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Glenn426

What's in a Field?

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2 hours ago, Ghost said:

So you're thinking DCI should evolve into something similar to Drum Corps Japan?  No idea how large their marching area is, plus the use of props would have to be discussed.

Trust me, props are already being discussed.

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2 hours ago, N.E. Brigand said:

If your figures are right, and your typical high school (outside of Texas) is renting its stadium to DCI for $25,000 per performance, then Glenn would be correct that the $20,000 he says it costs to rent an arena is indeed less for a comparable seating number.

But I do find that very hard to believe.

How much does just the A/C cost in an arena?

Also, another thought:  Drum corps producers NEVER rent just the stadium at a venue.  They also have to rent facilities for the host school corps and for all the corps in the show.  It's most likely that those costs are also included in the school rental costs.

Every year at our show the school was very quick to point out that they could be renting their facilities to others for a lot more than what we were paying.   Almost every year we figured we had to clear $15,000 to keep the school from claiming they were giving us an unfair price break.

Also, we have to subtract the amount of other (unkowable) stuff that gets thrown into "show expense" before we draw our assumptions down to actual stadium rental cost.  I have all of the P&Ls for the Dublin show for over decade, but those might not be either normal or valid today.

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Some things are meant to be done on a field.  That’s why Arena Football went belly-up.  

Get rid of the props, stop changing uniforms every year, cut down on the number of instructors (would anyone notice?), hire “drill writers” instead of “show designers”, and do crowd pleasing as opposed to designer pleasing shows.  

Changing venues and quadrupling down on all the decorations is not the answer.  

 

Edited by greg_orangecounty
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5 hours ago, garfield said:

Everything that came after this opening paragraph needs to be rethought after you calculate in to your analysis the fact that you conflated "Show Expenses" to be the "cost of renting facilities".  That's not correct.

The big elephant included in that total of about $6.55mm is the cost of the corps.  Memory fades with age but, IIRC, something along the lines of $2.5mm to $3mm of DCI's revenue gets paid out to drum corps as "performance fees" (called all manner of things in the actual DCI record-keeping, I suspect).  You can cut costs on stadium facilities (good luck) but, to cut that $3mm paid out to corps, the corps voting membership has to agree to cut their own pay.  GOOD LUCK!  I'd bet they pound the crap out of that expense statement before they agree to cut their own pay.  You'll have those cost no matter where they play.  In fact, it's true that the ED's job is to negotiate the very best deal with the stadiums, et al, for the strict benefit of the member corps, not for the benefit (currently) of DCI's income statement.  What they save in negotiation is, and should be, paid out the to corps.  (This is a whole-other discussion!)

Still, after correcting your numbers down to around $35,000 to rent an "average" stadium, that also makes sense.  No, N.E. Brigand, it doesn't cost $35m to rent an average high school stadium but it also costs a whole lot more than $35m to rent your average professional domed football stadium, too.  Just do some simple deductive thought using, say $75m to rent Alamo (I truly have no clue) and logically crank that up to, say $125m PER DAY to rent LOS (again, I have NO idea) and you can easily see that four very expensive regional stadiums can lower significantly the average cost per high school stadium.  Do HS facilities "cost" $20m to $25m to host drum corps?  Yep, you bet.  And the big, new fancy Texas stadiums are probably much more.

Now, I very much appreciate your thought process and I'll anticipate following your rationale after you've corrected your thoughts with these corrections. 

This issue stumped me and a bunch of others for a day or so in a 990 discussion years ago until I discovered that "paying" the drum corps is an expense on DCI's income statement.  Show revenue is income, paying for corps and paying for stadiums (and all the rest) show up as expenses.  If you scan all of the expense lines, you'll not find any entry line item that identifies "corps pay" or any such thing on the 990.  It's buried in "Show Expense".

The only thing I see in the '18 990 that could be dubious is the ubiquitous "all other expenses" category that collected just under $1mm.  OK, that's not huge but it is a little under 10% of their expenses.  "Other Expenses" is always for things one deliberately wants to hide or, more likely, "When There's No Place Else To Put Something"  -- on the 990 form.  That DOESN'T mean that they've not identified those expenses, it's that there's no place on the 990 filing to report them.

You know, like strip clubs, expensive steak houses, and private jets to San Antonio.  (I'm KIDDING!!)

 

 

I think it's illustrative to look at the numbers in comparison to others.  For example, how has that number ("corps pay") changed across 990s?  

Your insight to these matters is always on point thank you.

So yeah not the astronomical cost savings that I thought but still on the average still a significant amount of money. 

And if you combine that with lowering corps number to 100 and the inherit cost savings to corps there, you can make a sound case that these mega stadiums are what is keeping the activity from seeing better returns and the potential for more corps to be involved. 

Now mentioning that the corps are paid out performance fees, I wonder if this is not also a driving force for the corps that have survived the last 20 years to try and keep their numbers low, so that these performance fees stay in their pockets at much higher payouts than say if there were a total of 30-35 WC corps and the payouts would have to be diluted so that all performing corps get their cut. 

Having the restrictions of a smaller venue however I do like the idea of an Allentown model at other weekends and major cities across the US. In a city like ATL or Dallas for example that would have the sheer number of people interested to have two shows at the same location in a weekend the lack of travel and floor time would be positives for the corps and fans alike. Those that can afford it can attend both days and get a back to back comparison. Those that can only afford one day can roam the lot one day and watch the shows the next. 

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3 hours ago, garfield said:

Also, another thought:  Drum corps producers NEVER rent just the stadium at a venue.  They also have to rent facilities for the host school corps and for all the corps in the show.  It's most likely that those costs are also included in the school rental costs.

Every year at our show the school was very quick to point out that they could be renting their facilities to others for a lot more than what we were paying.   Almost every year we figured we had to clear $15,000 to keep the school from claiming they were giving us an unfair price break.

Also, we have to subtract the amount of other (unkowable) stuff that gets thrown into "show expense" before we draw our assumptions down to actual stadium rental cost.  I have all of the P&Ls for the Dublin show for over decade, but those might not be either normal or valid today.

Corps aren't ultimately paying for these expenses on their own? Having the cost deducted from their performance fees? Or a separate line item on their own 990's

That would change things, if the cost for housing each corps is also rolled into this 990 line then the benefits are further diminished. 

I always figured the corps fended for themselves with regards to housing. I've always heard of the odd corps that lost their housing site at the last minute and didn't think DCI was organizing and paying for those sites. 

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2 hours ago, greg_orangecounty said:

   cut down on the number of instructors (would anyone notice?)

Beginning in ST, are not many of the instructors interns and only sleep/eat for free?

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7 hours ago, Glenn426 said:

So yeah not the astronomical cost savings that I thought but still on the average still a significant amount of money. 

So cost savings matter to you.  I have seen that in more than one of your ideas.  (We have common ground!)

But to move forward, the DCI collective will need to be convinced that cost matters.  Right now, they only seem to care about revenue.  Their strategic plan has multiple directives addressing revenue, and a whole task force created just to pursue revenue ideas.  But there is no Cost Control Task Force, and there are not even any strategic plan items focused on the cost side of the equation.  This will take some time and persuasion.

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I like where you people are going on this cost savings discussion. Rental fees for professional venues are too high (LOS, Alamo Dome etc.). Time to go back to Whitewater. It’s not like it’s televised anymore. And the threat of weather might tamper things down in the electronics toys area too. 

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22 minutes ago, HockeyDad said:

I like where you people are going on this cost savings discussion. Rental fees for professional venues are too high (LOS, Alamo Dome etc.). Time to go back to Whitewater. It’s not like it’s televised anymore. And the threat of weather might tamper things down in the electronics toys area too. 

Fabulous idea except you have to kick the kids out of their sandbox.  They're not going to like that, especially if they have to go back to being creative with Tonka trucks instead of electronic wizardry, light shows, props, and A&E.

Problem is, they own the sandbox.

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