Round table: Does UH have a fan attendance problem?
In this week’s round table, The Cougar sports staff takes a look at last years attendance in two major sports and discusses expectations for this coming year.
Fan support and program success is a cyclical relationship. Attendance numbers for football broke 30,000 just three times last season. Do you think fans need to do a better job of showing up no matter what? Or do they need to see success first?
Staff writer Michael Calderon: I think it is up to the program to create interest and give fans a reason to fill the seats. They have to put together a product that students and alumni can be proud of. If the team can build a winning culture and become a bigger part of the national scene then they can attract a loyal fan base.
Staff writer Adam Coleman: I think it’s a little of both. It’s no excuse for the student section to not be filled for every game since students get in free. For the whole stadium to be filled, however, there will have to be more success.
Do you think attendance numbers will reach new heights this year with the excitement building around the football program?
Staff writer Shardanna Jones: I absolutely do. I believe more people will come out to support because there is so much hype being built and a lot of anticipation of what’s to come. If teams don’t produce, I expect those numbers to dwindle.
Staff writer Francisco Casillas: I believe that numbers will increase. Whenever there is someone new at the helm, it is bound to catch interest because fans want to see what a new coach can bring to their program.
Basketball is also suffering from small attendance numbers, with an average of just above 2,700 in an arena with a capacity of 8,479. Do you expect to see better numbers this year?
SJ: I expect to see better numbers because there is a better product out there on the court this year, and also a more interesting schedule. On the other hand, I found many students were completely unaware of when the basketball team played, which is another factor.
FC: Right now, the basketball program is in reconstruction mode, but once everything meshes together the team will be something to watch. After all, Coach Sampson is known as successful coach having led three different schools to NCAA tournaments.
Do you think UH suffers from a “fair-weather” fan base? Or they just want to see more winning?
MC: I don’t think that is an entirely unfair assessment. Houston is a big city with many attractions, including several professional sports teams and that give fans a heap of other options. As UH continues to grow as a whole and compete with the other schools, the fan base will grow and strengthen as well.
AC: Any sports team is going to have some fair weather fans, but I wouldn’t say that UH suffers from that. I see UH like Baylor University was a few years ago. The fan base is growing and will continue to grow. UH is already getting nationally televised games and with possibly a move to the Big XII on the horizon, you will see the more consistent fans.