Think About It: Fan Stand - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News, Weather and Sports

December 29, 2011

Think About It: Fan Stand

So what will be the keys for the new UH football regime under Coach Norm Chow? Chow can, and will, do a great job. He will surround himself with the staff people who he feels can do the best job for the student athletes and the university. He will bring a new sense of excitement to the field, as is expected with any new high-profile sports hire. He will help UH compete in its new conference- the Mountain West- which is the right conference for UH football at the right time in an ever-changing football landscape where UH is not able to apply much leverage as the #72 TV market on an island. A tough economy and wins and losses are only part of the rationale for weak attendance. 2 or 3 games on ESPN don't help encourage the casual fan's desires to show up. $45 for two tickets and parking equals a night at the movies with popcorn or an inexpensive dinner for two, to put the costs into perspective. This is about commitment and caring, and there is a dearth of people between the ages of 25 and 55 who seem willing to commit. And student attendance is abysmal- so much for supporting your friends on a non-school night.

What Mr. Chow can't do is ensure that the fan base will be there, even if he wins a lot. To help the team and the budget coffers, the football team needs draw closer to 40,000 fans per game, rather than the 28,000 plus who showed up in 2011. Only twice in the past 22-years has UH averaged more than 40,000 fans in the stands for each home game. Yes, we have a rabid, loyal fan base, and a quality, elderly fan base for all UH sports that will show up through thick and thin. What we need, from our population base of over 900,000 people on O'ahu, is a better turnout from people willing to buy incremental game tickets more often to help support the program and have a fun night.

Or, we can stop complaining about mediocre records due, in part, to recruiting woes, lack of facilities compared to others, inability to pay for top assistants, etc. It all adds up. The realistic goal for the UH football team is to compete for a conference title every year, with hopes of getting nationally-ranked from time to time. Having the right players coached by the right people is always a key, but so is the support from the public for our public university. And don't play pay-per-view or TV- revenues and ratings are flat at best, have been for years. Lip service and fair-weather opinions on blogs and radio shows are great. Rest assured, the product on the field will be there. We need more fans in the stands to allow Chow and his team a better chance to win. Think about it…

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