Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald Nails The Attendance Problem

#27

05_never_again

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#27
The TV and the smart phones are one in the same. Not because you watch the game on either one, but because they are a matter of convenience and comfort and we largely are not very good anymore at dealing with inconvenience or discomfort.
That's true. And you don't go to Neyland to be comfortable, to be sure. I have always kind of bristled when I hear people say they'd go to more Tennessee games if they ripped up the benches and put in seats, or at least gave you a lot more room on the bench itself. That's like saying you'd buy a sports car if it came with a better towing package for your boat. To me, the Neyland experience is that it is old and cramped. To remove that from the experience would fundamentally change it - I think that goes for most college stadiums, especially the older and very large ones. That doesn't mean that some parts of the stadium need some TLC (because some absolutely do).
 
#29

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#29
I think a lot of you guys make very good arguments, life gets in the way, traffic sucks, etc.., but at the same time you guys aren’t seeing it either. The TV and the smart phones are one in the same. Not because you watch the game on either one, but because they are a matter of convenience and comfort and we largely are not very good anymore at dealing with inconvenience or discomfort. At the same time, like Fitzgerald was saying, people even isolate themselves on dates, so now dealing with other people in a large setting is too much rather than experiencing the moment that Wilhoit hits a 51 yarder to beat Florida in person and feel the stadium shake or know what exact section you were in and how it felt. Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up going to big college football games, but I’ve been to plenty other big time games, i know if I have the choice of seeing it in person or on tv I’m picking in person.

It’s not like Jack Daniels or mini bottles didn’t exist before the smart phone or the big screen tv, or there wasn’t a jail below the Vet in Philly because of drunks fighting. People have put up with that stuff for generations. I’m not saying go every weekend if you have an easy opportunity, but it’s 6 or 7 Saturdays out of 52 a year. Go for 4 or 5 . Of course there are lots of different circumstances that come into play and I get that, but I’m still a softy for the atmosphere and the overall experience of a full Gameday.

Most of us, on these football forums, are invested up to the neck, emotionally, one way or the other with our teams. A lot of us can easily share the same good times you just mentioned following our favorite team through the decades. Whether these hardcore fans actually have their fannies in the stadium seats every home game or not they are some of the most fanatical" fans that exist. Even though there are many other fans that show up dressed just like us not all fans are equal in intensity and interest and never have been regardless of what decade we're talking about. Keeping this large segment interested these days in going to home games seems like a losing battle.

A lot of fans that go to these games just have the money, circumstances, happen to be in the school, have the passing fancy, doesn't mean they live and die with the hardcore. Trying to find one solution for so much ongoing diversity, much less trying to calculate the technological age into it is pretty much impossible.

The next renovation that's scheduled for Bryant Denny Stadium almost feels like a theme park setting. Maybe this generation wants Six Flags over Tuscaloosa to keep their interest?
 
#30
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#30
That's true. And you don't go to Neyland to be comfortable, to be sure. I have always kind of bristled when I hear people say they'd go to more Tennessee games if they ripped up the benches and put in seats, or at least gave you a lot more room on the bench itself. That's like saying you'd buy a sports car if it came with a better towing package for your boat. To me, the Neyland experience is that it is old and cramped. To remove that from the experience would fundamentally change it - I think that goes for most college stadiums, especially the older and very large ones. That doesn't mean that some parts of the stadium need some TLC (because some absolutely do).
If they want people to come, they're going to have to.
 
#32

RDU VOL#14

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#32
Most of us, on these football forums, are invested up to the neck, emotionally, one way or the other with our teams. A lot of us can easily share the same good times you just mentioned following our favorite team through the decades. Whether these hardcore fans actually have their fannies in the stadium seats every home game or not they are some of the most fanatical" fans that exist. Even though there are many other fans that show up dressed just like us not all fans are equal in intensity and interest and never have been regardless of what decade we're talking about. Keeping this large segment interested these days in going to home games seems like a losing battle.

A lot of fans that go to these games just have the money, circumstances, happen to be in the school, have the passing fancy, doesn't mean they live and die with the hardcore. Trying to find one solution for so much ongoing diversity, much less trying to calculate the technological age into it is pretty much impossible.

The next renovation that's scheduled for Bryant Denny Stadium almost feels like a theme park setting. Maybe this generation wants Six Flags over Tuscaloosa to keep their interest?
I wasn’t really trying to test anyone’s fan hood. Certainly not those have invested a lot of time and effort and $$ over the years . I think I get more perturbed than anything with current college students in general about a lot of things because you don’t really know what you have at your fingertips while you’re there until you’re not.

It doesn’t seem that long ago when it was a big deal to get tickets with your friends for big games or win the student lottery for away games . But as has been said, winning cures all. We should try it some time .
 
#34

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#34
I despise huge crowds in general but I would go to a game live (not even just a UT game; Hell I go to UNC Charlotte games whenever I can) over watching it on tv 9/10 times. The only thing that would make me reconsider is rain or snow and even then who we were playing may even make it worth it.
 
#35

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#35
I wasn’t really trying to test anyone’s fan hood. Certainly not those have invested a lot of time and effort and $$ over the years . I think I get more perturbed than anything with current college students in general about a lot of things because you don’t really know what you have at your fingertips while you’re there until you’re not.

It doesn’t seem that long ago when it was a big deal to get tickets with your friends for big games or win the student lottery for away games . But as has been said, winning cures all. We should try it some time .

There are some problems out there for Universities and college football teams to serious address. One is that fans aren't traveling to away games as they once did and that's true even among SEC games. Universities sending thousands of tickets back is getting to be the norm. I would also add that the one marquee OOC game a year that the SEC plays against an OOC power 5 team is really not so much an issue with home attendance either. Nor do I really think it cost us much with SOS or playoff committee consideration.

Which brings us to everyone's 3 home OOC games on the schedule each year, usually against mid-tier and usually one-directional (FCS) school. Trying to keep the home fans and student body interested in those 3 OOC games is a big problem. Coach Saban has said on many an occasion it would be good if power 5 teams would adopt playing all power 5 teams. I doubt seriously if the SEC or any power 5 conference will take it that far. But a nice start would be at least eliminating the directional school.

A better product (beef up the schedule with better OOC opponents), when football fans have so many other options is a great place to start with rapidly dwelling home attendance.
 
#36

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#36
There are some problems out there for Universities and college football teams to serious address. One is that fans aren't traveling to away games as they once did and that's true even among SEC games. Universities sending thousands of tickets back is getting to be the norm. I would also add that the one marquee OOC game a year that the SEC plays against an OOC power 5 team is really not so much an issue with home attendance either. Nor do I really think it cost us much with SOS or playoff committee consideration.

Which brings us to everyone's 3 home OOC games on the schedule each year, usually against mid-tier and usually one-directional (FCS) school. Trying to keep the home fans and student body interested in those 3 OOC games is a big problem. Coach Saban has said on many an occasion it would be good if power 5 teams would adopt playing all power 5 teams. I doubt seriously if the SEC or any power 5 conference will take it that far. But a nice start would be at least eliminating the directional school.

A better product (beef up the schedule with better OOC opponents), when football fans have so many other options is a great place to start with rapidly dwelling home attendance.
I would like to take it a step further when it comes to scheduling and actually see the SEC expands to 16 teams, creating 4 different 4 team divisions largely based on geography and allow more teams to play each other much for frequently. I don’t really have all the kinks worked out, but the fact that you all haven’t played USCjr in 10 years or whatever it is, is absurd.
 
#37

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#37
I would like to take it a step further when it comes to scheduling and actually see the SEC expands to 16 teams, creating 4 different 4 team divisions largely based on geography and allow more teams to play each other much for frequently. I don’t really have all the kinks worked out, but the fact that you all haven’t played USCjr in 10 years or whatever it is, is absurd.

When Georgia comes to Bryant Denny Stadium next season it will have been 13 years (2007) since they had to make the trip. It affects all the teams. But that can easily be solved now just by going to a 9 game schedule. Adding teams doesn't change anything with SOS. As we both mentioned, we already have more SEC teams to play than we can get to in a decade with an 8 game schedule.
 
#38

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#38
His points are valid but let's be real, the price if tickets are absurd. That's the main reason.
Has there been any real research that has been done into this claim? I'll be the first to admit that tickets are expensive, but are they more expensive than they've ever been? I don't ever really remember an era where seats, especially good seats, were ever considered cheap or a steal.

Are they actually rising much more rapidly than the general rate of inflation? Not talking about luxury boxes or club seats - I mean just "regular seats."

Not suggesting price increases aren't a pain point for people, but tickets to these big events have never been considered cheap or good values, at least not that I can remember. People don't come to the games like they used to because it is so comfortable to stay at home, and the experience of staying at home is much better than it used to be.
 
#39

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#39
When Georgia comes to Bryant Denny Stadium next season it will have been 13 years (2007) since they had to make the trip. It affects all the teams. But that can easily be solved now just by going to a 9 game schedule. Adding teams doesn't change anything with SOS. As we both mentioned, we already have more SEC teams to play than we can get to in a decade with an 8 game schedule.
I know what you’re saying. I just don’t think we are getting the most out of college football that we the consumer could be. It’s probably incredibly selfish on my part, and I do realize it’s not the pros, but in a lot of ways it’s is. I mentioned in a different thread I find college football to be archaic in a lot of ways and a lot of ways unique, I think if people really wanted to they could keep what makes college football what it is and also maximize what it could be.

The fact that UGA and Bama haven’t played in BDS in 12 years is ridiculous. 9 games would be great, but that’s why I want more teams too. 2 divisions of an unbalanced schedule would piss people off to no end when they didn’t get to Atlanta.
 
#40
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Has there been any real research that has been done into this claim? I'll be the first to admit that tickets are expensive, but are they more expensive than they've ever been? I don't ever really remember an era where seats, especially good seats, were ever considered cheap or a steal.

Are they actually rising much more rapidly than the general rate of inflation? Not talking about luxury boxes or club seats - I mean just "regular seats."

Not suggesting price increases aren't a pain point for people, but tickets to these big events have never been considered cheap or good values, at least not that I can remember. People don't come to the games like they used to because it is so comfortable to stay at home, and the experience of staying at home is much better than it used to be.
Probably more perception than reality. Personally I think it stands out more now because we have options. "Back in the day" the only way to see many games was to actually go; otherwise you're glued to your radio.

Plus I think some people reason that they are paying for these cable and app subscriptions and paid for the TVs and all, so why add on top of that money for tickets/gas/food/parking/etc. Stay at home and use what you're already paying for.
 
#42

n_huffhines

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#42
Fitzgerald is an idiot. You can be on your smartphone at the games, for hell's sakes.

Attendance is declining because going to games is such a hassle and the alternative is very convenient. Nothing quite like being there in person lower bowl on the 50 yard line, but the seats are uncomfortable and expensive, and travel and parking is a pain in the ass. Concessions are expensive. My 65" HDTV + comfortable couch + pellet grill + ice chest full of beer makes home the best place to watch games.

I haven't even mentioned the fact that you get to flip channels and watch other games while everybody else is sitting in traffic, or stuck watching a blowout because they paid $50+/ticket.

Even when I was at BYU 13 years ago and didn't have all those bells and whistles at home, I'd still rather watch from my couch unless I happened to have great seats. The stadium was only a block away, too. I left the BYU/Utah game at halftime once, and finished at home.
 
#43

n_huffhines

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#43
I repeat. If you can’t get your hands on cheap seats, there’s only two scenarios:

1. There’s high demand for the event
2. You literally aren’t trying
But why get cheap seats to a low demand game? Taking 7 hours out of my day to sit in nose bleeds and watch the home team throttle a crappy school is not my idea of a good time.
 
#45
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#45
Attendance decline is a common conversation every offseason for college football fans. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald has an interesting theory behind the decline, and his statements quickly went viral out of Big Ten Media Days in Chicago.

With some level of irony based on how many people likely watched the commentary from their phones, Fitzgerald’s two-minute long social commentary had millions of views by Monday.

Don’t have time to watch? Here is what Fitzgerald said during his podium session in Chicago.

“I think phones, I think technology has been the decline in attendance, No. 1,” Fitzgerald said. “Watching young people today live like this (with their heads in their phones) instead of like that (with their eyes up front). Stacey and I were out on a date last night. There were two groups of couples sitting next two us. I’m like ‘oh my gosh I’m old.’ Not one of the two couples were talking to each other. They were all on their phones. It just drove me up the wall. I literally wanted to be like a dad. Give me your phone. Talk to each other. This is pathetic. It was really pathetic.

“It’s changed the way a lot of young people and younger fans intake, it’s all through technology. You watch a concert and everybody is holding the phone up. Listen, watch, take it in, create a memory. They don’t come back and watch the videos. They just want to post it on their social media, which is pathetic. It creates a society of, ‘look at me, isn’t my life great.’ … I think it’s a big cause. I think it’s the root cause, No. 1. I think the fans that grew up tailgating and going to the stadiums four hours before games are getting a little older. I think the next, and younger, generations of fans are more reliant on technology. They’d rather have 12 TVs set up in their TV-watching cave than go to a game and experience the pageantry and the tailgating. I think it’s definitely things we need to look at as a brand, college football, on how we can create that type of environment and experiences while respecting our communities and our neighborhoods to make sure the experiences that are happening don’t impede on those neighborhoods.”
He’s right except I don’t think it’s pathetic it’s just a new way we communicate and interact... I do exactly what he said at games or concerts, record, post this making a memory... not pathetic imo it gets easily shared with my friends and family, we talk about it or post back and forth days later and in addition to being in my personal memory bank (brain) it’s also posted, backedup and stored. Why did people take photos, buy coaster cam photos or get souvenir cards from vacation spots in the 50-80s... lasting memories.

He’s also right about the generation of 4 hour tailgating, bleacher sitting, pageantry fans is going extinct. I love being at a live game until I’m at the live game, then I’m reminded of the miles of walking, standing, distracted view, wall to wall people, tv timeouts, cost of tickets, parking, food, sweating and climbing it involves. Home offers HD, WiFi, open access to scores, games and a cold fridge full of beer and food.

He right but it’s not pathetic it’s change and from my vantage point many changes that blow away the appeal of attending live games.
 
#46
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#46
I think a lot of you guys make very good arguments, life gets in the way, traffic sucks, etc.., but at the same time you guys aren’t seeing it either. The TV and the smart phones are one in the same. Not because you watch the game on either one, but because they are a matter of convenience and comfort and we largely are not very good anymore at dealing with inconvenience or discomfort. At the same time, like Fitzgerald was saying, people even isolate themselves on dates, so now dealing with other people in a large setting is too much rather than experiencing the moment that Wilhoit hits a 51 yarder to beat Florida in person and feel the stadium shake or know what exact section you were in and how it felt. Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up going to big college football games, but I’ve been to plenty other big time games, i know if I have the choice of seeing it in person or on tv I’m picking in person.

It’s not like Jack Daniels or mini bottles didn’t exist before the smart phone or the big screen tv, or there wasn’t a jail below the Vet in Philly because of drunks fighting. People have put up with that stuff for generations. I’m not saying go every weekend if you have an easy opportunity, but it’s 6 or 7 Saturdays out of 52 a year. Go for 4 or 5 . Of course there are lots of different circumstances that come into play and I get that, but I’m still a softy for the atmosphere and the overall experience of a full Gameday.
I go to at least one game a year.... just enough of a reminder to not go back til the next year lol, love the Vols and game but absolutely can’t see spending 6, 7, or 8 hours of my life each Saturday to enjoy 3 hours of a game.
 
#47

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#47
He’s right except I don’t think it’s pathetic it’s just a new way we communicate and interact... I do exactly what he said at games or concerts, record, post this making a memory... not pathetic imo it gets easily shared with my friends and family, we talk about it or post back and forth days later and in addition to being in my personal memory bank (brain) it’s also posted, backedup and stored. Why did people take photos, buy coaster cam photos or get souvenir cards from vacation spots in the 50-80s... lasting memories.
The recording of videos at events you are at isn't quite as obnoxious, provided you also put the phone down and watch what is happening with your own eyes too. Nobody is really recording those for their own enjoyment...they are recording them to post on social media and get likes/compliments. No different than somebody wanting to show you a photo album from their latest vacation back in the day, but the easy sharing via social media just proliferates the obnoxious behavior.

The phenomenon that is really interesting to me, and Fitz alluded to this too, is a big group of friends sitting at a table and a restaurant and they are buried in their phones the entire time. I see this all the time; they won't even look at each other. A friend of mine does this most of the time we hang out, and it's a reason why we don't really hang out all that much anymore. He'll come over to my house and be on his phone most of the time, texting people and looking things up on his phone.
 
#49
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#49
The recording of videos at events you are at isn't quite as obnoxious, provided you also put the phone down and watch what is happening with your own eyes too. Nobody is really recording those for their own enjoyment...they are recording them to post on social media and get likes/compliments. No different than somebody wanting to show you a photo album from their latest vacation back in the day, but the easy sharing via social media just proliferates the obnoxious behavior.

The phenomenon that is really interesting to me, and Fitz alluded to this too, is a big group of friends sitting at a table and a restaurant and they are buried in their phones the entire time. I see this all the time; they won't even look at each other. A friend of mine does this most of the time we hang out, and it's a reason why we don't really hang out all that much anymore. He'll come over to my house and be on his phone most of the time, texting people and looking things up on his phone.
I really don't get the people that go to concerts and record the entire time. I get recording parts of it. I was at Metallica in Nashville back in January and so many people had their phones going the whole time. Like Metallica is RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU and you're watching them through a tiny screen. I recorded them coming on stage and For Whom The Bell Tolls because it's my favorite Metallica song and I'd never seen them perform it live. But I didn't upload it to any social media, I put it on my laptop to watch when I want to.
 
#50

05_never_again

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#50
I really don't get the people that go to concerts and record the entire time. I get recording parts of it. I was at Metallica in Nashville back in January and so many people had their phones going the whole time. Like Metallica is RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU and you're watching them through a tiny screen. I recorded them coming on stage and For Whom The Bell Tolls because it's my favorite Metallica song and I'd never seen them perform it live. But I didn't upload it to any social media, I put it on my laptop to watch when I want to.
You're one of the few that doesn't upload it to social media. Those guys recording the whole show I'm sure go through it looking for the best bits afterwards, and that's what gets uploaded to social media. They paid a ton of money to watch the show through a little screen.
 

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