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Football Game Day Attendance


Football grandma
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Many people talk about the small crowds that attend the home games. Let's get some of the reasons out in the open! Why don't the students attend? Why do alumni that live nearby not attend?

 

What are some ideas to increase the spectator numbers?  Don't just oh hum the situation. Offer some suggestions. Maybe someone with clout at the university will read them and act. YOU may have a great idea so speak up!

 

 

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I would say a few factors off the top of my head unfortunately play into this:

 

1. Akron football has not been a very good product for a long time. I get ragged on by a few people I know, who are sports fans, for having season tickets to Zips football. However, they have admitted they would probably go to games if the Zips produced good teams, or at least competitive teams. Their losing ways for SO long has turned a lot of people off. If they start winning consistently, I think people would be more interested. 

 

2. Ohio State. I hate to say it, but in Ohio, many children are Ohio State fans and grow up watching them with friends and family. Even if no one in their friends or family ever graduated from Ohio State, people are still bred to watch them. It's easy, they always win, get a lot of coverage, so forth. Kids go to Akron for an education, but many will stay in their dorm or go to a local bar on a Saturday and watch the Buckeyes play on Saturday, even though the Zips have a home game on campus. This is frustrating!!

 

3. Coverage by local media. It is non-existent and any articles written by ABJ feel forced sometimes. I think the fact that no one, including the local media or university, really even promoted the fact that people could get FREE tickets to the home opener is a sign of how much change needs to happen on that front. 

 

I need to get back to work or else I'd go into further detail on these points, but those are just some thoughts off the top of my head.

 

My suggestion: Win, plain and simple. And push local promotion of the team. 

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8 hours ago, Football grandma said:

Many people talk about the small crowds that attend the home games. Let's get some of the reasons out in the open

A college football fan can invest his/her entire day (driving there, tailgating, watching the game, driving home), or spend the day watching every game, including the Zips, on a 65" HDTV. 

 

A Zips fan can only take so much losing in their lifetime. I would be embarrassed to add up the amount of Zip losses I have witnessed in person, and I'm probably not even in the top 1k. Most Zips fans are Browns fans as well, how many times can that fan watch their team lose on Sat, only to turn around and watch it happen on Sun as well. The Zips\Browns fan is a special kind of person. There should be a local therapy office specializing. 

 

Many more reasons, but they are all excuses. Winning solves everything. I'm confident JoMo has the Zips on the right path. Once they become an entertaining team, fans will show up. 

 

 

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38 minutes ago, Dr Z said:

A college football fan can invest his/her entire day (driving there, tailgating, watching the game, driving home), or spend the day watching every game, including the Zips, on a 65" HDTV. 

 

A Zips fan can only take so much losing in their lifetime. I would be embarrassed to add up the amount of Zip losses I have witnessed in person, and I'm probably not even in the top 1k. Most Zips fans are Browns fans as well, how many times can that fan watch their team lose on Sat, only to turn around and watch it happen on Sun as well. The Zips\Browns fan is a special kind of person. There should be a local therapy office specializing. 

 

Many more reasons, but they are all excuses. Winning solves everything. I'm confident JoMo has the Zips on the right path. Once they become an entertaining team, fans will show up. 

 

 

BOOM!

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My advice about attendance for fans is....stop worrying about it. I love college football and enjoy going to games. In addition, I don't care if there is anyone else at the game other than Mrs. GP1, the luckiest woman in the world. Big crowds create inconveniences for me (lines and traffic) I would prefer to not deal with. 

 

My ideal Wake game would be as follows. I have a parking spot right next to the stadium to tailgate. Once in the stadium, all bathrooms and concession stand would be open. The people required to run the game would be there including the scoreboard operator. Cheerleaders and band would be there. Ideally my wife and I would be the only two in attendance. I've gotten to the age where I really don't care for large crowds and find the experience of them overrated. 

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6 minutes ago, GP1 said:

My advice about attendance for fans is....stop worrying about it. I love college football and enjoy going to games. In addition, I don't care if there is anyone else at the game other than Mrs. GP1, the luckiest woman in the world. Big crowds create inconveniences for me (lines and traffic) I would prefer to not deal with. 

 

My ideal Wake game would be as follows. I have a parking spot right next to the stadium to tailgate. Once in the stadium, all bathrooms and concession stand would be open. The people required to run the game would be there including the scoreboard operator. Cheerleaders and band would be there. Ideally my wife and I would be the only two in attendance. I've gotten to the age where I really don't care for large crowds and find the experience of them overrated. 

 

I'm not into big crowds either, but a big amped up crowd at a football game is amazing. I'd love to hear a big roar from the crowd for a Zips TD. 

 

You won't find me ever wanting to live in NYC, not into crowds either, but I'd love to see the Info in full capacity, or close to it, for home games. 

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6 minutes ago, GP1 said:

My advice about attendance for fans is....stop worrying about it. I love college football and enjoy going to games. In addition, I don't care if there is anyone else at the game other than Mrs. GP1, the luckiest woman in the world. Big crowds create inconveniences for me (lines and traffic) I would prefer to not deal with. 

 

My ideal Wake game would be as follows. I have a parking spot right next to the stadium to tailgate. Once in the stadium, all bathrooms and concession stand would be open. The people required to run the game would be there including the scoreboard operator. Cheerleaders and band would be there. Ideally my wife and I would be the only two in attendance. I've gotten to the age where I really don't care for large crowds and find the experience of them overrated. 

At the Tennessee game there was a family behind us with two sub 5-year old kids. Sitting in front of them, you repeatedly got kicked, or their pom poms shaken in your head, or their cotton candy stuck to your back or your seats. Gimme an empty InfoCision over that any day of the week.

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1 hour ago, Dr Z said:

A college football fan can invest his/her entire day (driving there, tailgating, watching the game, driving home), or spend the day watching every game, including the Zips, on a 65" HDTV. 

 

A Zips fan can only take so much losing in their lifetime. I would be embarrassed to add up the amount of Zip losses I have witnessed in person, and I'm probably not even in the top 1k. Most Zips fans are Browns fans as well, how many times can that fan watch their team lose on Sat, only to turn around and watch it happen on Sun as well. The Zips\Browns fan is a special kind of person. There should be a local therapy office specializing. 

 

Many more reasons, but they are all excuses. Winning solves everything. I'm confident JoMo has the Zips on the right path. Once they become an entertaining team, fans will show up. 

 

 

Well said.  This post hit the on the double-whammy.

 

1. It's so easy to watch from the climate-controlled comfort of your couch; kitchen 30 feet away, bathroom 40 feet away, 65"HDTV, instant replay, etc.  All sports across America are dealing with this new phenomena.  Honestly, this is most likely a permanent sea change in American sports attendance.  (But... I still think big crowds are exciting & make for memories & we definitely want to shoot for that critical mass.)

 

2. THE NONSTOP PERPETUAL LOSING.  Only diehard Zips fans go to the games. Winning... and only winning... will solve that.

 

Aside: I've always wished the lovable loser Zippers had a loyal following like the Cleveland Browns & Chicago Cubs. But alas, we don't. But hardly anyone does, save the Browns & Cubs.  Just win, baby.

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8 minutes ago, Blue & Gold said:

 

2. THE NONSTOP PERPETUAL LOSING.  Only diehard Zips fans go to the games. Winning... and only winning... will solve that.

I agree almost 100 percent. However, I'm not certain winning is the key to everything. Historical winners in the MAC still struggle with attendance. OSU is even having trouble filling their stadiums for early season cupcakes because sitting in peanut heaven to watch them destroy Toledo isn't worth the effort to attend. 

 

The fan experience has to be good. Winning is part of it. Competent play on the field also helps if the team loses. A scoreboard that doesn't make you laugh or cry or both at the quality helps. Cleanliness helps. Good concessions help. Playing the game at a convenient time and on a freaking Saturday for crying out loud would help. 

 

Games should be about providing an experience to the players, students, alumni, fans and general community that makes them feel like their time, money and tax dollars are well spent. 

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When Joe and Co. turnaround the Zips football program, and we start winning 9...10...11 games per season, the realistic average attendance expectation should be 67% of capacity. Playing Toledo with the MAC championship on the line, or home games vs. Kent, should be near sell-outs. Playing middling MAC schools or FCS programs won't probably ever draw more than 15-17k.

 

Terry Pluto famously wrote: "If Tom Arth can't win at Akron, who can?" Joe and Co. can, will get the Zips to be championship contenders within a couple short years.

 

Hopefully "The Next Scarborough" or "The Next Wistercill" doesn't come along and screw it all up. That's my only concern regarding the future of Akron football. Otherwise, it's incredibly bright. And attendance will climb.

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3 minutes ago, MangoZip said:

Too many "get off my lawn" guys commenting! I hate big crowds and traffic too but there is nothing better than a packed house for college football! The crowd, the band, the students and the energy are a major part of what makes college football great.  

 

100% agree. With all due respect to all opinions, I too would love to see a packed house at the Info! 

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2 minutes ago, Captain Kangaroo said:

...the realistic average attendance expectation should be 67% of capacity.

Just out of curiosity, where do you get the 67% capacity figure?

 

32 minutes ago, GP1 said:

I agree almost 100 percent. However, I'm not certain winning is the key to everything. Historical winners in the MAC still struggle with attendance. OSU is even having trouble filling their stadiums for early season cupcakes because sitting in peanut heaven to watch them destroy Toledo isn't worth the effort to attend. 

 

The fan experience has to be good. Winning is part of it. Competent play on the field also helps if the team loses. A scoreboard that doesn't make you laugh or cry or both at the quality helps. Cleanliness helps. Good concessions help. Playing the game at a convenient time and on a freaking Saturday for crying out loud would help. 

 

Games should be about providing an experience to the players, students, alumni, fans and general community that makes them feel like their time, money and tax dollars are well spent. 

Agreed. We have a AA minor league team & on Friday nights Canal Park is hopping. You can smell the burgers on the grill & get wafts of beer in the air, the game experience is absolutely top shelf.. complete with a fantastic fireworks show following every Friday home game. Of course everyone wants to see the RubberDucks win, but most people are just there for the fun atmosphere. 

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2 hours ago, MangoZip said:

It's really sad that the local media doesn't support (or at least cover) the home town team, inexcusable. 

The person covering the Zips for the Beacon didn’t even know that Tennessee beat Pittsburgh.  That person is incapable of providing competent coverage even if the paper decided to support the home town team.

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40 minutes ago, MangoZip said:

Too many "get off my lawn" guys commenting! I hate big crowds and traffic too but there is nothing better than a packed house for college football! The crowd, the band, the students and the energy are a major part of what makes college football great.  

Get off my lawn and take your inconveniences with you. 

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20 minutes ago, Blue & Gold said:

Just out of curiosity, where do you get the 67% capacity figure?

I think a lot of people feel if InfoCision doesn't sell out @ 30,000 butts in seats, it's a failure. That's not true.

 

It should be filled near 30k for a big game, where a "big game" equals -

  • A well-promoted season opener, in a season where the Zips have realistic MAC championship aspirations
  • Kent game, in a year where the Zips have realistic MAC championship aspirations
  • P5 team, when the Zips have realistic MAC championship aspirations
  • Championship-caliber opponent @ InfoCision, in a season where the Zips are also contending for the championship

If the Zips aren't championship contenders, all bets are off. 

 

Even in a championship-level season, if a mediocre-to-bad Ball State or NIU team visits Akron, no one cares, and you can only expect a mediocre crowd.

 

I feel when the Zips are winning 9...10...11 games in a season, which top-tier MAC programs have proven is possible, and where Joe and Co. are capable of taking the Zips, that averaging a 2/3rd's full InfoCision over the couse of a season is a realistic goal. And that would eliminate the need to travel for payday bludgeoning's like the last two week's, because we'd be making money at home. And winning.

 

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Winning is the answer to attendance increasing. I have always felt that the NE Ohio fan is very intelligent when it comes to appreciating good football. Put crap in front of them and they will not come. Show them quality and they will begin to turn out. Quality also leads to winning games. Those two issues are intertwined. Joe has a huge task in front of him. Perhaps bigger than he initially thought. Nonetheless he is capable and will get the job done. These days look dark, but we are laying the foundation that will yield a MAC championship program under Joe. In Jo We Trust!

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13 hours ago, Football grandma said:

What are some ideas to increase the spectator numbers?  Don't just oh hum the situation. Offer some suggestions. Maybe someone with clout at the university will read them and act. YOU may have a great idea so speak up!

 

So far this thread is just jam-packed with ideas to increase spectator numbers that I'm sure someone with clout at the university is not aware of.

Let's not waste anymore time and get this entire thread to the person with clout right away.

 

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1 hour ago, Captain Kangaroo said:

I think a lot of people feel if InfoCision doesn't sell out @ 30,000 butts in seats, it's a failure. That's not true.

 

I think in a good year 50% is the number. 

 

Wake was sold out Saturday and that number is basically 32,000. It didn't sell out until Friday. That number also includes 5,000 lawn seats. Liberty brought them number of fans you might expect from a close acc school. Unfortunately they are sold out for Saturday's annual beat down against Clemson. Fortunately it's at noon so I'll have plenty of time to get home for another activity Saturday night. 

 

My point would be an average of 15,000 people who actually want to be there, got some enjoyment out of the experience and decided they would come back for another game would be a huge success. 

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It's absolutely a conundrum.  Remember the days of explosive offense at the Rubber Bowl under Frye and Getsy, etc?  That was my beginning years of being an Akron fan.  You could go and have a good time knowing we'd throw for 300-400 yards and score 35+ almost every game.  Of course, our defense was a sieve and we'd often give up 35+ on the other side.


In the history of Infocision Stadium (in it's 13th season, I believe), we've had mediocre offenses and terrible defenses with few exceptions, so not only did we often lose, we did it in boring fashion.  This leads to pee-poor coverage by media (Cleveland.com/Plain Dealer doesn't appear to even know UA or CSU exist anymore), because who wants to click on a story and read about the Zips losing 55-3?  With no coverage in media, casual fans aren't aware games are taking place so no new fans are created.  The few do try out the Zips on a Saturday were often forced to leave by halftime because of awful weather and a blowout, or both.

 

So the answer overall is simply winning.  Consistently.  Go 5-1 at home.  Blow some teams out.  Create headlines.  Write the story for the mediocre ABJ coverage.  Force the Plain Dealer to send a reporter instead of copying a 10th page wire story from the AP.  

 

Some will still stay home to watch on TV, especially during weekday "MACtion" 🤮.  But there's no reason that if the Zips are consistently winning 7+ games that we shouldn't be able to draw 15k out of 4.5m living in NE Ohio, assuming we're not playing opposite O$U.

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24 minutes ago, Captain Kangaroo said:

Since 2009 (InfoCision opened), we're 42-112 overall.

 

Maybe we have 25 total home wins spread across 13+ seasons? 

 

Home wins at Infocision:

 

2009 - 3 (Morgan State, Kent State, Eastern Michigan)

2010 - 1 (Buffalo)

2011 - 1 (VMI)
2012 - 1 (Morgan State)

2013 - 3 (James Madison, Kent State, Toledo)

2014 - 4 (Howard, Eastern Michigan, Miami, UMass)

2015 - 3 (Savannah State, Buffalo, Kent State)

2016 - 2 (VMI, Miami)

2017 - 5 (Ark-Pine Bluff, Ball State, Buffalo, Ohio, Kent State)

2018 - 2 (Morgan State, Central Michigan)

2019 - Nope

2020 - 1 (Bowling Green)

2021 - 1 (Bryant)

2022 - 1 so far (St. Francis)

 

So, 28.  They're over 25!!  Woohoo!

 

17 if you only count FBS teams, though.

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