(I decided to write my letter to David Egelhoff, the director of basketball operations, because he is one of the main liaisons between the team and other offices within the athletics department.)
Dear Mr. Egelhoff,
My name is Brianna Antinoro, a third-year at OSU majoring in Communications, and I’m writing to address the struggles that the men’s basketball team is facing this season.
A couple of policy changes and a difficult season has started to take a toll on attendance, and there are a few more specific reasons why.
A lot of students were less than enthusiastic about the new ticket system that separated tickets into different flights throughout the season. Rewarding students who attend games by giving them earlier access to tickets was a great concept, but it made students feel like going to a game was an obligation more than a fun choice.
Also, the layout of the student section could be more spacious; it can get hard to see depending on where you’re sitting. In a game as fast as basketball, being able to watch the plays is the most exciting part.
The lack of space between rows and the layout itself can make it uncomfortable to sit down for the duration of the game. Getting out to get food or go to the restroom is difficult, and for people who don’t like tight spaces, going to the games just isn’t worth it.
The attendance could definitely increase if you lowered ticket prices; it’s difficult to justify paying around $50 for three or four games when the team itself isn’t that successful, especially in conference games (which get the most attendance). And, they’re not even ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll or the USA Today Coaches Poll.
Other sports, like wrestling (which doesn’t charge for attendance) are starting to surpass the basketball team in attendance numbers.
A return to the old way of selling tickets might help out too. Instead of selling them in three different flights, sell tickets to the whole season. Students will still attend the games they can, and they’ll be more into it when they don’t have to worry about how their attendance affects their eligibility to buy tickets in the future.
Or, you could give away some cool items as incentives for coming, maybe by running a campaign that gives swag to the first 100 people and doing it for more games in a season. College students love free stuff (especially T-shirts)!
If increasing attendance is your end goal, then implementing any of the above might help drive higher numbers at home games.