Kentucky Worries About Attendance

Discussion in 'Nuttin' but Net' started by GothamGator, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. GothamGator
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    GothamGator VIP Member VIP Member

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    Kentucky has had 7 home games so far this year, and average attendance is down nearly 10% from Calipari's first season in 2009. In fact, attendance has dropped in every year of Calipari's tenure at UK.

    Now, it is important to put things in perspective. Kentucky still draws fans in numbers that other SEC schools can only dream about. Still, it is interesting to see that they are struggling with attendance just like other schools and to read why they think this is happening. In light of our attendance struggles since 2007, it makes for interesting reading.

    http://www.kentucky.com/2013/12/11/2983413/john-clay-exploring-the-culprits.html

    To summarize, here are the 4 possible reasons the article lists.

    1. Students get bad seats and don't want to sit there.
    2. Home schedule is not interesting enough.
    3. Fans growing tired of one-and-dones.
    4. Arena experience has grown stale.
  2. g8rboy
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  3. bakaduin
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    bakaduin Super Moderator

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    I love going to basketball games so let me get that out of the way first. That being said, any sporting event is now competing with a heck of good at home experience. I live in Gainesville and I am semi-frequently able to get tickets from my boss that are a few rows up from the court behind the Gator bench. When I get those tickets offered to me I move heaven and earth to get a babysitter and go to the game. When I don't we rarely go. To me the work that comes with finding/paying a sitter and going to sit in the third level with general admission tickets doesn't outweigh sitting at home, being able to be in GatorCountry chat, and watching the game on my big screen.
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  4. tegator80
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    My guess? It's no different than football for most of the SEC teams. The prices for the games has forced the fans out (short for fanatic) and the people with more resources in. The passions/traditions aren't there for the new group, including the students. That is the ancillary effect of chasing after money.

    And as an aside, since this is a basketball thread, I am still expecting some Thursday night games in our future because the SEC and ESPN decided it was our turn.
  5. REM08
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    REM08 Well-Known Member

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    Problems I see:

    1 - Percentage of student tickets being used is way down. Not a big deal though. Unused tickets get offered to the public. Some say this isn't advertised enough, but I say this wouldn't stop fans if demand were high enough.

    2 - Rupp may be semi-historic, but its an elite venue by name only. Its hard to beat for big games. But its pretty quiet during most of the cupcakes.

    3 - Like everyone else has said - its hard to beat the home experience. I live 4 miles from Rupp and can't get good tickets. Between school loans and a 1-year-old, the thought of dropping 50-60 bucks for nose bleeder seats that are on old fashioned metal bleachers so that my wife and I can try and balance a 1 year old while sitting on a 45 degree slope and surrounded by people, pay 10-15 bucks for parking, walk half a mile each way in 20 degree weather - you get the picture. It just doesn't sound as good as watching it at home, with whatever food and drink we want, for free, in HD, with a view our cheap tickets can't dream of competing with. Oh yeah, can surf twitter and message boards during commercial breaks, maybe change a diaper here and there. This is something that seems to be affecting every sports team for the most part - well maybe not the diaper part.

    I run into UK fans regularly who aren't fans of the one and done thing and grow tired of learning a new roster every year. However, I ask them if they'd trade this for most of Tubby's years or Gillispie's teams and they're quick to say no. Being elite most years and having more roster stability? They'd prefer it over now, no question. But I honestly don't see this putting much of a dent in ticket demand. I think its more a sign of the times.

    Rupp will be renovated soon and it sounds like the capacity will be shrinking to closer to 21k (I think I'm right about that). I read some projection that showed why Syracuse will probably win the attendance crown this year.
  6. bakaduin
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    bakaduin Super Moderator

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    Congrats on the 1 year old. My son (first kid) just turned 1 at the end of November and it has certainly changed my sport viewing experience. Going to football games (even living in Gainesville) and basketball games is a lot more difficult. I did get to take him to Florida Georgia this year which was a great experience. Watching them on TV is more difficult as well but I wouldn't trade being a dad for anything!
  7. REM08
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    REM08 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks and congrats to you too! First time Dad here as well. My daughter just turned one in October, so we're at about the same place. Definitely rearranges your life, but for the better!
  8. GatorRade
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    I feel a bit bad about this, but I love my home viewing set up. We don't have a super high hertz TV or Dolby or anything, but just being able to sit on our comfy couch with immediate access to my own beer selection and view of the river...I need to be pulled away sometimes. Add to this, that I am also a new father (10 month old boy), and I'm not making the drive up to Gainesville very often.
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  9. HallGator
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    Bunch of future Gators. That's great.
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  10. gator7_5
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    gator7_5 Well-Known Member

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    I'm sure a lack of connection with the one and dones does play a small part. How much more did the UF fans love Noah, Horford, etc, as Juniors than they did as Fr. and So.?
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  11. qwghlmgator
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    After the game Tuesday, my kids and I kept watching through the first half of the UK-BSU game. My 13 year old daughter (and rabid Gator fan) was flipping out about how dead Rupp was. She kept asking me "Why does everybody say that Rupp is so great?? Where are their students?? I don't hear any noise...I just see old people sitting down." The difference in the two environments was jarring. :)

    I told her to remember we were playing a big game and they weren't really. I also reminded her of last year and how Rupp could really rock for a big game and opined that the difference was really less of a knock on Rupp as it was a testimony to the awesomeness of the "gym style" seating we have on the first level and the wisdom of giving half those seats to the students. But still. Wow.
  12. 08gatorbait
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    Honestly Kentucky fans don't strike me as the constantly loud place like Kansas or Duke, etc. They get loud at certain moments. Key possessions, when a run is sparking, when someone deserves an applause. They know basketball in lexington and will cheer when needed. Kind of seems they expect to win at home to the point that they don't feel it's needed to be loud all game.
  13. iam4uf
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    This is what would do it for me.
  14. GothamGator
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    To me, nothing beats being in the arena - PROVIDED, you can get good seats. Basketball is not like football, where being high above the action is often an advantage. Being within a few rows of a basketball court is as good as it gets in sports. Being farther back than that is still better than TV. But, when you're up high for hoops, the tradeoff between a TV set and nosebleed seats becomes a tossup at best.
  15. REM08
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    My parents have been to a few games in Gainesville and said its a great place to see a game. Said even in the upper level in the corner its a great view (you'd need binoculars for this at Rupp btw). This the opinion of you guys? I'll get down there to see a game eventually I'm sure.
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  16. hoopstar
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    Went to Rupp last season when they played the Gators on a Sat. Think it was a noon game. Place outside was packed 3 hrs prior to tip. Sellout crowd as expected. Huge place, 23k I think. Fla had an 8 pt lead with about 5 to go. I swear, they were standing up about to hit the exits when they made their run & we choked up & handed them the game! But it got real loud & you could clearly see the crowd affected our play. Our guys got rattled when the crowd came alive.
    So it is a great place to see a game when a good opponent comes to Rupp. And several of the players told me it's the loudest place they've played in to date.
    May be a little dated, but a great place to see a good game. And I've been in a ton of gyms in my day! And I sure like the O-Dome too. The KS game was great. Packed, loud, the whole Gator band was there & the Rowdies were fantastic. Worth the drive from Orlando, even getting home at midnight! Can't beat the experience.
    But I will be glad when they give the O a much needed re-do!! It's about worn out!
  17. dailydoublecat
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    dailydoublecat <font color=blue>Respected Rival</font>

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    Kentucky home schedule is pretty weak and also fans have or will spend money on the neutral site games or the SEC tourney, or the NCAA tourney if we get there.

    Jeff
  18. akaGatorhoops
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    The one and done theory is an interesting one. I suspect many UK fans are very much traditional hoops fans.... And may be a bit put off by the revolving door. I know that I get a great amount of enjoyment in following a players career, growth and development. I love watching a kid like Scottie or Casey become a complete basketball player over the course of his career.
  19. 08gatorbait
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    I wonder if that is a part of it. Now if it was Donovan's strategy I'm sure we'd love it and say it's amazing and I suspect most Cats fans to stand by what their program does. But it is interesting that this downward trend started once this started happening...though it doesn't make sense that the 2012 team didn't have massive fans at the door lined up to get tickets.
  20. BEH
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    Or maybe the downturn in the economy.

    To date it is not hurting UK in the pocket book, when that happens something will be changed. UK sells out, but folks often don't show because every game is available in HD and live nationally and there is not parking fee. And as Jeff stated the home slate is not against great teams until Louisville. But if you want to do a study in demand go on the internet and buy a Louisville Ticket. In February the Florida game will also bring top dollar. For Auburn you may go on Rupp Rafters and get a free ticket or one for face value. But the folks who have good season tickets will never let them go and will continue to pay top dollar to get to go to the big games. I tried 25 years to get good season tickets and failed.

    Tuesday Rupp was quite; however, the loudest place that I have ever been in for a basketball game was at Rupp. Boise State was a tourney team last year, but outside a few haters and Dick Vitale most UK fan expected a win by double digits. The constant drone that one hears about Rupp not being a good home court because of the crowd is far from the truth. One big problem at UK is the small number of student tickets, but the administration long ago decided that the big bucks were better than students and the result is that UK has fewer students at the games than darned near any school (plus the students have to pay for tickets also).

    The crowd is not influenced one iota in my mind because of one and done players. I don't know what a 'traditional fan' is but UK has far more fans than any team in the nation. So if some hate one and done UK still has more fans left over than any team around. UK 'traditional fans' want wins and talent allows a team to win. The harp on one and done is from fans of other programs who wanted those players. Are Duke 'traditional fans' going to drop Duke next year when they bring in 3 of the top 5 players? Give me a break, Duke fans are going to eat it up. Are the Kansas fans pissed off that they have Embiid and Wiggins?

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