Attendance lacking at Nevada | NevadaAppeal.com

Attendance lacking at Nevada

Can it get any worse attendance-wise at the University of Nevada?

The last two football games have been an embarrassment. Nevada drew a little over 11,000 for its homecoming game against Idaho, and followed that up with a pitiful 8,700 for last weekend’s game against Louisiana Tech.

Where is the love? Where is the support?

It’s the only game in town, yet people are staying away in droves in favor of the various entertainment opportunities in the region or because they don’t like the head coach. Nevada is presently fighting a losing battle for the entertainment dollar.

Reno is showing that it’s not a good sports town and not even a good college town. Heck, even Louisiana Tech located in tiny Ruston outdraws Nevada by a 2-for-1 margin for its home football games.

I guess it shouldn’t surprise me. If the Pack’s nationally ranked basketball team can’t sell out more than a couple of games over the last two years, why would I expect football, which has had problems the last few years, to do any better when it comes to putting butts in the seats.

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There is enough blame to go around. The students need to take more of an interest in their athletic teams and the school needs to find a way to cultivate the students. There was a lot of sudden interest when the basketball team went o the NCAAs two years ago. All of a sudden people were whooping it up for their team. Where were many of those people during the regular season?

It’s gotten so bad that the school had a marketing consultant at the Louisiana Tech game. One thing’s for certain, he’s going to have his hands full if he decides to accept the job.

Here is what I’ve noticed in my three years as a Nevada resident about the football experience at Mackay:

n Mackay Stadium isn’t exactly a fan friendly stadium. Where is the play area for the kids to go when they’re bored? You might laugh, but even the good minor league baseball stadiums have a bounce house or slides to keep the kids active. With the construction going on, there is no space.

n The lack of students at the games is brutal, an indictment on the school and student body.

Is the university doing everything it can do to get them there? Nevada always seems to put the students in the end zones for football and basketball. That’s ludicrous. Has anybody from Nevada ever been to a Cal game? Those students are on the 50-yard line right behind Cal’s bench, and there are a few thousand of them, too. And, it’s always been that way.

n The ticket prices are too high. It costs $18 for general admission. That’s a bit steep. It’s tough on families and that could be a reason why people stay away. I know that San Jose State charges $10 for an end zone seat, and it’s a bargain. Eight dollars may not seem like much, but if you are taking a family of four it adds up to $32.

Louisiana Tech does an interesting thing at home football games. At the end of the game, fans are allowed on the field. Players sign autographs for little kids while they mingle with family and friends. Maybe that’s something Nevada football and basketball players could do.

I know that college athletics is a big business, but students are the life blood and I think that Nevada could do a better job at that end of the spectrum. Nevada puts out a limited amount of free tickets for students for basketball and I know students are charged a nominal amount when that allotment runs out, at least that’s what was told by Nevada officials last year. I admit I’m not sure if football tickets are handled the same way.

Nevada goes after the big spenders with premiere seating arrangements at Lawlor Events Center. The student body shares one end zone with the band. Has anybody ever seen a basketball game at Indiana, Cameron Indoor Stadium or UCLA? There are students on the floor, and those are big-time programs.

If it works there, why not at Nevada?

n Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1281