Football Attendance Crisis

Athletics Department, Facilities, etc.
wiu712
Posts: 3757
Joined: Tue Apr 22, 2014 2:05 pm

Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:19 am

The 2007 east side renovation increased seating capacity to 16,368. Given the crowds these days, that is way too many seats. Attendance at the 2017 home games ranged from 2,247 to 5,631.

Those east side stands were essentially empty except for the Western Band and maybe 100 visiting fans. The east side is the view that people see on the ESPN3 telecasts. So those empty stands are there for all to see.

The football stadium at Southern Utah University seats 8,500. A stadium that size would be more in line with the crowds that we have been getting. A crowd of 2,247 looks very small in a 16,368 facility.

Southern Utah's Stadium.
Image

Image

Marketing and Promotions need to be increased for 2018.

There are 6 JFL teams that play on Hanson Field on Sundays in the fall. Perhaps a promotion involving those 6 teams should be considered.
rocki
Posts: 817
Joined: Sat Apr 19, 2014 9:08 pm

Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:36 am

If I could make another suggestion, it would be for corporate sponsorships to get free tickets to games. I have had a hard time finding exactly what level would qualify one for free tickets now, but it seems if a business is going to invest a couple thousand for advertising they could at least get 2 tickets for each game to give to customers/employees.

I realize that cuts down on ticket sales, but maybe if we get butts in seats first, they'll find the experience enjoyable enough that they'll come back and purchase a ticket the next time. Face it, we've got nothing to lose by trying.
rocki
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Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:48 am

[quote="GV Dad" post_id=18433 time=1511740529 user_id=289]
I like all the ideas and, more importantly, the focus on this issue. As an outsider looking in, I have some ideas as well.

1) The team needs to get the students there. I liked what someone said about incenting the RAs to do what they can to get the kids in the dorms there. These are usually Freshman, so its important to get them interested in supporting the team early, hoping it will carry on for the next 3 to 4 years and beyond. I don't know who has the contract for food service at WIU, but maybe they could have a tailgate where the kids can use their meal plans?


This ^^^^. I've said this more than once - most kids I know support their high school football teams like nobody's business. We need this to carry over on into college. I realize high schools can be small whereas a college campus is much larger, but there needs to be an effort to make the students get invested in their team. They're not always going to have classes with them to get to know them, so there need to be some activities to get some interaction going. Some type of "meet the Leatherneck football team" (especially for incoming freshmen, although other classes need some type of introduction to the team as well) gathering on the football field or one of the big rooms in the Union....something like that.
RedNeck
Posts: 699
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:09 pm
Location: East Peoria

Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:23 pm

wiu712 wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:19 am
The 2007 east side renovation increased seating capacity to 16,368. Given the crowds these days, that is way too many seats. Attendance at the 2017 home games ranged from 2,247 to 5,631.

Those east side stands were essentially empty except for the Western Band and maybe 100 visiting fans. The east side is the view that people see on the ESPN3 telecasts. So those empty stands are there for all to see.

The football stadium at Southern Utah University seats 8,500. A stadium that size would be more in line with the crowds that we have been getting. A crowd of 2,247 looks very small in a 16,368 facility.

Southern Utah's Stadium.
Image

Image

Marketing and Promotions need to be increased for 2018.

There are 6 JFL teams that play on Hanson Field on Sundays in the fall. Perhaps a promotion involving those 6 teams should be considered.

712, do really believe that Hanson field SEATS 16,368? I may be mistaken but was it not stated when the new East side was built in 2007 that it was to accommodate 5,000 spectators? Hanson Field at most seats 12,000. What would one consider a seat space? 20"? I guess one could actually measure out all of the seat space and we could find out the truth. Now, there is plenty of room to put up temporary stands, however, only a token amount of that exists.
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leatherface
Posts: 423
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Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:25 pm

I don't know about actual seats being 16,000 +. He might be thinking of the single game records for attendance - which would include portable bleachers and folks sitting on the hills etc.:

1973- Central Michigan- 19,850
2003 SIU- 19,287
1972- Mankato- 18.900
1971- ISU- 18,700
2003- WKU- 18,203
Then going on down to 10th largest crowd 2012 ISU 16,033.

Whetther in the seats or wherever, Hanson Field has held some large crowds, and capable of handling those large numbers. Those of us who have been around remember those huge numbers in the 70's.
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leatherface
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Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:38 pm

Actually, WIU712 is correct- according to the Football Record Book found on the WIU site.
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ST_Lawson
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Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:58 pm

Just fyi, I did a rough estimation earlier this season from aerial photos and field level photos and as best as I can tell, Hanson Field can hold 12k-14k at the most in the actual seats. Obviously more can sit on the hillsides, but in the stadium itself, I don't think it's anywhere close to the 16k+ that we're listed at. If we do a renovation of the West side like what is shown in the renderings, we'd probably be at around 12k, which honestly, would be about right given our current situation.


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leatherface
Posts: 423
Joined: Sun Apr 20, 2014 4:42 pm

Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:03 pm

Oh no, an exaggerated number in the official record book?! :shock: :shock: :shock: Wonder what else might be stretcheeeeeeed in any of the record books. :? :?
GV Dad
Posts: 354
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:52 pm

Mon Nov 27, 2017 8:32 pm

rocki wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:48 am
GV Dad wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:55 pm
I like all the ideas and, more importantly, the focus on this issue. As an outsider looking in, I have some ideas as well.

1) The team needs to get the students there. I liked what someone said about incenting the RAs to do what they can to get the kids in the dorms there. These are usually Freshman, so its important to get them interested in supporting the team early, hoping it will carry on for the next 3 to 4 years and beyond. I don't know who has the contract for food service at WIU, but maybe they could have a tailgate where the kids can use their meal plans?


This ^^^^. I've said this more than once - most kids I know support their high school football teams like nobody's business. We need this to carry over on into college. I realize high schools can be small whereas a college campus is much larger, but there needs to be an effort to make the students get invested in their team. They're not always going to have classes with them to get to know them, so there need to be some activities to get some interaction going. Some type of "meet the Leatherneck football team" (especially for incoming freshmen, although other classes need some type of introduction to the team as well) gathering on the football field or one of the big rooms in the Union....something like that.
I did see where they spent time helping Freshman move into the dorm. Had a bunch of pics on social media. That was a great idea for the team.
Leatherneck309
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Oct 01, 2016 7:49 pm

Mon Jan 01, 2018 7:57 pm

Figured I would add a few of my thoughts. Whatever they do it is going to take some initiative by the University and Athletic Dept. I have a lot of passion for my alma mater so I hope they can make some improvements from where we are now.
1) The suggestion of getting the JFL involved is a great idea. It shouldn't be with just Macomb but with the surrounding communities too like Bushnell and Carriage. Give those kids free tickets. Get them on the field challenging each other in different activities during the exhaustive tv timeouts.
2) Do they have WiFi at Hanson Field and if so is it really good? This was the first year I haven't been back to a game in a long time. With technology having WiFi at a game is awesome. I had free tickets to a really good FBS game between 2 bowl teams that kicked off at the same time as the Weber St game. I took my tablet and watched the entire WIU/Weber St game with no streaming issues in a sold out stadium. I could recap the WIU game better than the game I was at.
3) Close the tailgating at a set time before the game start. Do a designated beer tent section inside the stadium. I would think this could be a fun atmosphere area if done right. There are thousands of empty seats on the east side so I don't think a alcohol section would impact much.
4) Get the local schools involved. Macomb and other local communities. Have similar activities for the kids as suggested above for JFL teams. Can the GA coaches or Rocky go into the schools during the week to draw interest?
5) Have special themes such as take your dog to the game. Tie that in with an adoption event with a local shelter. People love their dogs. We pay $35 for a ticket for our dog to take him to the Brewers game each summer when they do their dog event. Have also done this for a White Sox game. The dog sections are always sold out. Again we have empty sections to use. Just have to be creative with your events. K-State does its Harley Day each year agaisnt a bad opponent that wont draw. Motorcycle riders get to lead the team in and drive thier bikes around the field before the game. Kids go to watch dad drive and rev up the bike. It also draws a new group.
6) Getting out of Q lot used to suck after big events. I know they closed off one exit. Is it still a mess? They have to figure that out especially if they want attendance to increase. I could get out of Wrigley quicker than Q lot after a graduation.
7) For travelers like myself accommodations aren't good. There are limited hotel options and prices for a room are expensive on game weekends. Does the University have options on campus to make a mini hotel for visitors. This would help for just recruiting students in general and getting their families to visit.
8) What about events after the game. If I travel to Macomb I want more to do than just a game. There are a lot of happenings in Normal for example. They need to take the post game events up for fans visiting and liven up campus and the town. Unless you are college age there isn't a lot happening.
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