A Lackluster In-Arena Experience is to Blame for UC Basketball’s Attendance Problem
By: Chester Bolt
We need Mick Cronin fist pumping as he sits atop Jarron Cumberlands shoulders while running out of the locker room. We need Nick Lachey to perform “What’s Left of Me” to a confused 5,000-13,000 fans.
How about Melvin Levett parachuting down from the rafters and firing Donatos slices into the stands? I don’t give a hoot what it is, but something has to change. Many of us think that UC’s attendance problems begin and end with the fact that 5/3 Arena is a dump. They think that it’s ridiculous our televisions in the concourses are Magnavox boxes that were considered outdated when Bobby Brannen was trotting down the floor.
They bicker at the thought of walking up steps to then walk down to their seats (seriously though, when did that ever make sense?). And many make excuses that they don’t want to sit up in the rafters, or even worse, those corner seats that make you feel like you’re the Pope on the Vatican’s balcony or something.
I agree that our arena is an absolute dump, but let’s not forget it’s what goes on inside it that draws people from coming back. I’m not talking about the basketball team, we’re solid and draw plenty of eyeballs, but those people can also tune in via 60 inch flat screen in high definition broadcast. What would you miss out on if you went this route?
You’d miss out on the most dynamic pregame intros of all time, lights fully on and their emcee about as dynamic as the voice of the Mariemont Warriors. Don’t take too long to get a beer, you may miss the Donato’s pizza giveaway. Do they really think giving out two large pizzas to a 13,176 seat stadium is going to get the crowd on their feet? Ok, so that’s painfully over. Now back to the band. Halftime horn sounds, “here comes the dance team! AGAIN.” We get it, they’re the 10 time defending world champions and four time national champions (however that makes sense). Now let’s just sit in complete silence for five minutes before they play some awful montage of all the irrelevant sports teams that no one cares about singing Jingle Bell Rock.
I bring this up because soon we won’t have the arena to blame. The Cats will have a beautiful, state of the art arena, that will still be filled with an East Carolina and or Tulane type program at least once every other week.
It won’t be a problem filling the arena the first season. It probably won’t be a problem the second. After all, new digs do provide excitement. But it wears off, and when it does, if someone hasn’t received one of the two pizzas being delivered, is tired of the Bearcats dance team, and is just flat out sick on the same trite routine day in and day out, then why will they come back?
Can we take our marketing team to a Xavier game? Do you wonder why they sell-out game after game? Maybe it has to do with the fact that Xavier games are about more than just basketball. They’re fun for the entire family and you leave talking about your experience, not just the game. You can go to an X game and leave with a free tee-shirt that was placed on your seat, catch a ball, snag a skyline card dropped from the rafters, see fireworks, watch a former Xavier player knock down a half-court shot, and even see a man cut himself in half at intermission (No thanks, our dance team is pretty fucking good).
As a season ticket holder I want some excitement, and I want it now.