Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.

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Sharing some reflections on 2016, and some thoughts on why 2017 holds more promise for sports fans actually getting their money’s worth.

I’m not gonna’ lie…I’m kinda’ glad to see this year, 2016, in the rear view mirror.

Lousy year.

Too many deaths.

Some face time with the IRS.

18 months of Trump v. Hillary.

And three of the worst months possible with a little condition known as SCIATICA. If you haven’t had it…imagine operating on one leg while the other drags along for the ride. And you wonder, “will this ever go away?” It has, but it took some inventory I’d like to have back.

But while I’m taking inventory, and leg and back pain aren’t nearly as aggravating to me as watching the Ohio State Buckeyes play Bowling Green and Tulsa…and charge you (or me) through the nose to see off-Broadway at Broadway prices.

I’ve always had an issue with ticket-gouging to see a football game and the “dynamic” pricing concept of major sports events (or even the Reds).  To me, it’s the equivalent of double-billing if you consider the quality of an opponent the way you consider the attributes of your next new car.

Which brings me to tonight’s Final Four game with Clemson, and a measure of joy to see the Buckeyes actually give Buckeye fans their money’s worth.

And given, it’s better than it used to be – better than the past decade. They did go on the road to handle a good Oklahoma team in September; and this year’s Michigan game was as good as anything you can ask for in sports, win or lose.

But oh…for more Oklahomas and Michigan games, eh? How ‘bout a little drama for your $175? Or, would you rather take the comfortable blowout and the warm glow that comes with seeing Script Ohio for the 200th time?

Personally, I like the drama. I love the Buckeyes, but I don’t love the Buckeyes against the patsies of the Mid-American Conference, with no offense to Western Michigan and P.J. Fleck, who’s out of there as soon as the first Power Five Conference opportunity opens up. His wife says she loves Kalamazoo. But wait and see how much better she likes Little Rock when Bret Bielema gets dumped at Arkansas.

Again, no “BS”.  But for what the power conference schools like Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson and Washington are charging for tickets I’d like to see the power conference scheduling changed to include more games worthy of dynamic pricing, and there’s more good news on the way with future schedules.  The Big Ten has dropped one of the patsy non-con games in favor of an additional conference game…along with non-cons Oklahoma, TCU, and Oregon down the road.

A good start, I guess, but I don’t want to see Purdue, I want to see something as good OSU-Clemson, or Alabama, every week for that kind of cash. Will I pay to see it? Probably not. But plenty would, and for more than $175, in case ADs want to really raise the bar for dynamic economics.

Would it price some life-time ticket holders out of the market? Probably so. There would be a great cry of angst go up throughout Buckeye Nation, but they’d ante up, all the same. Let’s face it, the romance of Saturday afternoons in Columbus went away when Andy Geiger and corporate college football came to town – when they enlarged the stadium and told generational blue-bloods to send a check for $10,000 to show their love…or lose their place in line.  And they’re still selling out.  C Deck or the South Stands…take your pick!

Hey, I’m excited to see just how good they are;  I like ’em being the underdog, and I believe it when I hear the NFL scouts talk about how good the Clemson defense is with Christian Wilkins. I like having no doubts, like 2014, when they beat Alabama. I respected those T-shirts that read “Unquestioned National Champions”.

But I want to see proof on the field that the Big Ten is as good as Sports Illustrated recently wrote, declaring that it had now taken the crown for best conference from the SEC, citing increased markets, a half billion annually from the Big Ten Network, and revenue sharing amongst the member schools to pay for national recruiting. I want to believe that what I saw from Northwestern (beat Pittsburgh) and Minnesota (beat Washington State) was for real. Call me callous, but I want more for my money than Script Ohio and swaying to and fro to the alma mater. I quit doing that at $50.

You can call me greedy, but isn’t that what dynamic pricing is all about? Just follow the bouncing football?

Yeah, I’m pumped to watch, and interested to see if the glut from SI, Eleven Warriors, ESPN and the rest of the pre-game Buckeye buffet really is about more bang for the buck than Golden Corral. For that price…it had better be.

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Sonny_thumb0211And last, how many of you will stay up for, or even tape, Ronda Rousey’s comeback fight?

It’s a cultural thing for me, and another chapter of how much would you pay to see two women beat up on each other. Or more, how many appearances on Late Night, Ellen, The View, and The Tonight Show does it take to sell the notion that traditional sports viewers should even care? I guess we won’t know until we see Sports Center, eh?

If the Buckeyes are the New Year’s bang, then have a little UFC as your New Year’s bust!

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