Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Texas Tech Men's Basketball Attendance Woes

The Texas Tech men's basketball program has gone through a lot in the past half a decade: the hiring of Bobby Knight, eight transfers in the last two seasons, the recent resignation of Bob Knight, and the beginning of the Pat Knight era.
By the way, another bigger problem, Texas Tech's men's basketball attendance in the United Spirit Arena is averaging only a measly 6,943 this season.

Here is an attendance list for each home game this season:

Team Attendance
Stephen F. Austin 5,762
TCU 5,942
Louisiana Tech 5,742
Stanford 7,119
Northwestern State 6,402
Lamar 5,075
UTEP 6,458
Texas A&M 11,268
Missouri 7,317
Oklahoma State 8,351

Yes, this is in the same United Spirit Arena that George Strait sold out in three hours for his March 7 concert in Lubbock. It is not hard to tell that basketball is not on the minds of many people in West Texas, but this wasn't the case so long ago. Bob Knight's first season in Lubbock the average game attendance was 13,743 - near twice what it is right now. But this season isn't the first season that attendance has proved to be troublesome since Bob Knight; here is an article from 2003 concerning Knight's frustration with the attendance at games.

When asked what the reason for the lack of attendance I have heard almost every excuse in the book, but the most popular answer is "if the team would win, than I would go to the game," but that's simply a horrible excuse. If you look at the Iowa State Cyclone men's basketball program, the team is 13-11 (3-6 in Big XII play) and a modest 12-4 at home in Ames, Iowa, yet still ranked second in the conference in attendance with over 13,000 sold tickets per game. This in a town that is less than 1/4 the size of Lubbock and with a university with about 4,000 less students. Your Red Raiders? A perfect 10-0 at the USA in Lubbock, even without the support of the community rallying behind them. It is no single person's fault for the lack of attendance, but I think everyone needs to take at least some responsibility.

As a student that lives on the Texas Tech campus I know that there are plenty of students that are bored on week nights and have nothing better to do - so I ask all of you guys this question - why not go to the Tech basketball? If anyone saw the ESPN 2 broadcast of the Red Raider game against Oklahoma State last week, the announcers disrespected Texas Tech the entire game and even went as far as saying the USA was a "morgue." I, personally, was at the game and would hardly call it quiet, so television really does no justice. For any student that says basketball games are boring, I would disagree with that statement too. Just come to a game, sometime when you are bored, what's the worst that could happen, you have fun?
I don't know what you will be doing during the next Texas Tech men's basketball game at the United Spirit Arena, but I will be in the student section, standing and screaming my head off - the entire game, just like always.

Happy Pat Knight Day Lubbock!


Charles said...

There are a number of thing that the campus organizations can do to promote the games. When I was a student there, I missed a number of games simply because I had no clue that they were going on.

The biggest help, I think, would be a weekly "game night" article for both the men's and women's games telling readers when to expect the next game. Make a front-page ad (a little "Men's Basketball, next game: Kansas State, 2/13/08 (today), 7:00") next to the headline and then we're talking.

Also think that, if the fans from lubbock aren't going to show up, the university needs to open up better seating to the students instead of relegating overflow to the second level until ALL of the bottom level is filled.

but I'm not a student anymore, so *shrug*, good luck.

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