Would this interest Basketball/Football Fans?

Forum Forum Lehigh Sports Lehigh Men’s Basketball Would this interest Basketball/Football Fans?

This topic contains 34 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  TMH 8 years, 5 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 35 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #5989
    StablerBum
    StablerBum
    Participant

    As far as basketball scheduling, I’m really not sure what our philosophy is. St. Joe’s visited Stabler a few years ago and there were around 2,500 people. Other than that, I can’t really remember any decent non-conference home games. Fordham last year?

    I don’t buy the excuses either. Bucknell has LaSalle and George Mason HOME games this year. As well as just negotiating a 2 for 1 with Penn State. They have also had Wake Forest and Villanova visit Sojka in recent years.

    #5992

    TMH
    Participant

    I don’t deny that Bucknell does a nice job but I have a few points.
    1.)Much depends on who you know. The fact that Jay Wright played for Bucknell certainly opened the Villanova door. I know we had the opportunity to play Duke a couple of times at Cameron over the years. I’m fairly sure that it was a case of one former quarterback helping another.
    2.)Wake Forest was the grand opening of Stojke, was it not and if my memory serves me correctly, there was a very bif Bucknell connection there too.
    3.) Penn State is not as big of a catch as you might think. We had them on the schedule for years in the past. I attended a game at the Bryce Jordan Center recently and there were echos.
    4.)And perhaps the biggest, I’ve been told that there are guarantees required for all of these games. If we only drew 2,500 for St. Joes, we may have possibly lost money on it. I know it’s the chicken or the egg situation but I think 1st you need to draw a steady crowd like Bucknell before you can draw the competition you are looking for.
    Consequently, I like the OOC schedule Joe put together last year with Mich. St., Iowa St. and St. John’s. the competition was excellent and the guarantees were likely substantial.

    #5993
    van
    van
    Participant

    As for Bucknell, B-B is their marque sport and they have the kind of support that Lehigh has for Wrestling. Take it from a ’73 alum, we really have no B-B tradition. That being said, it is disappointing that the teams of the past few years have not drawn more.

    #5994

    TMH
    Participant

    van,
    Do you know whether Bucknell had a large following prior to it’s NCAA success?
    Could Lehigh’s win over Duke be a breakthrough?

    The sad thing is the lack of student involvement. Even wrestling has found out that if you lose a generation of students, they never return as alums.

    #5995
    van
    van
    Participant

    Here is a link to attendance records. Seems Bucknell always draws more than Lehigh. I’m sure there are many factors that skew individual years, a bad weather day, how well the team plays any particular year, play offs, certain OOC opponents draw well, etc. We just do not have a great B-B tradition, maybe that can change if we can build on the success of recent years. One thing working against us is the atmosphere in Stabler, not a compelling venue.

    http://www.ncaa.org/wps/wcm/connect/public/NCAA/Resources/Stats/M+Basketball/Attendance/index.html

    #5996
    StablerBum
    StablerBum
    Participant

    1.)Much depends on who you know. The fact that Jay Wright played for Bucknell certainly opened the Villanova door. I know we had the opportunity to play Duke a couple of times at Cameron over the years. I’m fairly sure that it was a case of one former quarterback helping another.
    2.)Wake Forest was the grand opening of Stojke, was it not and if my memory serves me correctly, there was a very bif Bucknell connection there too.

    This is 100% true. But we have connections between our staff and Billy Taylor and Fran McCaffrey as well as others. We haven’t gotten Ball State or Iowa to come to Stabler. It’s not about having the connects – it’s about making them work.

    3.) Penn State is not as big of a catch as you might think. We had them on the schedule for years in the past. I attended a game at the Bryce Jordan Center recently and there were echos.

    Getting Penn St on the schedule is not a big deal – getting a BCS home game is. Penn St does not have a great bball tradition or fan support, but getting a Big 10 team to visit a Patriot League team is a big catch in my eyes. There is a lot of support for the Nits in the lehigh valley and I’m sure this would put some butts in the seats and give the program a good chance to get a BCS win. That seems like a big deal to me.

    4.)And perhaps the biggest, I’ve been told that there are guarantees required for all of these games. If we only drew 2,500 for St. Joes, we may have possibly lost money on it. I know it’s the chicken or the egg situation but I think 1st you need to draw a steady crowd like Bucknell before you can draw the competition you are looking for.

    I find it very hard to believe that any Patriot League school has ever paid an oppenent to come and play them. The athletic departments just don’t have the resources. And even if we DID pay gaurantees, how does having 2500 for St. Joe’s become more financially viable than having 800 for Monmouth assuming we are paying either of them to come? I highly highly doubt that Bucknell is paying Mason and LaSalle to come to Sojka.

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 5 months ago by StablerBum StablerBum.
    #5998

    TMH
    Participant

    The attendance #s were fascinating. Thank you.
    What I gleaned is that Lehigh typically outdrew Bucknell prior to 2005. The one exception was 2003 B 1,841 L 1,646. Of course that was the year Stojka was dedicated and they brought in Wake Forest. The change came the year following Bucknell’s win over Kansas (3/2005) 2004 1,578 2005 2,402 2006 3,706 2007 3,668 2008 3,399 before beginning to taper off.
    At the same time Lehigh’s attendance has dropped almost annually. My sincere hope is that the win over Duke plus some judicious promoting will bring the attendance up which will lure better teams to come here. In the meantime I like how the OOC schedule has been upgraded to help showcase CJ and Company.

    #5999

    TMH
    Participant

    StablerBum,
    I appreciate your comments. You must still be remembering the LaSalle of the Big 5 days. Recently, they have been a notch above Fordham in the A-10 failing to make the A-10 tournament 2 of the last 3 years when they take 12 out of 14. I’m not sure of guarantees but why would George Mason who averages about 6,000/ game want to travel to Bethlehem to play in front of 1,500. The travel costs and reduced gate should be a no-brainer for them. I still suggest putting the horse in front of the cart…hope that we can draw 2,500-3,000 this year and better quality opponents will follow.

    #6002
    van
    van
    Participant

    We could probably always draw 2500 for good teams with the ability for their fans to travel to Stabler. A Philly team, Penn State, Princeton, Rutgers would draw 2500 or more to Stabler, but not sure they would be interested in coming, if they think they might get beat!

    #6003

    lehigh90
    Participant

    I think when you compare attendances around the country the biggest factor is are there other events in the area that the basketball game, or any other sport, is competing against. There is a reason that SEC football has been drawing massive crowds forever, long before their recent domination. There is nothing else to do in Gainesville, Fayetteville, Baton Rouge, Starkville, etc. There is a reason that schools like Texas Tech (Lubbock) and Texas A & M (College Station) draw so well. There is nothing else to do there. Same is true of a place like Virginia Tech (as they say, “all dirt roads lead to Tech”) in Blacksburg. Of course, it helps to have vast alumni bases to draw from as well.

    Bethlehem is no metropolis, but residents in the Lehigh Valley have a lot more leisure events to consider than a lot of other college towns. With Philadelphia and New York pro sports, a driveable distance away, Lehigh is competing for the sports dollar. I think in a place like Lewisburg, there is nothing else to do, but watch Bucknell basketball. For a team like Holy Cross, the same is not true, they can drive to Boston and see the Celtics, for example, or the Bruins. Under my logic, I guess Colgate should do a lot better, but they don’t. The majority of Lehigh alums are probably living in suburban NYC or suburban Philadelphia, and they have countless pro sports teams to go see play, rather than drive the 1.5 hours to Bethlehem. The locals around Lewisburg don’t have that opportunity for the most part. Granted most of Bucknell’s alums don’t live near campus, but the locals turn out and the students turn out. The disappointment with Lehigh is the lack of student interest. I’m sure if you live in Spokane, Washington, the only thing to do is watch Gonzaga hoops.

    Pro sports are a big draw in the Northeast if they are close by. That is why the NCAA draws so well in the South, as there are far fewer pro teams to visit. I would doubt any suburban NYC draw very well, as the competition for the sports dollar is fierce, and there are limitless other choices.

    I would think a realistic goal for Lehigh would be to get 1/4 of the students to show up, that is about 1,200 and another 1,000 or so from the Lehigh Valley. I would be thrilled at an average attendance over 2,000.

    Anybody have any idea on number of season ticket holders for basketball or football? For basketball it has to be less than 500. You would think LV businesses would buy up some tickets to get some corporate type presence, but I guess they think nobody would want the tickets when they tried to give them away.

    I actually think Stabler is a pretty good arena, location aside. It is a good size, and although the seats could be closer to the action, it would rock if even half full. Throw in a jumbotron, which is certainly possible, and a new arena announcer, again possible, and it would make the atmosphere much better. I think if the athletic department is really serious, they could upgrade Stabler a bit, and it would improve things dramatically. I would go with jumbotron, and make it all seater, eliminate the bench seating at the higher level, and maybe bring the seats in tighter to the court, especially at the end opposite the current student end. I won’t even touch the cheerleaders or dance team.

    #6004

    lehigh90
    Participant

    Princeton hoops is dead. I went to Jadwin gym the last time Lehigh played there in hoops. And, the crowd had to be under 100. There were about 8 Lehigh fans there. Probably all of them from this board. Far cry from the heyday of Carrill. When I was at Lehigh, a good contingent of students would travel to that game. I don’t see any Princeton folks travelling to Stabler. Rutgers possible, but they are not known to travel, and the RAC is empty a lot. PSU would bring fans, probably comparable to Bucknell levels.

    At Lafayette away game last year (2011) not (2012), I was surprised at how few Lehigh students were there. Maybe 15-20 tops. Don’t know about the most recent game. Saturday afternoon, 15 minute drive, you would think some more would show.

    #6005

    lehigh90
    Participant

    For the Philly teams, you would need to schedule the right ones to get a crowd at Stabler. Outside of Villanova (who wouldn’t come) and St. Joseph’s (probably wouldn’t come), you would be hard pressed to get a lot of fans. Temple, Lasalle and Drexel don’t travel well.

    #6006

    TMH
    Participant

    Speaking from experience, currently it makes little sense to be a season ticket holder. I currently hold one for football (guarantted Lafayette tickets) and wrestling (guaranteed seats for big matches). I attend many basketball games every season but I don’t want to be committed to that many games in the winter weather and wrestling conflicts. I always seemed to be able to get very good seats whenever I attended. If season ticket holders were given a discount or good seats are at a premium, that may change.

    #6007

    lehigh90
    Participant

    TMH, that is disappointing news, that you don’t really get anything for being a season ticket holder. I am always annoyed when I walk up, that I seem to get lousy tickets and the place is empty. I can only recall one recent game that I attended in the last few years where I walked up and sat close to the action in the actual seats, and that was for St. Peter’s at home last season. It was a holiday week afternoon midweek tip (nobody there), and only then did I get seats close to the floor. I just assumed all of the other tickets were season ticket holders who never came.

    #6010
    StablerBum
    StablerBum
    Participant

    I appreciate your comments. You must still be remembering the LaSalle of the Big 5 days. Recently, they have been a notch above Fordham in the A-10 failing to make the A-10 tournament 2 of the last 3 years when they take 12 out of 14. I’m not sure of guarantees but why would George Mason who averages about 6,000/ game want to travel to Bethlehem to play in front of 1,500.

    Last season LaSalle was 21-13 (10-8 in the A-10) and finished 64th in the KenPom rankings. Compared to our visitors last season:
    UMES – 331 out of 345
    Arcadia – Division 3
    St. Francis (PA) – 307
    Quinnipiac – 138 (I really like this series btw)

    As a local college basketball fan, I would be SIGNIFICANTLY more motivated to spend a few hours and dollars to see a local top 100 college basketball team that I have heard of (LaSalle) compared to UMES or Arcadia. There is no comparison. Doormat or not (which LaSalle clearly isn’t), any A-10 team visiting a PL arena is a good home game in my opinion.

    And the reasons Mason will go to Lewisburg or Bethlehem are because 1) they have to play away games, 2) these are parts of a series, so playing a good PL team (Lehigh or Bucknell) also will give them solid OOC home game later in the series, 3) playing good mid-majors will give them a an RPI boost and chance at an at-large bid assuming they take care of business.

    I agree that there are other issues effecting attendance – but I believe it would be remiss to not take our very poor home OOC games as part of the equation of poor attendance. Especially amongst local basketball fans. Students, I think, are another matter that depends less on the quality of the opposition.

    Btw, I love that this dialouge is going. And they more people who are interested and invested the better. I remember last season, the LU website said tehy would begin selling basketball season tickets on X date, and then they never went on sale online that I know of. I don’t think you could buy season tickets on the website. Hopefully last season wakes up everyone – athletic department, students, locals, media, etc – and Lehigh basketball stops that downward trend in attendance and turns it around.

    • This reply was modified 8 years, 5 months ago by StablerBum StablerBum.
    • This reply was modified 8 years, 5 months ago by StablerBum StablerBum.
Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 35 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.