Why The Warriors Need Their Fans
Friday - November 11, 2005
Much has been made of the attendance figures for the University of Hawaii’s football game against Fresno State, and the doomsayers are enjoying their equivalent of Mardi Gras. The litany of reasons for the low number of tickets issued center around the price (increases for ticket and premium seat licenses), the Warriors’ losing record, the parking, the stadium experience, the availability of network television, the time change to a 1 p.m. kickoff and global warming. OK, strike the last one. Some of these listed items can be changed; we’re flat stuck with the others.
Premium seating licensing is a fact of modern-day college football. There is no easy way out - the revenues required to compete at a high level are increasing across the country. This does not mean that attending games must be unaffordable; it may mean that some fans will not be able to afford seats in the premium areas. A recent promotion for the Fresno State game included a four-for-two offer with the UH Credit Back card, and if you were purchasing the card for this game you got six tickets for the price of two. Those types of promotions will continue for the rest of this season and for the foreseeable future.
The losing record is not a huge surprise for those who follow the team. The schedule - opening with defending national champion USC and playing on the road at Michigan State - is a factor, but a bigger one is the inexperience on offense with six new skill players and new defensive schemes installed by Jerry Glanville. Even with that, the Warriors could have beaten Fresno State and should have beaten Boise State, the best two teams in the conference.
Parking continues to be a problem, with some 7,000 parking stalls to service a 50,000-seat stadium. Why not presell all 7,000 spots? That way a purchased pass would guarantee parking and eliminate that nightmarish sign - Lot Full, Passes Only - that seems to be around the stadium no matter what time you get there. It would also help to alleviate the traffic congestion caused by those destined to be shut out of the lot.
The stadium experience is improving, but the perception of it has not. Security lines move faster, and some of the stringent rules imposed post-9/11 have been relaxed. The people running the stadium have made a concerted effort to be more user-friendly, and while not yet perfect, progress is being made.
Turning down network television (ABC Regional) is not an option; it is the WAC contract. As a conference member, you’ve got to accept it if you’re chosen. The time change was driven by ABC; this may have hurt more than anything else because the same kickoff time for USC had many resolving not to suffer the heat anytime soon. Also, so many activities are scheduled elsewhere in Honolulu on a Saturday afternoon that it becomes a problem of logistics as well as comfort for many fans.
Beginning with Saturday’s game against Utah State, Hawaii’s final three games are all at Aloha Stadium. With a team that is beginning to find itself, and laying the groundwork for the future, fan support will be a necessary component of their success. If Hawaii fans don’t rally up for the team, they may be outnumbered when Wisconsin’s die-hard rooters come out the day after Thanksgiving.
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