Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Predict the attendance for BC-UMass

A vocal group of BC fans have long proclaimed that attendance at home games would be better if Alumni had more parking and friendlier tailgating rules. I have never bought into that logic, but it has served as common Straw man when discussing BC's attendance issues and the game day restrictions imposed by BC's neighbors. I don't want to set up dueling Straw men, but I do think BC's game against UMass in Gillette Stadium is a good test to see how much tailgating matters.

But I will acknowledge that just because the game is being played in Massachusetts doesn't mean the majority of our season ticket holders will go. There are multiple reasons why BC fans won't turn out in droves: Labor Day Weekend is already a tough time to host a football game, Foxoborough traffic can be bad on game days, the effort to buy and pay for another ticket, and UMass is terrible. With only a few weeks remaining until kickoff, I don't get the sense that many BC fans are going. And given the history, not many UMass fans will be there either.

Last year UMass' listed attendance for their home opener against Maine was 15,624. For their home opener in 2012, UMass listed attendance at 16,304. When BC last played UMass at Alumni, 30,176 showed up. Given the history and all the factors, my prediction for this game is 22,000. That won't be enough for BC to justify changing our rules or using Gillette as an occasional venue, but we will be able to take credit for a significant increase in UMass' gate.

What do you think? Are you going? How many people will they claim showed up? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


CT said...

Completely agree that the tailgating and parking issues are straw men. Strawmen? Whatever.

The following is a fact.

Alumni holds 44k.


And we don't sell out? I would laugh from Atlanta were I not a graduate. Instead, I cringe.

Apologize in advance, but the sport is wasted on that city. Kinda true for most private schools, but BC can't or won't capitalize on a top 5 or 6 market. Excuses are just that. 44k?

But then I calm down and remind myself that any university with a hockey program that outdraws the bball team has an identity issue. Or is fooling themselves. There are, after all, only about 60 schools that play hockey, right? That's less than half for football and about 20% of Div 1 bball.

Hear we have new scoreboards, though. That TV money must be paying off.

Joe Gravellese said...

^^ I read this guy's comments, and I have to say, you're the one with an identity issue, not the school. Boston's been a pro sports town for as long as there has been pro sports. It's also been a hockey town for as long as there's been hockey. You elect to attend this school, which exists in this culture, then somehow wonder why it is what it is, and isn't basically Clemson with colder weather?


I predict 31K at Gillette. I was a little overeager at first and predicted something closer to 40, but it's pretty clear that UMass-as-D1 has an even bigger epic fail at generating interest than first imagined (not surprising at all).

I don't think the parking issue is a straw man at all. It wouldn't make all the difference in the world, but it would make a small difference. Also, Chestnut Hill isn't the easiest place to navigate to and through. (Neither is Foxboro but that's neither here nor there). There are plenty of "casual" BC fans out there who probably just wouldn't consider the hassle of going in for a game, even if they were given tickets. It's kind of an all-day ordeal if you don't live close by.

One of the reasons why I've been bullish on this game's attendance is that I do think there are some casual BC fans who happen to live in the Foxboro area who might go since it's convenient. Not a lot, but enough to drive the numbers up a little bit.

Walter said...

Right, CT, the problem with BC is that our hockey team is just too good. #firejerryyork

I don't think this game is going to be a big attendance draw, mainly because of the competition and the close proximity of the USC game.

If you're an out-of-state BC graduate, it makes more sense to travel for the USC game at home in primetime than to shell out to see UMASS, which will hopefully be a snoozer of a game.

Playing at Gillette doesn't pull in any new fans who wouldn't go to Alumni. We were Army's highest visiting team in years when we visited them because the New York market is untapped and doesn't have a NYC area college football team of its own.

Joe Gravellese said...

The USC factor is a good point.

CT said...

The comments above prove the point.

Keep banging on college hockey. We should pay those guys more than the football team.

I was at BC when it was decidedly not a hockey school. Had season tickets when the head coaching job was nearly a work-study position. Nobody in the stands. Literally.

Spare me the hockey rah-rah thing. It wasn't when I was there. Loyalty when winning, huh? Seems easy. Kinda not the point. But then again, I don't get the pro sports town thing. Right.

MilitantEagle said...

I will be there with two other BC fans. Hoping BC represents at least 50% of the fans, but that may be optimistic.

lbkjj said...

I live in Foxboro, along with a lot of BC Alums and believe we'll have a good showing, despite the holiday weekend. ( I'll be out of state at a wedding).
I recall going to a Miami/BC game in Foxboro in 1985. It was held there to accommodate the ticket demand, a year after the Flutie " Hail Mary" pass.

lbkjj said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BCDisco said...

Just start winning games, especially championships, and the seats will start to fill up.

Napolean Bonaparte said...

I agree with Alex. Once the team becomes highly competitive, these other things like parking and tailgating restrictions will be mere annoyances. The only problem with the UMass game is UMass. But if the weather is good and you are within an easy drive - go to the game and enjoy yourself. If its pouring rain - then reorganize your sock drawer. Having said that, its in the school's best interest to exercise all of its influence and creativity to ameliorate the parking and tailgating problems on the Heights despite the challenging hurdles. Why? You want a wider range of happy alums bonding on our beautiful campus and having happy thoughts about BC. Those alums then write bigger checks. Putting them on a school bus in Needham does not generate a lot of happy thoughts. As far as hockey goes? I'm totally proud of that program and I am delighted to be a "hockey school". But then again, I'd feel the same way about women's soccer and field hockey if they started winning national championships. There is never anything negative about any winning BC program - just positives.

eagle1331 said...

As an out of stater looking at what game to travel to this year, this one first got my attention because I've only been to foxboro for non-sporting events. Also being the holiday weekend I had an extra day off. While the tailgating would definitely be a plus normally, the stadium is far out of the city (where I'd be staying), thus I'd have to rent a car, sit in traffic, and see a sub-par opponent. I'd rather wait in line for the T, pay a little more for a ticket and a good opponent, plus be on our amazing campus again, than sit in traffic, and sight see on the highways.

Claver2010 said...

BTW UMass has the same 3 hour rule that BC does according to this:

Granted, it is free opposed to paying thousands of dollars and I bet you won't get berated every time you try to crack open a beer.

Hoib said...

I was at BC ND in 75 in Foxboro, and it was packed, for this game I doubt they crack 20k bodies in the stands. It's about the opponent, and a good reason why it would be so much better to have 9 league games, and in doing get rid of what are really preseason games. I also think people are less interested in attending these days due to TV saturation, and quality of broadcast. If they play well and there are 100 people in the stands I'll be happy, that's what I care about.

Unknown said...

CT, I do recall there is an ACC team in your town. Maybe you overlooked that.

Last I checked that team averaged about 48,000 fans per game and did not sell out last year.

48k vs 44k, is that so different?

I am not even sure you had a point other than some simmering BC-rage. (did something bad happen to you at Chestnut Hill?)

Big Jack Krack said...

As I have stated before, If I still lived in the area, I would attend this game - even if on the Cape for the weekend. It's not that long a drive.

You can grab some great seats for a reasonable price while getting a real good feel for the season through this performance.

But mostly - as a BC fan - you get to support the team by showing up. That's what being a fan means.

The rest is a cop out.

Dunwoody - I appreciate your comment, as my other half is Georgia Tech and her son was Buzz for 3 or 4 years. I always wished that GT was our crossover game, with due respect to VT - but Atlanta and Boston are city trips in professional towns, etc.

Several years back Bobby Dodd Stadium was expanded to 55,000 - and you're correct, they don't usually sell it out.

However their 48,000 in actual attendance should be measured against our actual attendance of what? 35,000? That's pathetic. Not our capacity of (listed) 44,500.

I would be working the promotion circuit full time to improve those numbers if I were the AD for sure.

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