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Author Topic: Declining Attendance- Kentucky Basketball Edition  (Read 1054 times)

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Offline chittlins

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Declining Attendance- Kentucky Basketball Edition
« on: December 14, 2013, 09:42:31 AM »
I read this and I immediately remember Cal's yammering at Memphis about playing neutral site games against big time opponents to better ready his teams for the NCAA instead of going to other big school campuses and risk getting home courted and this was after his not wanting to play regional powers (like Arkansas) nonsense. I say nonsense because if you offer Memphis football games you'll get the basketball games and Memphis dropping us was a retaliation of PawPaw and Nutt cancelling the football games. Chickens are roosting and Kentucky is wandering "WTF."


John Clay: Fan-first plan might reverse falling Rupp attendance

By JohnClay

Herald-Leader Sports ColumnistDecember 11, 2013 


The average attendance through the first seven home games of John Calipari's tenure as head coach has dropped each season. Rupp Arena averaged 23,868 over that span in his first season to 21,799 in the same span this season.

The numbers don't lie.

Through seven home games, this is the fourth consecutive year attendance for Kentucky men's basketball games at Rupp Arena has dropped.

That's right, dropped.

Average attendance has gone from 23,868 through the first seven home games of 2009, John Calipari's first season as the UK coach, to 23,116 in 2010, to 23,039 in 2011, to 22,071 in 2012 to 21,799 this season.

To be sure, all numbers are relative. UK still draws more fanatics for an intrasquad basketball scrimmage than most schools seat for an actual game. And across the country, low college sports attendance has turned viral.

And yet this is Kentucky basketball — "We are college basketball," proclaimed Calipari — we're talking about.

If the numbers don't lie, then why are they dropping?

Let's explore four possible culprits.

1. Students as scapegoats is the easiest answer. After all, most of the Rupp Arena empty spaces are upper-level seats reserved for students.

But who wants to sit there?

Back in the day, the student section began at lower level mid-court and proceeded toward the end zone. Now it is the end zone where students stand in the E-Rupp-tion Zone and watch the game from behind the basket support.

The rest of the students are tucked in an upstairs corner where, you know, they won't get in the way.

2. Then there is the weak home schedule. Fact is, Kentucky's three most interesting matchups this season have been neutral-site games — Michigan State in Chicago; Providence in Brooklyn and Baylor in Dallas.

The prevalence of these made-for-TV, big-ticket affairs has all but turned the home-and-home series into an antique. Over the past four years, UK has played Duke, Michigan State, Kansas, Connecticut, Oklahoma, Washington, Maryland and Providence without any of those schools visiting Rupp Arena.

That's not the case everywhere. This season, Kansas has played at Florida, Indiana has played at Syracuse, Memphis has played at Oklahoma State, Florida has played at Wisconsin, North Carolina has played at Michigan State, Oregon has played at Ole Miss.

Meanwhile, Kentucky and Indiana canceled their home-and-home series.

3. The one-and-dones have done blockbuster business for Kentucky's off-court recruiting rankings and on-court success, paving the way for the 2012 national title, but I sense a creeping one-and-done fatigue.

I hear more and more comments from fans wistful for the good old days when you got to know players over an extended period and could watch them grow, develop, mature and even celebrate "Senior Night."

Those days are probably over, of course, but you wonder if the annual task of learning a new roster has lessened the average fan's enthusiasm — at least the fan who doesn't follow recruiting as religion.

4. The Rupp Arena experience has turned stale. The only noticeable in-game change is the introductions video (and this year, not for the better). Rupp's lower level has always lacked enthusiasm, while the upper level remains cramped and uncomfortable with a poor view of the action.

In the past, the only way to be part of the game experience was to sit with the "real fans" in the nose-bleeds. With every game now on television, that's no longer the case.

Why pay good money to squint from the rafters when you can sit in the comfort of your home with your free parking, your reasonably priced beverage and your Wi-Fi connection, all in front of your HD 60-inch screen television.

At home, or even at your favorite sports bar, you can yell as loud as you'd like at Teddy Valentine without the patron in the next seat telling you to keep it down.

Simply put: These days, there are too many good reasons to just watch the game from home, even if it is a Kentucky basketball game.

To get recruits, Calipari likes to say he runs a "Players-first program."

To put people back in the seats, maybe UK should put more emphasis on a "Fans-first program."

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/12/11/2983413/john-clay-exploring-the-culprits.html#storylink=cpy

Offline Po Pimp

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Re: Declining Attendance- Kentucky Basketball Edition
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2013, 10:40:20 AM »
In all these articles about poor attendance for football and now basketball, the authors leave out the most important thing.  The fricking ticket prices have gone through the roof.

Every time Sexton negotiates another $2 mil raise for Saban that's another couple hundred empty seats.  It's obvious we've passed the point of diminishing returns on salaries and the greedy agents and coaches have killed the goose that lays the golden eggs.  It's only going to get worse.

Offline Splurge

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Re: Declining Attendance- Kentucky Basketball Edition
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2013, 10:57:08 AM »
I'll admit...I struggle with #3 myself both as a Hog fan and a college basketball fan.  I don't get the chance to build up love for Corliss or hatred for Christian Laettner like I did back in the day.

Offline Trigger7672

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Re: Declining Attendance- Kentucky Basketball Edition
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2013, 11:03:52 AM »
I'll admit...I struggle with #3 myself both as a Hog fan and a college basketball fan.  I don't get the chance to build up love for Corliss or hatred for Christian Laettner like I did back in the day.

It makes for a worse product on the court too. The 94 team would dominate any college team in the nation this year just because they played together so well. College basketball has gotten pretty sloppy over the years. That's why a team like Butler who was able to build team chemistry made back to back national title games.

Offline aNiMaL

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Re: Declining Attendance- Kentucky Basketball Edition
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2013, 03:02:35 PM »
The only way to solve attendance issues throughout major college athletics and namely men's college basketball is to set in place conditions that help promote and drive ticket sales instead of discourage it.


Nobody wants to go watch a game where the whistle blows every other trip.

Nobody wants to go watch players look like the have no clue how to shoot said free throws.

Most fans have had to reduce the amount of events they can attend because of the rising costs, in many cases taking the family to other non-gaming events is cheaper and the kids get more out of it.

Access to see events in the living room through multi-media has had a huge impact. The ease factor of sitting in the living room in underwear with beer in hand is just something that is hard to put a value on. We say we cannot afford to go to the games and that is true for many, but then we follow that up by buying expensive television and internet programming. The reality is we just get more bang for our buck this way.

Now we can talk about what this guy started out with. Students, Scheduling, Player Retention.

Why aren't the students showing up? The simple answer? Scheduling and Seating...the guy nailed it. I don't know what happened but it's something that has been coming on for the past several years. Across the nation the student "sections" have disappeared along with the students. At BWA, things have improved somewhat but on a good day our crowds can sound more like an NBA crowd with less piped in music.

Scheduling? Yeah we would all love to play more "solid" mid-majors and a few more power conference foes. We bitch about the weight of the schedules and the reality is in D1 basketball there is a lot of parity and it isn't football, shouldn't be treated like it. We are going to have to schedule the Savannagh State's of the world. What I'd do differently is go play a few of these on the road. Get a set of balls and go on the road. What's going to be more fun to watch a tomb at BWA with 5000 fans or go on the road to a small college atmosphere and they'll sell out. The bigger school takes a 70/30 cut because we're the mover and shaker. How much of an economic impact would that be on NWA losing 3 or 4 games in the early season when nobody is paying attention anyway? By doing this...it also makes it more likely fans show up for the home games because there are fewer...increase crowd strengths helps the team get it's roll on, layup road games help get some confidence going which can't be a bad thing. This model for scheduling IMO should be adopted to playing instate and regional teams. We used to do this to a certain extent playing games in Pine Bluff.


Player retention: I don't think anyone would disagree that guys leaving way too early for the NBA has hurt college basketball. This won't be fixed until the NBA elects to strengthen the early entry requirements (age, evaluations, hardship factors)...and the NCAA could come off it's high horse and redefine what it means to be a student athlete participating in division one athletics. As it was talked about the other day, the NCAA is going to have to adopt certain modern realities or risk losing a major chunk to an new "league" of sorts outside of their control.


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Offline Trigger7672

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Re: Declining Attendance- Kentucky Basketball Edition
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2013, 03:49:23 PM »
Hey animal I don't know if you saw it but Qualls is projected as a late 1st round pick in the 2015 NBA draft, so you may not be that off base that he could leave after this season if he gets some bad advice. He definitely needs another year at least though.

Offline PorkRyan

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Re: Declining Attendance- Kentucky Basketball Edition
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2013, 06:18:29 PM »
In all these articles about poor attendance for football and now basketball, the authors leave out the most important thing.  The fricking ticket prices have gone through the roof.

Every time Sexton negotiates another $2 mil raise for Saban that's another couple hundred empty seats.  It's obvious we've passed the point of diminishing returns on salaries and the greedy agents and coaches have killed the goose that lays the golden eggs.  It's only going to get worse.

This guy nailed it. I'm not spending $100 plus concessions and gas to watch us play savannah state.  We go to more baseball games now than we do basketball and I used to love basketball. Cost is one of the main reasons we go to more baseball games
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Re: Declining Attendance- Kentucky Basketball Edition
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2013, 06:27:27 PM »
This guy nailed it. I'm not spending $100 plus concessions and gas to watch us play savannah state.  We go to more baseball games now than we do basketball and I used to love basketball. Cost is one of the main reasons we go to more baseball games
We is also the reason. Back in the day you only had to Lau for yourself.
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Offline aNiMaL

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Re: Declining Attendance- Kentucky Basketball Edition
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2013, 07:25:44 PM »

Hey animal I don't know if you saw it but Qualls is projected as a late 1st round pick in the 2015 NBA draft, so you may not be that off base that he could leave after this season if he gets some bad advice. He definitely needs another year at least though.

He wouldn't get no cherry if he took some bad advice.


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Offline DrMongoose

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Re: Declining Attendance- Kentucky Basketball Edition
« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2013, 08:08:50 PM »
In all these articles about poor attendance for football and now basketball, the authors leave out the most important thing.  The fricking ticket prices have gone through the roof.

Every time Sexton negotiates another $2 mil raise for Saban that's another couple hundred empty seats.  It's obvious we've passed the point of diminishing returns on salaries and the greedy agents and coaches have killed the goose that lays the golden eggs.  It's only going to get worse.

this and the fact almost every game can be viewed on a giant HDTV in your home.
Haters gonna hate

Offline papermill

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Re: Declining Attendance- Kentucky Basketball Edition
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2013, 09:03:42 PM »
The one and done thing ruined it for me.  Sports are mercenary and get more so as the money rises but that makes it too obvious.  They need something like baseball or just let them go straight from HS.

Offline chittlins

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Re: Declining Attendance- Kentucky Basketball Edition
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2013, 09:08:31 PM »
Rupp was supposed to get smaller with some renovation work. Guess it hasn't happened

 

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