Dough? It’s All About The Numbers
1. Quibble: Having 150k more total students in the B1G does not equate to cranking out 150k fans per year. Assuming graduation rates of about 20% per year, it's more like a 30k difference in fan-cranking-outedness.
2. Nate Silver did a pretty detailed analysis on this stuff a couple years ago to estimate how many actual fans each school has. His analysis wasn't perfect, but it captures why schools in the South have large fan bases.