While you were watching Avengers: Endgame and the NFL Draft over the weekend, Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney was getting paid. Dabo’s new 10-year $93 million deal pushes him beyond Jimbo Fisher’s deal for the highest value in college football. There were some funny parts to the deal like thinking that a buyout might scare Alabama from hiring Dabo away, and so many people mentioned how bad it makes Dabo’s previous comments about paying players look. But we’re more concerned with how this deal could impact the Syracuse Orange.
Grace Raynor of The Athletic got the inside story from Clemson AD Dan Radakovich about his pitch to the Clemson Board of Trustees and something he coined “the Swinney Effect.” The first aspect of this was entitled “Value” and showed some statistics over the time period from 2005 to 2018
As the charts show, in 2005, 52,508 season tickets were sold.
That number dipped to 47,826 in 2010, Swinney’s second season as he looked for his footing, but by 2015, season ticket sales were back up to 55,253 and by 2018, the university had sold 61,523 season tickets.
Season ticket revenue rose from $12,010,706 in 2005 to $24,856,087 in 2018, more than doubling in 13 years. And as Swinney continued to win, the price of a season ticket rose from $225 in 2005 to $395 in 2018.
So what does this mean for Syracuse and Dino Babers? If we go back to the same time period used by Clemson we can see that in 2005, Syracuse’s average attendance was 40,252. That number dropped to a low of 32,102 in 2015 and climbed back in 2018 to an average of 37,043.
Last month Syracuse announced that over 4,000 new season tickets had been sold for the 2019 season. This means that the Orange could see attendance numbers that surpass that 2005 figure, and a big reason for the increase comes from Babers’ success and style of play.
Syracuse won’t tell us exactly how fundraising has been impacted during Babers tenure, but it’s reasonable to assume that a winning program is going to get more people excited about contributing. Clemson’s projections of a revenue surplus helped fuel the Dabo contract and one would hope that similar positive projections are being discussed inside Manley Field House.
We don’t know the details on Babers’ extension currently but if Syracuse AD John Wildhack used a similar approach, or if he follows suit on Dino’s next deal, it would certainly make sense. Patience at Clemson and their investment in Dabo’s vision has certainly paid off as their program has elevated to an elite status and it’s patience and investment in Dino Babers that can elevate Syracuse football to an area where 10-win seasons and major bowl game invites become more frequent.