Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Jarmond looks to fans for answers and ideas

New AD, but a familiar gameplan. Like his predecessors, Martin Jarmond is reaching out to fans to improve the BC fan experience. A select "Fan Council" will work with the Athletic Department on improving the game day experience and overall experience. I admire Jarmond's desire to improve things, but given the past, I am skeptical of this approach.

Every AD BC of the past 25 years said he was going to reach out to fans and improve game days. Some used townhalls. Some did online Q&As and others had special events for season ticket holders. I think all past attempts were sincere and well-intentioned. However, nothing the Athletic Department did had significant impact on attendance. Winning spikes attendance. Quality opponents impact attendance. Game times and days impact attendance. Weather impacts attendance. Most of those factors are out of the AD's control.

Then there is a whole host of BC factors that are also hard for a BC AD to truly change like local parking restrictions, local rules on tailgating hours, and alcohol sales.

If this goes like past fan driven feedback forums, Jarmond will hear all about tailgating rules and hours, Donor-based seating, playing games on Friday night, etc. (I am sure there will even be talk of Men's Lacrosse.) I also don't expect wholesale changes in the game day experience. The best I hope for are some small simple suggestions that BC can implement.

Maybe my cynicism is misguided. I do think Jarmond should be visible and engaged with the fanbase. I just don't like the council format. I think he will get swamped with all sorts of ideas and only a few of them will be viable.

In my opinion, Jarmond and his team should try new things and borrow the best ideas from around college sports. See what works and then build on those improvements. Trust the fans' reactions and responses to those changes, not what someone says in a council. Too often people will say they will do something in a fan forum, but do the opposite with their own time and money.

I like Jarmond's willingness to listen to fans. I just hope he doesn't spend too much time and goodwill on this, since so much of this is all predictable and unfixable.


Napolean Bonaparte said...

You said winning, scheduling good opponents, game times, dates and weather impacts attendance and that most of these factors were beyond the control of the AD. I'll agree with you about the weather but everything else is impacted by the AD's performance and management skills.

Shabby1011 said...

ATL completely disagree with you here.

Bates aka the worst AD in BC history held 1 town meeting his first year on the job that was misguided and waste of time. Some of the discussion revolved around pretzels, completely ridiculous

MJ has already surpassed Bates in accomplishments with the new BC-Mich St series and the installment of this fan council. He is clearly smart and has a vision of what he wants to accomplishment. I would imagine these councils will have a format and pointed discussions. It seems like he has a set timeline already in place and it is not just a one off idea to appease the masses. I also imagine (hope) that it will be a variety of different BC stakeholders, certainly large donors but also your average fan new and old as well as BC outsiders.

There are some issues that need to be fixed to the BC fan experience. I have heard that the AD has no control over the negotiations with the city of Brighton/Newton over tailgating hours. It supposedly falls in the lap of Tom Keady who himself is a Brighton native and he clearly hasn't pushed the needle on this relationship. This among many other issues need to be addressed and I think it is a great move by MJ to discuss.

Ultimately winning will bring back the fans as well but a lot of ill will was done to the local fan base at the end of Gene and the Bates era who had no connection to BC or New England.

I know you are connected to BC but you live in Atlanta and think you are missing the local disconnect between BC and its fans. Brilliant move by MJ to make a direct connection to the fans to hear their voice.

NY Eagle 99 said...

How about the police/security patrolling campus stop treating tailgaters poorly? I haven't been to a game in years in part because I did not enjoy being screamed at by the BCPD and other campus security, including Massachusetts state troopers. We did not shell out a lot of money to be treated this way. They need to tone down their approach. For example, they can ask nicely if a tailgate needs to be packed up for game time instead of screaming/being aggressive.

We generally felt unwelcome on campus for game days, so we stopped going.

Unknown said...

It is pretty dumb, in my opinion, to criticize Jarmond over this knowing that most of the stuff that really impacts change is currently not something that is within his control. Also NY Eagle although the BCPD thing does suck that is not really something the Athletics Department can control either.

Shabby1011 said...

NY 100% agree. The police need to be far less agreessive. I have been attending games for 30 years as a fan and student at BC and I have never once seen a fight or violent incident during game day hours (late at night in the mods maybe different, ha). Yet fans at BC are treated by campus & Boston police like we are ISIS.

Two years ago when BC didn't win a game in the ACC we left at halftime because of the weather and absimal play. Prior to jumping in our car to go home some of us had a beer, thou we didn't take anything out of the car from a tailgating perspective. It was my 70 yr old father, pregnant wife, 2yr old child and our friends with their 1 yr old. A BC cop raced up to us in his motorcycle yelling and scaring our children and that we had to leave immediately, it was such a joke it was indescribable.

I strongly support our law enforcement agencies and understand that one reason that BC games are family friendly are because of the police presence but there has to be a happy medium and common sense should prevail.

My point to ATL is there are so many issues like this that must be addressed and do not need to be a massive undertaking. They would enhance the game day experience two fold and would help bring fans back.

People say winning and scheduling and thou I definitely agree on the winning I totally disagree on the scheduling. BC plays in the ACC which is the best or 2nd best conference in the country. Last year we had the National Championship team come to Alumni! Have we ever hosted the winner of the national championship before? Yet the place was filled with Clemson fans. This year we have Notre Dame, FSU and VT for home games. Who else in the country has those 3 type teams on their home schedule? Our schedule and opponents are fine.

BC and MJ have to find a way to make a connection to the local area football fans, BC alums and non BC alums and signficantly improve the GameDay experience and who better then to give some advice then the actual fans??

JBQ said...

From "Field of Dreams", if you build it, they will come.

The Tall One said...

Obviously winning cures a lot of attendance/excitement issues but also:

Quality opponents: I don't want to watch a game against Central Illinois. I still go, but I can't wait for it to be over so I can go home. There's no excitement pre-game, there's no excitement mid-game.

Time of the game: Night games are more fun for me.

Tailgating: This is, and is not out of the AD's control. BC has said they want to expand tailgating, but first, they want to get through the construction that they have set up because according to the Flynn Fund reps, they couldn't push on multiple fronts. I think they need to figure out a way to let us tailgate longer before the games, or after, depending on the kickoff.

Police: My spot is in the mod lots. They used to be a little stricter, but since BB became AD, they were better about it. We've left games early at halftime and never had a problem drinking in the parking lots. It may just depend on where you are drinking. For instance, Shea Field had stricter policies because the police assumed younger-aged fans were drinking there and didn't want it to get out of hand. The Mod Lots (with more $$ to be there) they assume attracted older fans.

The only thing I think they could also do differently is sell more food/concessions in the outdoor areas. The BBQ right by Hillside could be multiplied all over the place.

But for the love of God - can they please just put a team on the field that is well-coached, talented, and exciting to watch?

Knucklehead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Knucklehead said...

Winning doesn't fix this completely either. We have won plenty and not been able to completely sell out the stadium.

Management seems to want the games to be attended by BC people and their families. If you want to sell out the games then they have to be "open" to people who didn't go to BC but who want to attend a game and have a good time(that means no fear of being pinched for having a beer in your hand).

Also(this may have changed since I was there)seasons tickets for Students should be free.

After the non-student tickets situation is solidified around 8/1 then you have a game week lottery for each home game and give the remaining tickets to students. The lottery needs to be done for each game(the kids who get season tickets don't get screwed for paying), should be televised by the school TV channel and can be attended in person(don't let David Stern run it though). Could become a "thing" that creates a following on campus(like the housing lottery).

An "Eagles Nest section" in the first 20 rows(about 30 people wide) in the upper sections behind each endzone might create some demand and have an impact from a sound perspective on the opposing team when they get inside the 10 yardline.

You are welcome Jarmond. I just did your job in 30 minutes.

Fenwick 111 said...

My suggestion for football would focus on the uniforms. I think BC should follow the Dallas Cowboys and wear white jerseys (with maroon pants) at home. This would provide a different viewing experience to fans in the stadium every single game.

Also, BC should copy Alabama's font size and type for numbers and names on the back. I think BC's uniforms are hard to read (and Alabama's are perfect).

Lastly, I would suggest that the food stands within Alumni increase / diversify their offerings. Bring in Jon Taffer to do an Alumni Stadium rescue! (I am serious!)