April 6, 2012
LISTEN TO THE BROADCAST HERE
Tim Healey: Good evening everybody and welcome to the fan forum with your new Sun Devil Athletic Director, Steve Patterson. I'm Tim Healey, the play by play voice of the Sun Devils and we are delighted that you could join us this evening. This is an exclusive event for Sun Devil fans. Steve wants to share with you his vision of the future of Sun Devil Athletics. In addition, Steve's here to take your live questions about our athletic program and the direction in which Sun Devil Athletics is headed.
Tim Healey: We're going to try over the next hour to get as many questions as we can but understand that we will not be able to get to all of them. At this time I'd like to turn it over to Steve Patterson and Steve, congratulations on the promotion. Share with us your vision if you could of the future of Sun Devil Athletics.
Steve Patterson: Well thanks Tim and thanks to all the folks who dialed in tonight. You know I'm really excited to be here and the confidence that Dr. Crow has placed in me. You know what I really want to see is a Sun Devils Athletic program that wins, that graduates our student athletes at 80% or better, that operates ethically, and is financially sustainable. I think we've got a lot of talent here in the valley. I think we've got a lot to leverage off of. There's no reason we shouldn't have tremendous success here. We've got a huge population base, a tremendous amount of folks that are alumni, and former student-athletes that really want to see us succeed. So I'm excited to roll up my sleeves and work with the folks to bring back ASU athletics to the place we all want it to be, something that we can be really proud of.
Tim Healey: Certainly a lot of topics will probably be fired your way by the fans tonight. So much is going on in athletics, the future of Sun Devil Stadium, the future home of ASU Baseball, ASU's new head football coach Todd Graham's team going through spring practice right now, the situation with the Men's Basketball program, and the ongoing improvement of the Sun Devil student-athletes. So much to talk about right now isn't there?
Steve Patterson: There really is. I'm really excited about where we're headed with Sun Devil stadium. We've taken a great number of design studies over the last 9 months and I think tomorrow we'll be rolling out some pictures of renderings of what some of that could look like as we move forward. We're trying to get our plan of finance put together so hopefully we can have that done by the middle of the year and then be able to go from there and try to set a timeline to get into the construction of the Sun Devil Stadium and really try to bring it up to modern standards. If it were a computer it'd be a 1950's to 1970's computer, which you know, wouldn't be to great for the graphics or math or calculations on it. I remember one of those pocket calculators I used to have to carry around when I was in school. But you know we look out at the horizon and in the Pac-12 alone we've had almost a billion, two billion, three worth of construction to football stadiums over the past ten years and one of the few buildings that hasn't been renovated in the Pac-12 is Sun Devil Stadium. So you know we need to keep competitive in terms of attracting the best coaches, attracting the best student-athletes and being able to provide the kind of services to our fans and our students-athletes that we want to provide. You really have to have a top-notch football stadium to do that and drive that kind of revenue and attract that kind of people that we want to attract here. So I'm excited where we're headed with that and we'll have more to roll out tomorrow and over the next few weeks as we go forward into the summer.
Tim Healey: With that said it looks like we have a lot of passionate Sun Devil fans that are anxious to speak with you Steve. So why don't we get to the phones and get some questions? We have a lot of questions coming and we're going to try our best to get to all of them in this short time frame.
Tim Healey: The honor of the first question on tonight's call is going to go to an 18-year season ticket holder who's been all over the world and always follow the Sun Devils. Lauren Oliver wants to talk about the steps to take Football and Men's Basketball to the level of spring sports success. Lauren you're on, welcome.
Lauren: I'm most interested in hearing what you have in mind, specifically, to get football and men's basketball on par with some of the recent successes we enjoyed with the spring sports like Women's Softball and what not?
Steve Patterson: Sure, we've got a great National Championship Softball team, our Baseball team's always very competitive, in Track we've got national champs this year, and our Water Polo program is one of the top programs. Coach Clapper's built that from nowhere to be one of the top teams in the country. But anyway, as regards to Football, I think we're really excited about Coach Graham. Bringing him here to ASU we wanted somebody who had coaching experience, we wanted somebody who could be connected to the community and was willing to get involved in the community here. We wanted somebody who had a history of being a good recruiter, somebody that could play an exciting brand of football; his teams at Tulsa led the nation in offense. You know somebody that could instill some discipline in the organization and we got all that in Todd. You know when he said that he's going to have to go shake 72,000 hands. I think he's probably on 63, 215 or something. He's working hard at meeting people in the community and doing what he needs to do to help promote Sun Devil Football. You know I look at what's going on in the locker room and with our players in the Carson Center, on a day in and day out basis they're far more disciplined. You know we see a far more polite, far more engaged and you know we see the kind of discipline that we've wanted to see for some time out of the football team and so I'm excited to see that. You know we had a great time at the spring training scrimmage this weekend. We had 600 kids that came out and our players and coaches led them in a clinic in a beautiful afternoon and that's not the kind of thing we've seen in the past and we're going to see more and more of it in the future. So engaging our fan base, building an exciting team, having discipline, I think it's all going to pay off on the field and I'm really looking forward to the football team that we have out there playing this year. With the basketball tam, Herb and I have had some good conversations. We spent about two and a half hours today talking about the future of our basketball team. I'm certainly excited about Jahii Carson. He's eligible this year and we had a number of other folks that had to sit out for transfer reasons and so I think we're going to see a more talented team as we go forward. You know I think Herb's been good, he was on the phone last week owning up to the deficiencies he's had in the past but I think he's the right kind of guy to build the program we want, a clean program, one that graduates our students and one that we can be proud of in the long run. He's had a lot of 20 game years in college basketball and I'm looking forward to him getting back to that level.
Lauren: What is alarming is the high number of transfers at ASU. I know you said it's the nature of the business but it seems like it's been inordinately high for ASU just in comparison to other teams in the Pac-12.
Steve Patterson: Well there is a different environment today and I don't mean that as an excuse but there are a number of players, something like 40% of college players transferring by their sophomore year. Having said that we look in the past and there were probably some guys that were mistakes, there were some guys that were reaches, and then there are guys that have left for reasons that really have nothing to do with the basketball program here. So while I don't think that the impression has been great, it's something that Herb and the staff have been working hard on and they will address and will be a better basketball program for it. You know a lot of what goes on is not much different in colleges than it is in the pros. It comes down to guys want more minutes and guys want more shots and that's one thing about Herb, he probably could have BS'ed folks and kept them here but he's been a straight shooter. You have a guy that says I want to have 24 minutes a night and he's been straight with them and just told them you're not going to get 24 minutes a night, so if you have to have that to be happy maybe you should go some place else.
Tim Healey: Our next caller on the line is going to be Chris who is a 28-year baseball season ticket holder from Scottsdale, go ahead Chris.
Chris: We enjoy a tremendous home field advantage at Packard Stadium, one of the best in the west. I wanted to know what the University plans to do specifically when we move to the new Cubs spring training complex in 2014 to make sure we don't lose the home field advantage?
Steve Patterson: Sure. When you look at the complete design I think you're going to be pleased with it. Right now we're still in the midst of negotiations with the city of Mesa and the Chicago Cubs and we made a great deal of progress over the last few days. But talking to Crane Kenney and the mayor of Mesa everybody recognizes, certainly for our games, that it needs to feel like you're at ASU's ball park and I think everyone is very cognizant of that and hopefully we'll be able to finish the negotiations of that in the not too distant future and then sit down with the architects and really build in some of those elements that are important to all of us for tradition and history. There is a great legacy of people who have supported ASU's baseball program for many years. So I would look for us to come back to the fans and show them the different drawings, what they're going to look like, the feel of the building, where our clubhouse will be, and what the seating will be like. It's going to be a far better fan experience than what people have had in the past. We're looking at 50 - 70% of the seats being covered, far more concession stands, far more restrooms, more elevators and escalators those kinds of things for ADA and I think everybody will really enjoy it once we're able to get into the ballpark in 2014.
Tim Healey: We are going to head out to a gentleman now that's been a 20-year season ticket holder in football, John Perish. John welcome, you're on with Steve Patterson.
John: My question is about history. We've killed Sparky off the helmet and the maroon and gold have gone to black and gold and you're not going to see USC get rid of their horse, but we've gotten rid of a lot of history over the past year. I want to know your feeling on the importance of establishing history for developing and taking us to the next level?
Steve Patterson: Well history and tradition are important to any brand and any culture, any company, university, any kind of enterprise. We do want to continue and honor that. At the same time, the history of ASU is one of growth and change and evolution. You know we started out as Tempe Normal School way back and now Arizona State University the largest university in the United States. I recognize that some folks are not happy with the pitchfork logo that we use on our uniforms but by the same token we have kept Sparky. He's not going to disappear but if we look at the interest in ASU football according to demographic lines it's very interesting to see it broken out by age. 18-35 year old folks love the new uniforms, love the new logos and helmets, 35-54 could break either way and generally the older demographic is one that really wants us to keep Sparky. But if you look back historically at all the different uniforms, Sparky has been on there at times and not on there at other times, the helmets seem to vary and although we do have four or five color schemes that we're using on our uniforms right now we still have maroon and we have the gold, we still have the white and we do have the black and we've got the ability to mix and match those and that's been very well received in the marketplace. Our merchandise sales at the stadium were up over 800% over last year so there's a lot of excitement out there about the uniforms in the marketplace and we'll continue to use them.
Tim Healey: Right now we're going to go to a husband and wife team that's had season tickets for football for 26 years. They're from New York, John and Shirley Perkins welcome aboard.
John: I'm a long time and big booster of the track team and I'm interested in seeing what is going to be done about fundraising for all the sports this year? Also, when is ASU going to have a locker room at the Angel track stadium? This is the only university in the country that doesn't have locker rooms for their track team. When is ASU going to get a locker room?
Steve Patterson: When I got here about 9 months ago we had about 9-10 million dollars of deferred maintenance and we are in the process of undertaking to fix about half of that in this school year and we hope to get to the second half of that in the next fiscal year, which starts July 1. You're right, I don't think the track facility is up to par compared to a lot of the Pac-12 and other schools that are out there and we have had tremendous successful athletes in track and field for many, many years and that program does a great job year in and year out. So this year we do have a new track that's been laid down. It just got done about a month or so ago. The facilities inside the Sun Angels stadium are in the process of getting renovated. We've opened the work orders, we have the money available to start that process, and we'll be renovating that building between now and this summer. It will be all done before next season starts and then as we look out in the longer horizon it's quite possible that we could use Packard Stadium and its locker room facilities to allow some expanded facilities for track once we make that transition at the end of 2013. But we're really trying to take care of a number of deferred maintenance issues. Mona Plummer and the track were really two of the numbers that were in desperate need but we're going to see a number of deferred maintenance items taken care of virtually at every sports facility that we have out there right now. We're going to try to get our facilities over the next few years back up to some of the best in the Pac-12.
Tim Healey: Right now, Arnold Brenner, a 20-year football and basketball season ticket holder from Paradise Valley is with us to talk some hoops. Arnold, welcome aboard.
Arnold: There are a couple handfuls of coaches in college basketball that are not only in the NCAA tournament, but top 68 teams in the country. Since 1980 Coach Sendek has had 14 NCAA tournament games, won 7, lost 7 and with ASU he's only played 1 game. Why is he the coach that's going to bring us into this promise land of the top 68 teams in the country year in and year out?
Steve Patterson: You know I think Herb's a very smart tactician and I think that he's willing to admit the mistakes that he's made over the last few years. I spent a few hours talking with him today and I've had a number of meetings with him over the last month or so and if you look at the success he had with NC State, there's only one school that won more games in the ACC while he was out there in the conference. He's had tremendous success at schools, you now I'm not going to tell you he's had the kind of success Krzyzewski's had over the years but it's a very competitive business and there's a number of factors that go into all of the winning programs that are out there. I think we've got great practice facilities, we've got improvements to the arena coming down the line and I think we've had some success with Herb when Harden was here and I think with Jahii Carson and the rest of the guys coming next year we have a chance at coming back and being a very competitive team out here in the Pac-12.
Tim Healey: Right now Ray Curtis, a 15-year season ticket holder from Phoenix wants to talk some Sun Devil Stadium. Ray, come onboard.
Ray: I was wondering about Camp Tontozona. I've gone up there year after year after year. I've taken my grandson and my own son up there and it's such a tradition. I was wondering if it was going to come back to ASU tradition again?
Steve Patterson: We went up to Camp Tontozona about a month or so ago, Coach Graham and I and a number of other folks to look at it. You know the business of college football has changed and the need for technology and Internet access and all of the things that weren't there in the 1950's or 60's are real issues today. We are looking at going to back to Tontozona. We'd like to go back to Tontozona and Coach Graham is interested in trying to do that. Quite frankly we need a number of people that said they were interested in helping make that happen, that were interested in raising the funds to help us get back up there because it's fairly expensive to take the folks on a road trip for a number of days and to put in the infrastructure that we need to add to that facility to bring it up to the kind of shape that we'd like to see and we need to see with today's technology and video and Internet and the rest of it. If we can do that, if we can raise the funds to do that, then I think you could see us there this fall and we'd like to try to find a way to do that.
Tim Healey: As we continue with the phones, we're going to get Henry Martinez in here and Henry wants to talk some men's basketball.
Henry: What can we expect for the upcoming season and changes?
Steve Patterson: Well I think you're going to see an explosive player in Jahii Carson. I have particularly high expectations for all of our programs, as does Dr. Crow and I think as do all the fans and the folks who are on this phone call so we need to set high standards and we need to meet those. I've spent a lot of time talking with Herb the last few weeks and I think we've been injuries at times, we've had guys that didn't live up to expectations of how they should conduct themselves, and they've had to been shown the door. So I think on the one hand, Herb's got a vision of what he'd like this team to look like and you know if guys aren't going to do what they should do they're not going to be a part of the program and I think Herb should be commended for that. On the other hand he'll admit he's made some mistakes, as we all do in life, in recruiting some of the players that came here. He set it in motion the procedures to make sure that we have far less of that and it doesn't happen in the future but I think sometimes we get focused on the individual items, be it a transfer or something. Not trying to defend Herb's position on that but it is a reality that about 40% of student-athletes that play basketball are going to transfer by their sophomore year. We want to make sure we make the right decisions and keep our guys in the system. We want to make sure that they're working towards graduating on time and that they conduct themselves ethically and if we do all that then we should be a successful basketball team.
Tim Healey: Our next caller has a topic I think is of particular interest because one of the things that's coming on board very soon is a Pac-12 network. From Yuma, AZ, Tom Daniel has a question about the Pac-12 network. Tom a 20-year season ticket holder, welcome aboard.
Tom: The question I have is, I know ASU football has been the financial engine for probably all the rest of the sports that ASU has to offer. I also know that recently we had signed a very lucrative TV contract with the Pac-12 and I want to know if that will help fund some of the Olympic sports programs that we have?
Steve Patterson: So the Pac-12 has signed a new television deal and you're right, it is quite lucrative for us. On the one hand it is lucrative, on the other hand probably not as much on a net basis as people would tend to believe given the numbers that have been announced. So we have in place a TV deal that generates about $5.5 million a year and there are a number of assets that Pac-12 bought from universities, currently those assets have been held by IMG, they sell our sponsorships and media rights for us. So about 1.3 million of those assets were bought back by the Pac-12. So at the end of the day the net benefit is very good for us, it's about $7.5 million a year. That won't fix all of our issues, ASU historically is about ninth or tenth in the conference in revenues at roughly 50-55 million dollars and we really need to get to about $100 million to be fully competitive with the rest of the conference and the other major schools that are out there. Part of our plan includes the TV money that will be coming in, part of it's going to include what we're doing with the Sun Devil Stadium, part of it's going to include the new ballpark that we're looking at going into for baseball, and part of it's certainly going to mean improvements in the basketball team. If you look at our individual teams and break them out, and this is true of most schools, our football team is the largest money generator. It finishes in the black, at ASU it finishes about $12 million in the black and it needs to finish in $35-40 million in the black for us to be as competitive as we want to be. Our men's basketball team finishes in the black, it makes about $2.5 million a year and we need to get it in the range of $6-8 million a year in the black. Men's baseball, at the best schools, is a break-even sport and we think going into the new ballpark at Mesa we think we could get to that position. The rest of the sports finish in the red, many of them are known as non-revenue sports. We're taking in a plan to help endow scholarships for all of our Olympic sports and the people at the Sun Devil Club are working very hard at that every day. So there's a good bit of support that comes from football and men's basketball supporting those sports. There's a tremendous amount that comes from the university itself from underwriting the athletic department and hopefully in the future there will be considerable underwriting through endowments and clubs and camps and the other things we're looking at to generate more revenue and more affinity here at ASU that'll help underwrite all the Olympic sports.
Tim Healey: Now we're going to go out to a football and basketball season ticket holder of five years from Chandler, Carl Gruse is on and he has a call that relates to that other school in the Pac-12 that is in the state of Arizona, Carl.
Carl: My question is based upon this rather aggressive stance that the Wildcats have taken to influence the market, what is our plan to reestablish the foot holds that we have here in the valley and establish our dominance as the premier, not only athletic, but educational facility for the state of Arizona?
Steve Patterson: Well, when one of your major donors owns a billboard company it becomes a little bit easier to get billboards in the valley! You know we're undertaking a number of efforts and certainly tonight's phone call is one of those and we've also had Todd Graham and Herb Sendek on these calls, we've put together a 30 person sales and service team. The school's made a considerable investment in a marketing campaign and a marketing staff to help support not only the football and basketball teams but all the team sports out there. We've completely revamped the business operations of Sun Devil Athletics. So if we do that along with doing our part on floor and field and doing things like spotting our good elder sister from down the road six runs in softball and then proceeding to run off seven more in the next two innings to knock them out after giving them a nice warm welcome to Farrington Stadium, then that's the kind of thing we need to pay attention to and continue to do to make sure that we have the sports dominance that we have in the valley. At the same time you look at the efforts that Dr. Crow has under taken since he came here, you know this was a school that had about 1,200 beds on campus when he got here and now it's like 12,000. We've got one of the premier honor colleges with the Barrett Honors College. We've got a great business school in the Carey School, got a great communications school with the Cronkite School, so the leadership of ASU is going to continue to grow and make sure this is one of America's premier universities. Obviously as the biggest university in terms of population in the United States that gives us great strength in numbers and also gives us great strength in quality for all the efforts that the school as a whole has undertaken for years and that's a great message to carry forward for ASU.
Tim Healey: Our next caller has been a football season ticket holder for 10 years, David Newman and he's got a question related to social media. David I think it's about time somebody chimed in on that subject, don't you think?
David: I'm curious about your thoughts, efforts and strategy to implement social media and digital into your marketing efforts. It feels like there's been a significant change in the efforts ASU has made recently with calls like this, the candidness of the athletic department and the outreach from the department in areas like personalized season ticket holders. I'm just curious what areas you think you can exploit in a new way especially with 4.5 million folks in the valley and the millions of alumni not in Arizona?
Steve Patterson: We actually have expanded what we're doing in our communications department considerably. We brought in Rocky Harris about a month ago to help oversee that. We're in the midst of hiring somebody who's going to specialize in social media. We're looking at trying to connect with all the fans in all the various modes of social media. We're doing phone calls like this and you'll hear more of them from a number of coaches as we get into different parts of the season. What we really want to do is have a transparency so that our fans can have an understanding and feel connected and can hear our message. You know, really what we hope is the Sun Devil nation really opens it's ears and opens it's eyes and that we do a good job communicating that and if that message resonates with folks that they really will open their hearts and come back to ASU sports and enjoy the great emotional bonds that we've historically had. As we work through putting together the same top notch teams on the floor and the field that our spring teams have, I think we can rekindle that kind of emotion and social media is going to be a key component to that going forward. That is where we are today and a lot of the older mediums don't have the same power that they used to but social media is a huge part of it so you know keep an eye out because there's going to be folks tweeting out of here tonight and there'll be photos on Facebook and twitter and hopefully that kind of imaging helps everybody understand where we're headed here with Sun Devil Athletics.
Tim Healey: Right now we're going to go to Glendale and a football season ticket holder for seven years, Jack Knot. He's got a question about football and Coach Todd Graham. Jack welcome.
Jack: I'm discouraged we only have 6 home games this year but I'm just wondering what Todd Graham's specific plans are to make sure we make it into a bowl game this year. Does he have any goals that you want to share with us that you've given him?
Steve Patterson: First, our number of home games will vary from year to year depending upon whether you have trade outs on games going back and forth. So one year it'll be a game higher and the next year is a game lower. You know Todd's been very clear about his objective and we've been very clear about our expectations and that is, in the long run we are a top 25 ranked team. We expect to be winning the south probably three out of the five years that he coaches here and we want to be challenging for the Rose Bowl championship on a regular basis. We have high expectations. We've got good facilities and we're going to be improving those facilities. We've got great opportunities to recruit here in Arizona and the surrounding states and we don't see any reason why, if you're a student that wants to go to a high end university you can get a great education at Barrett Honors college, you know if you want to be in the communications school you've got a chance to do that, the business school you have a chance to do that. All the different opportunities you have at ASU, I think make for a great opportunity and great ability to attract the best and have great football teams and Todd's not afraid to compete and put a team together that's exciting and scores points and is disciplined. You look at his teams over the years, they didn't have a lot of penalties and they put a lot of points on the board and that's fun to watch.
Tim Healey: Next we're going to bring on Steven Kirk, a ticket holder since 1978. Steven thank you for holding and welcome aboard.
Steven: Two things, first it seems like the tailgating areas have gotten smaller and smaller over the years and I feel like soon they'll just be gone. Secondly, I have to show my tickets three times before getting to my seat; it just seems a bit overdone, any comments?
Steve Patterson: First, you're right we were under construction last year and that impacted our parking and that construction is done now, it's been done since about Christmas of last year and one great thing is it's going to create a lot of shade in the parking lot for folks who are in those parking lots northeast of Sun Devil Stadium. We're working on a number of elements to improve the tailgating experience, you know the Sun Devil Club last year started their tailgate area just to the south and east end of the stadium and we're looking to expand that and potentially be back in the arboretum with that if we can get that put together. Then in terms of what we're doing in the stadium and in the parking lot, not only at the football games but at all our games is we're partnering with the Disney institute to really improve our customer service, not just with ushers and ticket takers but with food services, security and parking. So I think you're going to see a dramatic change in terms of that kind of service level that we didn't have before. We've gone out and hired additional customer service folks and we've also got our sales and service center where we've got folks who can handle your requests and try to have a one on one relationship with folks day in and day out so you can really get what you need as a season ticket holder. You know we want to see to it that you have the kind of VIP service, with VIP lines and things that we're going to put together with the Disney folks as we move forward towards this upcoming football season and you'll see it rolled out at the arena and the ballparks and the soccer stadium as we get into those seasons in the winter and spring as well.
Tim Healey: Let's go back to the phones; a 30-year season ticket holder Marta Stanton is on the line here Steve.
Marta Stanton: I want to know about the new football stadium that you're going to be putting up and is there any chance you could make the capacity of the proposed football stadium to increase the proposed 55,000 to what we have now since we are the largest university and it will make fewer students be able to attend and will also increase the amount that the current season ticket holders are going to have to pay to make up for the difference for not having the probability of 15,000 more people?
Steve Patterson: We are looking at the exact configuration of the building. It's a very tight sight and one that if we're going to give people additional leg room in the stadium and potential seats or chair backs you're going to end up running over the top of the buttes on either side at the same number of seats. But we are doing a number of market studies to see what the exact number of seats in the stadium should be. It may be in the 55 - 60 thousand range, it may be in the 60-65 thousand range. But you look at most stadiums out there and given the growth of technology out there it's getting harder and harder for universities and even the pro stadiums to fill those last few thousand seats. What we really want is a great customer experience where people can get through concession lines, where there are elevators and escalators, and ADA compliant ramps so people can get to their seats comfortably. That's the kind of building we're trying to build and as we look at it in total we also want to build in some flexibility so that if over time the needs for the stadium change, be it for more seats or suites or club seats or lower seating then we'll be able to plug those in and do that without too much difficulty.
Tim Healey: A 34-year football season ticket holder from Chandler, Robert Anderson, is online now and he has a question in a similar vein, Robert welcome to our call.
Robert: I'm just wondering how this is going to affect the "average Joe's" ticket pricing.
Steve Patterson: Over time all ticket prices are going to go up, I'm not going to try to mislead you about that but we will keep pricing in different areas available to folks that are at a lower level and some obviously that are at a higher level. A lot of it will just kind of depend on what kind of amenities you want in the stadium. Whether you want a club seat or if you want to sit in the upper deck or next to the field that'll just depend on what you want to select on any of those. But we have some very affordable seats and we'll have some that are more expensive so that we can raise the revenue. One thing we need to focus on is historically ASU has been near the bottom of the conference when it comes to revenue it generates. So you look out there on the horizon and teams like LSU, they generate as much money in one football game then we do in our entire season. So if you want to have a team on the field that's competitive with those kinds of teams you have to pay to have the best coaches and you have to have the best facilities and the best student services to keep those student-athletes eligible and graduating on time.
Tim Healey: I think we have two or three minutes left and here's a question from a four- year season ticket holder, Judith Lobknocka.
Judith: You don't get that VIP treatment at Farrington Stadium. Someone needs to talk to Sodexho, could you do that?
Steve Patterson: We do need to upgrade the food service facilities. We did put new lights in this year at Farrington so our National Championship team looks good on television. We're going to be working on a number of the fan amenities as we move forward, I mean we don't have a ticket booth there, we need to upgrade the food service and we're potentially looking at putting in some solar power around there and it'd be a lot of fun if we could pull that off and get a little shade out of it as well. So keep an eye out as we get to next year, I think you'll see some improvements and hopefully you'll enjoy them.
Tim Healey: Well folks we really appreciate you hanging on with us and firing these questions away with Steve Patterson. We're going to wind down now with our final questioner of the evening, 42-year football season ticket holders from northwest Phoenix Jerry and Joyce Hewitt.
Joyce and Jerry: We really don't have a question we just want to tell you, welcome. There's nothing we can do about the past, we want to focus on the future. We've followed the Sun Devils and we've only missed 4 home games in those 42 years. We are very dedicated and we've had some rough times and we're getting up to the age where we've got to start winning. We don't care about the colors of the uniform and I'm very happy with Todd. I think he's taking us in the right direction, the discipline we need and I just want to wish you good luck in your endeavors. It's the first time in years I feel like we're going in the right direction. Good luck to you and we'll be there.
Steve Patterson: Thank you for calling and we really are trying to put together a program that wins, graduates our athletes at 80%, operates ethically, and is financially sustainable. You know we want a team that you can be proud of, but if you've been at it for 42 years that really shows a great commitment and I really appreciate the commitment of so many fans I've met in the 9 months I've been here and I love hearing those kind of stories of people being there day in and day out to support the team. So thank you for your commitment to ASU, ASU football, and the rest of ASU athletics. I look forward to seeing you out there in the fall as well. We're going to get you winners soon because after 42 years you don't want to be waiting much longer.
Tim Healey: Steve great questions tonight, don't you think?
Steve Patterson: Yes, a lot of great questions and we want to continue doing those kinds of things and hopefully we'll do it again in the future. If anybody has any other questions don't hesitate to give us a holler or e-mail and we'll get back to you as quick as we can.
Tim Healey: We want to thank all of you who called in and we're sorry we couldn't take all the questions in this, I guess, brief hour that we had together but we appreciate the interest. We appreciate the passion you all have for Sun Devil Athletics and great questions for the folks who were able to get on with Steve Patterson.