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Business Impact of LSU Football

By Lauren Lenox

Schools all across the country are relying on other outlets to subsidize athletic departments. Louisiana State University is one of the seven schools that does not receive subsidies from other sources.

According to USA Today Sports, out of the 228 NCAA Division I schools, there are only seven schools who do not receive subsidies from anywhere else to remain afloat.

In addition to, LSU Athletics is one of the 23 athletic departments that is self-sustaining which relies solely on self-generated funds. However, LSU’s Athletic Department does not receive any additional funds or tax dollars from the state nor from the academic side of the school.

Furthermore, the LSU Athletic Department does not receive money from student funds like most schools. Instead, the athletic department provides over $7 million annually to the university academically to assist with educational needs.

In 2013, LSU Football brought in roughly $37.5 million directly through ticket sales, guarantees and parking to the athletic department. The remaining assets came from tradition funds, SEC Network, and smaller areas such as concessions and radio.

Ticket sales make a huge impact on LSU Athletics. For the last 10 years, season tickets have been sold out helping to generate the $32 million the athletic department receives.

According to LSU Athletics Business Coordinator, Matthew LaBorde, the LSU football team is a huge asset to not only the athletic department but to the university. The benefits of football help to create a great branding opportunity to promote athletics which in turn helps to create more attention towards the university.

“LSU is a brand in itself. Everyone who sees those three letters knows who we are. It puts us on a higher platform above others,” said LaBorde.

During the past decade, LSU Football’s success has brought a lot of attention to the school. With the media exposure, it has helped to shape a new brand for the university.

LSU Athletics Marketing Director, Daniel Nunes, shared how LSU Football does not need to be branded because it is a brand in itself.

“It’s (LSU Football) the porch to LSU Athletics just like LSU Athletics is the porch to LSU. It’s (LSU Football) the largest national brand,” said Nunes.

Many reasons one can attribute to the LSU football team is the increases in LSU’s student enrollment each year as well as higher graduation rates.

LSU students appreciate when the Tigers play at home. It is a chance for people to come together and to create an atmosphere like no other.

The students have been known to devote more time to the football team if the team has a successful season.

Even more importantly, LSUSports.net shared how LSU Football helps out with local businesses economically in and around the Baton Rouge area. This football program attracts people from all of the country bringing business to the local businesses surrounding campus.

LSU Football has been attributed providing about 4,000 jobs in the Baton Rouge Metro area.

Dr. Loren Scott, from Loren C. Scott and Associates, Inc., helped to breakdown the economic impact that LSU football has made on the state of Louisiana and the Baton Rouge Metro Area.

“There is a diverted spending issue associated with LSU football between state impacts and the Baton Rouge Metro,” said Scott.

In 2012, there were more than 1.5 million people in attendance at LSU Athletic events. This concludes that on a typical night in Tiger Stadium there were more people than there are living in 49 of the 64 parishes in the state.

In 2013, the average LSU out-of state fan spent about $237 in the state of Louisiana and of that amount, $169 was spent in the Baton Rouge Metro.

During the 2013 season, in-state LSU fans from outside of the Baton Rouge area spent about $62.8 million and of that $47.7 million was spent in the Baton Rouge Metro.

LSU Athletic Director, Joe Alleva, explained how LSU Athletics has made an economic impact on Louisiana and the city of Baton Rouge.

“We are partners with the community. LSU Athletics has a huge financial impact on the Baton Rouge community,” said Alleva.

In 2012, civic groups who helped on game days received about $815,000 as support for their establishments.

Disadvantages also come into play when talking about LSU Football. One of the main disadvantages to the athletic department is the student section.

The LSU student section is a huge factor because they will be future donors someday. They show a poor reflection of becoming a future donor by leaving games early and not wanting to preserve traditions. The athletic department depends on these future alumni to help provide funds for future athletic facilities and other major expenses.

The disadvantage that LSU football has on the community is that game days are huge events which cause changes to day-to-day routines.

For example, after big games the Event Management Department has to shut down roads and create a plan of contraflow to control the amount of people trying to leave the stadium.

Another disadvantage of football is the huge impact it makes on schools. For example, when LSU played at Mississippi State on a Thursday night in 2012, the school was shut down due to fans tailgating around the campus.

Also, the amount of work that goes into planning and preparing for a game is an excessive amount. LSU Athletics prepares months in advanced for the football season. There are about 2,765 people who work on a LSU Football game day.

Recently, the University of Alabama-Birmingham had to get rid of their football team due to the fact that the athletic department was struggling to keep its program operational. If LSU were to shut down its football program, the athletic department budget would decrease from $110 million to $20 million.

Hypothetically, of the remaining $20 million, only $5 million comes from ticket sales from the remaining sports. LSU’s Athletic Department could almost be viewed as an independent franchise.

With that being said, the athletic department relies heavily on the $80 million it generates from LSU football and would not be self-sustaining without the sport.

LHSAA adds Power Rating Rule

By Lauren Lenox

Growing up in Louisiana, most people were born and raised a football fan. Each year, football fans both experienced and new look forward to fall Friday nights under the lights.

The rivalries are thrilling, especially during the Louisiana high school playoffs. Teams are finally able to play the best of the best from around the state.

Within the past few years, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) separated the football playoffs into two divisions: Select and Non-Select. The Select division is comprised of private and semi-private schools around the state.

Now instead of five state championships, there are a total of nine.

The downfall of the new Select system is the lack of teams in each division. In Division I, there are only eight select schools able to compete which is difficult for the playoff brackets.

At the beginning of the 2014 football season, the LHSAA established a new power rating system. The new system allows teams to earn bonus points towards their playoff rankings if a team plays an opponent from a higher classification.

Also, it allows for teams in Division II within the Select group, who are normally classified as 4A or 3A during the regular season, to play in Division I of the playoffs.

This is good news for the teams who are members of 4A or 3A classes but what about the 5A schools? The 5A schools do not receive any bonus points due to the fact that there are no opponents for them to play in a higher classification.

Why would the LHSAA create a power rating system if not all teams could take advantage of the development?

Not only did the LHSAA separate the Select schools from the regular playing field but it created an easier playoff bracket for Non-Select schools which did not stand a chance against the private schools.

The LHSAA did not think about the complications that would be caused with the new power rating system. It is unfair to the 5A schools which are part of the Catholic League, for example, because they are cheated of their actual ranking within Division I.

Head coaches and athletic directors are upset with the new addition to the Select schools playoff system and frankly, fans are too.

As a high school football fan, Select teams should be able to play Non-Select teams whether it is during regular season play or during the playoffs. Why should we segregate schools? The playing fields may be a little different but at the end of the day it is just a football game.

Also, the new power rating system should not be a factor when it comes to football because it seems arrogant. The fact that LHSAA is trying to keep the system fair has only made it become unfair to the eight Select schools in Division I.

Video Recap of “SEC Nation” in Baton Rouge

By Lauren Lenox

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GALLERY: Tiger Stadium Adds Rally Towels for Alabama Game

Path to Success

By Lauren Lenox

ESPN’s SEC Network reporter, Kaylee Hartung, shared her journalism career path when she visited an LSU graduate level Mass Communications classroom on Thursday morning.

Even with two phones and work to take care of, she spent a good 20 minutes with the class. Her advice to the students about landing their dream job was simple yet important.

“Create value where value doesn’t exist. Show up early, stay late and take advantage,” Hartung said.

As a Baton Rouge native, Hartung grew up as an LSU fan but moved away to experience college at Washington and Lee in Virginia.

She received degrees in Journalism and Politics and gained hands-on knowledge through internships while she was in school.

But when Hartung graduated, she found herself without a job.

Hartung was constantly making connections and trying to market herself to find some type of job. She interviewed for a job that she really did not want but with the help of a friend and honesty, she got it.

Two weeks later, Hartung received a call from NBC saying there was a spot for her and she jumped at the opportunity.

She worked the NBC Nightly News and took advantage of the opportunities. Her boss at the time referred her to the news chief for CBS News.

She then served as personal assistant to CBS News journalist Bob Schieffer. Hartung experienced long hours with the job but she was determined to get where she is today.

Today, Hartung resides in Austin, Texas, and is a SEC Network reporter. She is one of the hosts to the new program “SEC Nation” which airs on Saturday mornings during football season.

Her favorite part of the job is being able to meet people each place she goes and the stories she gets to share with others. Hartung won an Emmy with a story she shared about a boy with spinal diphia and his love for the University of Texas Longhorns.

On Saturday, Hartung will return to Baton Rouge to join the cast of “SEC Nation” and cover one of the most hyped up Southeastern Conference rivalries between the No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide and No. 14 LSU Tigers.

Young Defense Shows Power

By Lauren Lenox

After being on the road for the last two weeks with an inconsistent defense, LSU’s defense came out on top during Saturday’s game against the Kentucky Wildcats.

The LSU defense held Kentucky to one field goal, while giving up 217 total yards. Before Saturday’s game, Kentucky was averaging 36.5 points per game.

Kentucky’s offense was stomped by the Tiger defense and could only convert 5 of 17 third-down attempts.

The LSU defense stepped up to hand Kentucky its fourth lopsided loss in its last four trips to Baton Rouge since 2000.

Despite much criticism this season, Head Coach Les Miles and the Tigers have endured. The defense made sure to prove to the world on Saturday that it was in it for the long haul.

LSU set the tone early when sophomore defensive back Tre’Davious White, returned a punt for a 67-yard touchdown which brought momentum for the Tigers.

“It felt great to get that first punt return for a touchdown and to do it in front of our home crowd,” White said.

Sophomore safety Rickey Jefferson interrupted a few passes which could have been Kentucky touchdowns. He was not as impressed with his performance but thought that the defense played well.

“I think I had a chance to get an interception but I jumped a little late,” Jefferson said.

Sophomore linebacker Kendell Beckwith finished with nine total tackles before leaving the game after a hard hit. He was amazed at how his team played and is looking forward to the next game.

“We try to dominate when we go out on Saturdays. We’re improving,” Beckwith said.

Freshman safety Jamal Adams had the only sack for the Tiger defense. Adams helped his teammates out on Saturday with a sack and has since begun thinking ahead to their next game.

After the game, Miles was excited about how the Tigers played. He believes that the football team is finally coming together and hopes that the Tigers will have success in their final four regular season games.

The Tigers will have to repeat their dominance on defense next game as they are set to play a top-five Ole Miss team.

New Mexico State’s Outlook on LSU Atmosphere

By Lauren Lenox

After suffering a loss to long-time rival New Mexico, the New Mexico State football team traveled almost 1,100 miles to play LSU in a non-conference matchup.

Why do you ask? The Aggies had their eyes set on the $975,000 prize for playing a top-25 opponent.

The Aggies started out with great momentum in the first half. Their defense looked strong in the first quarter before LSU soared past them.

Reserve quarterback Andrew Allen, the Aggies’ leading rusher with 113 yards, scored his first career touchdown which led to the only touchdown on the night for New Mexico State.

When asked about his touchdown Allen said, “We were running the zone. I was supposed to read the gap but it just opened right up for me.”

He thought the defense played well and executed on the game plans.

As far as the atmosphere in Tiger Stadium, Allen said, “It was amazing. I’ve never played in front of 100,000 people before.”

Defensive back Dalton Herrington thought the Aggies played a good game regardless of the outcome.

“The energy was absolutely amazing,” Herrington said. “You could just feel it in the air. We played well early on, and it was awesome playing in this atmosphere.”

The Aggies began the game with an interception by Winston Rose against LSU’s starting quarterback, Anthony Jennings.

For the night, Herrington finished with the only sack of the game between both teams.

Head Coach Doug Martin was impressed with LSU’s atmosphere and thought it was a great opportunity for his football program.

He thought his team was too young on the defensive side and on the offense because of the many turnovers they gave up.

“We have got to run the ball better,” Martin said. “We have six true freshmen but we have played five games now so they need to get over whatever it is that they are scared of”

The Aggies finished with 172 yards rushing and 102 passing yards.

The LSU defense earned 21 points off of the Aggies offense.

Overall, the Aggies played their hearts out and were able to experience a new atmosphere that they would not have had a chance to otherwise. It was good for them to experience a team like LSU to show how competition in the Southeastern Conference is played.

LSU Sets Record Crowd

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What is your first thought whenever you see the letters L-S-U?

Perhaps you think of the glorious, newly expanded Tiger Stadium. But have you ever thought about the team who is in charge of getting fans into all those seats?

At the LSU Athletic Ticket Office, football preparations begin once the regular season ends prior to the bowl game each year.

Season ticket renewals come into full effect in mid-January until they are completely sold out. Season tickets for LSU football have been sold out for the past 10 years.

With the brand new Tiger Stadium expansion, having more seats has been both a positive and negative for the ticket office.

Ticket prices in Tiger Stadium vary depending on the opponent and the location of the seat itself. LSU officials believe that with the ticket office’s new tiered pricing structure it will reflect the true value of the seats.

The positive side is that there are more seats for fans to attend games, which will bring in more revenue to the athletic department.

LSU sold a record 74,350 season tickets for this football season. According to LSU athletic ticket manager Brian Broussard, LSU was able to sell about 6,000 more tickets this year because of the new addition in the south end zone.

For the Sam Houston State game, 100,338 tickets were scanned Saturday at the entrances to the stadium. Tim Messa, who is in charge of ticket operations for the LSU Athletic Department, said Sam Houston State only bought 1,100 of its ticket allotment, a major factor in attendance being short of Tiger Stadium’s new capacity of 102,321.

Although Sam Houston State’s fan base was slim for Saturday’s game, the school benefitted from a $500,000 guarantee for playing the game, according to The Advocate.

With the limited amount of tickets sold to the Bearkats, there were more tickets available for Tiger fans. However, the ticket office has to face three non-conference home games which could be problematic for filling the newly expanded stadium.

The ticket office has come up with incentives to entice fans to purchase tickets by providing special ticket sales to fans and working out a deal with Tiger Concessions.

The special for the game against Sam Houston State was to purchase two tickets for $20 in the upper deck of the south end zone.

Of the 1,400 new seats in the south end zone upper deck level, there were 686 fans that were able to experience the new upper deck through the special ticket pricing. Broussard and Messa spoke with fans who sat there Saturday and said they took away positive feedback from their experiences.

With the new expansion, more concession stands were needed.

Tiger Concessions director Larry Wallace said he has many plans to expand his food options for hungry Tiger fans with the increasing number of stands in Tiger Stadium.

Representatives from both departments are hopeful with the stadium expansion and new food choices more fans will want to attend games, even LSU’s remaining non-conference games with UL-Monroe and New Mexico State.