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12/18/2023 6:53 pm  #21


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

Barry good points. I would add that a big problem is that GW has never been a sports-driven school. I've been attending games since 1965 and attendance has been a constant problem (football was even worse).Things picked up a bit during the Jarvis and Lonergan years but, still, sellouts were an exception. Attendance will pick up when the league season starts, but don't expect a tremendous surge. I've been sayin recently that, if the team wins big, they will come. Upon reflection, I'm not so sure. When the team is really successful in a particular season, more students with GW sweatshirts will appear, but most of the time I see students wearing shirts emblazed with many colleges other than GW as they walk around campus. Games being shown on streaming services certainly also depresses attendance plus the lack of radio, tv, and newspaper coverage.  That said, the school should do everything suggested here to attract new fans, but don't expect a sea change whatever is done.  

 

12/18/2023 9:45 pm  #22


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

Interesting discussion, lots of good ideas, but does anyone know what GW is doing to market men's basketball?  It would be nice if we could know what the school is doing. Maybe passionate supporters on this board could even support those efforts. 

 

12/19/2023 11:27 am  #23


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

GW73 wrote:

Interesting discussion, lots of good ideas, but does anyone know what GW is doing to market men's basketball?  It would be nice if we could know what the school is doing. Maybe passionate supporters on this board could even support those efforts. 

Could not agree more GW73.  It does feel like this program is turning a corner (this is the best I have felt about a GW team since the NIT Championship) and CC is really out there meeting students, making media appearances, and obviously spearheading some excellent recruiting and game planning.  It really would be nice to learn more about what the school is doing to attract more fans.  On the one hand, my sense is that a "wait and see" approach towards spending real dollars is under way, as in win first and then financial support will be afforded.  On the other hand, a number of things mentioned here don't cost a lot of money (some don't cost any money...just time). 

It's time for this program to stop licking its wounds and feeling like a neglected stepchild.  We are seeing a resurgence on the court, and we should be experiencing some real growth in paid attendance.  So, what exactly is being done?
 

 

1/07/2024 11:28 pm  #24


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

this is how bad it is
and i believe part of this is OOC scheduling

 

1/07/2024 11:36 pm  #25


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

It’s bad, but I think if OOC scheduling is part of it, it’s not a big part. I don’t think random DC people will go if there were slightly better teams. I’d like to improve it of course but I don’t think that solves it

 

1/07/2024 11:42 pm  #26


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

squid wrote:

It’s bad, but I think if OOC scheduling is part of it, it’s not a big part. I don’t think random DC people will go if there were slightly better teams. I’d like to improve it of course but I don’t think that solves it

what was GWU attendance like when GWU was nationally ranked and going to the NCAA Tournament??

I COULD BE WRONG - but the last sellout game was when GWU upset then Nationally ranked Virginia during Longeran years? How about the upset of Maryland?

I KNOW THIS IS PURE FANTASY - what if the schedule included the lakes of Kansas, UCLA, Villanova, Kansas, and other Top 25 teams. 
 

 

1/08/2024 8:09 am  #27


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

I would think the last sellout was maybe a game against Dayton or VCU.  Could also be the Florida NIT game which came later in the same season as UVA (albeit that was a gift from Florida because they were renovating their arena).

The days when we could get a P6 team to come to the Smith Center are basically over.  Schools schedule to the NET and an away game against GW is at best a Quad 2 game for the foreseeable future (likely Q3 if we're being honest).  There isn't any reason why you go on the road to play an OOC Q3 game anymore. Only chance is maybe we luck out and a P6 school gets a DMV kid who wants to play a game close to home like Miami did with Chris Lykes in 2017.

Here's Dayton's home schedule this year (they sold out every game):
SIU Evansville
Youngstown State
Grambling State
UNLV (cancelled)
Troy
Oakland
Longwood

Dayton and VCU fans seem to show up regardless of who's playing, so blaming a weak OOC schedule on lack of attendance only reinforces the fact that our own local alumni, especially alumni with young kids, are culprit #1.  If you don't want to compare us to Dayton/VCU, look at Davidson which is significantly smaller than GW and basically double our attendance.

If we just want butts in seats, regardless of who they're rooting for, we need to schedule opponents that have strong alumni bases in the DMV area.

Schools off the top of my head that we could reasonably schedule a home game with:
Delaware
James Madison
Princeton
Harvard
Penn

Last edited by GW0509 (1/08/2024 8:19 am)

 

1/08/2024 9:21 am  #28


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

Those attendance stats are chilling if you care about GW basketball, which I hope the athletic marketing department does, but I am not sure they do. Last in attendance in the A-10 should be a wake up call. It can't be business as usual. What is the marketing department doing about it?  It makes me wonder-- Does the university care? Doesn't look like it. CC is out there encouraging students on social media and in person. But if CC gets the team winning, and we don't imprive the attendance, why is he going to hang around. As a longtime season ticket holder, I remember times athletic dept. marketing team was connecting with season ticket holders. Maybe it's time to get new marketing people or put a stronger effort behind ticket sales.  Somebody needs to wake up I realize this is an emergency. People need to held responsible.

 

1/08/2024 9:24 am  #29


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

Dayton and VCU are bad examples, because if you are sports fan, what else are you going to watch in Dayton or Richmond.  Its not like they have to compete against the Wizards, Capitols, or the myriad of other cultural opportunities that exist here but not in those smaller cities.  Also, there is the winning factor.  Winning cures all, and those programs have been winning for decades.  I think I saw that VCU hasn't had a losing season in 20 years.  Fans know that they are going to see a decent product when they go to those games.  There hasn't been a guarantee of that here since ML was fired, and that was even debatable.  You really have to go back to Hobbs, but probably Jarvis.  I think with consistent winning, you will see a return of fans and not amount of marketing will probably change that.

 

1/08/2024 9:42 am  #30


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

I've stayed away form this topic over the years because there's so much working against schools like GW when it comes to attendance that even one fix won't change much but that graphic above got me to bite. Any graphic that uses raw numbers like the one above is beyond stupid unless something magically changed this year and every arena has the same capacity. I care more about % fill, because I personally think that is responsible for creating a better atmosphere. GW would still look bad there, but right now this is comparing apples to oranges.

Georgetown's is probably only a third full based off of that. I know they've been bad lately, but attendance has been trending downwards over the years at many schools, not just GW. There's no doubt COVID accelerated that as well, and that hurts even more when a team has not won a lot recently. (Side note, I chatted with a guy a couple weeks back who is majoring in sports management at Georgetown and he didn't even realize the basketball team changed coaches this year. That surprised me a bit.)

GW's website doesn't have data going that far back, but before 2020 at least we were drawing 2,000+. That should be the starting goal, maybe eventually then getting around 2,500 to put GW in line with many of the other teams in the A10 at least. Not saying the school shouldn't aim for sellouts one day, but perhaps to be more realistic.

I more or less agree with some of the posts above. I agree with squid that I don't find scheduling to be a major factor. Better opponents may help GW finish above Fordham and La Salle but probably no one else. Additionally, do we want those seats filled with opposing fans just to increase the numbers? That would hurt GW's performance at home. Unfortunately, there are no stats regarding % of fans being from the other team from the numbers above but I wouldn't feel better about the attendance just because Dayton or VCU filled the Smith Center with their fans.

I guess nowadays people are prioritizing other things, especially at schools in big cities where other things are going on. As moneybox mentioned, the presence of streaming services has hurt as well. Winning helps first and foremost, but GW has also never been a sports-driven school or marketed their teams well to students, alums, or other locals. As a student, I hardly saw flyers for when the next home game was. This was the case even when the team has been good. It's also never been cool to have spirit for the school, and nothing has ever been done to change that. No culture has been built to root for the teams, so it's not surprising not many will care.

CC has been trying his best, and I think GW's student section is above average for the A10 but how many of these students that stay in the DC area will become season ticket holders, or even return for games periodically once they graduate? That's becoming less likely with every passing year.
 

 

1/08/2024 9:52 am  #31


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

GW0509 wrote:

Long Suffering Fan wrote:

Surprised nobody has mentioned the home schedule as a factor in the low attendance.  Not sure how this is fixable, but people will also go to a sporting event to see the visiting team play, and at least this season, we have had no opponants worth the price of admission.

Yeah I don't think it's fixable.  Even the A10's best teams are struggling to schedule home games like GW could do under the Lonergan years.

Dayton: UNLV (and it was cancelled)
VCU: Memphis, Temple
SLU: Utah State
Duquesne: Princeton

That's pretty much it.  A10 fans better get used to seeing a lot of Patriot League, CAA, and MVC schools or start travelling with the team on the road.

CORRECT 509! That's why the A-10 instead of being a 3-bid league is, sadly, now the best 1-bid league.

 

1/08/2024 10:02 am  #32


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

dmvpiranha wrote:

CC has been trying his best, and I think GW's student section is above average for the A10 but how many of these students that stay in the DC area will become season ticket holders, or even return for games periodically once they graduate? That's becoming less likely with every passing year.
 

I was just thinking: GW is now offering a season ticket pass for $99.  You don't get assigned seats, but you get in the Smith Center.  What if every local alum who donates say $200+ to the school gets a Raise High Pass thrown in for free?
 

 

1/08/2024 10:02 am  #33


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

Basketball Jones wrote:

this is how bad it is
and i believe part of this is OOC scheduling

I WISH THE OOC schedule was a driver because that would mean students and others are college basketball fans in general. They are not.

Everyone I take to a game LOVES the venue in terms of sight lines, ease of moving around and vibe when its closer to full. But, they'd sooner by a new car than purchase a ticket or even watch a game on TV.

What is going to get harder is attracting and keeping what we think of as A10 level talent as the NIL $$ snowball gets bigger. Logically with all the money the "adults" have been raking in I can't begrudge the players; however I'd be smart to focus on this year, bc the level of change year to year is sure to be jarring and may kill my fandom all together.

 

1/08/2024 10:25 am  #34


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

What is particularly disturbing is the decline in season ticket holders.   I sit in row 2, and I have been to games where my entire row was empty but for my 2 seats.   Season ticket holders that have been attending for years have moved on.  I was hoping after the successes of last season that these fans would return, but they have not.   We also no longer have the Virginia Techs or the West Virginias playing us at home, with their legions of fans filling the arena.    The long term solution would be to market the product, so people are coming out to see GW play, not the opposition, but since the post NIT disaster, there has not been much to market in terms of the on court product, until recently.   DMV mentioned our drawing 2,000 plus before 2020.   For me, 2000 was the mendoza line for attendence, with anything less being embarassing.  That line is now 1000.    This weekend will be curious regarding attendence.   We have the students returning, we are 12-3 and are playing 2 of the better teams in the conference.   With Mason's red hot start and their knocking on the door of an at large bid, I expect they will have large presence and will be disappointed if the crowd doesn't top 3,000, especially since it is a federal holiday.   We have much to offer fans.   Beside the record, we have a remarkable 4 year player in Bishop; a wonderful human interest story in Johnson and the second leading shot blocker in the country in Stretch.    Even Buchanan, a local product who is one of the best first year players in the country, should be marketable locally.   Even our local basketball competition,  the Wizards and Ge**getown, are cooperating by being so bad.   I have said repeatedly, from the product on the court to the wonderful arena that we play in, there is much to sell to the local fan.  We just need to market better.  

Last edited by Long Suffering Fan (1/08/2024 10:31 am)

 

1/08/2024 10:55 am  #35


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

In my opinion, there are the major factors:

1. The damage done by the Lonergan departure and the resulting catastrophic decision to hire Mojo was real. It still impacts the program and won’t really be eradicated until we’ve danced a few times. Think those kinds of reputation hits can be easily fixed? Ask the good folks at  Anheuser Busch.  To me, this is the single most important reason TV pulled the trigger on JC so quickly. She saw the program floating further away from the island to the point of no return. We were very close to that point  in my view. Complete collapse of funding support, irrelevance and likely a move to a dipshit conference at some point. Yes, things were that bad and that close.

2. GW isn’t a sports school and never will be. We on this board are a good example. We are the most rabid amd loyal of the GW fan base, and we can barely scrape together a few dozen of us to regularly participate. It’s not in the culture of why you look at GW for school, unlike with programs like Dayton, Providence, Gonzaga, or even James Madison. Marketing does have some impact on this area, but it’s more cultural than anything else.

3. CC’s scheduling philosophy isn’t going to help. I don’t live in the area, but I do make a trip down for a game a few times a year. Let me assure you I dint pick Coppin State or UMES for this years campus visit.  I would imagine that’s the same for many season ticket holders.  These ticket packages are also so cheap, I doubt I would feel penalized by missing most of the load of crap OOC games.  His scheduling philosophy isn’t going to change, so get used to empty seats for the likes of next years comedy line up.

4.  If you build it, they will come. Winning brings attention, brings money, brings asses to seats. The bandwagoneers will be back when we win.

 

1/08/2024 1:12 pm  #36


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

As usual, good points by everyone. 
No idea what to do, but the schedule doesn't help. Playing a D2 school in a non-exhibition setting is just an insult to the idea of luring fans. We all greatly love wins, but don't need to be delusional about how they are
achieved.
Don't know if we want to recruit opposing fan bases, which is a good idea to sell more tickets, because it removes the home court advantage and makes the situation unpleasant. It would turn off the regulars.
   We didn't like Fordham, and their boisterousness may not have helped us to use the crowd as a 6th man in a tight game, but still, Fordham didn't even fill one section. Whenever VCU comes to town, they are incredibly annoying. And Dayton, to a lesser extent, as well.
    The stunning lack of media coverage (was our dramatic win at VCU on TV news or more than a brief?) has something to do with it. And the excuse of our not winning to note be covered is gone, for now and hopefully much, much longer. CC is a good spokesman for the team and has been really good about drumming up student support and being an all-around good guy on campus.
   I do have to note that student attendance, when GW is in session, has been very good. And a solid crew have been very avid fans. Credit our Ryan and GWSB and others who may not post here.
    Perhaps we can do more from the GW community, alumni and those employed by GW.
We need to get our own more involved before we can expect others to come.
     

 

1/08/2024 3:45 pm  #37


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

Without a longstanding tradition--let alone a recent winning one, the situation is very tough absent an NCAA run.  The situation is likely to only get worse with NIL and the transfer portal as players increasingly become less a part of the student body and more like transients.

Only half-jokingly, the best marketing answer I see--if not a humane one--is through gambling. 

- Give students free bets at MGM, DraftKings etc., just for showing up and staying in their seats. 
- Let them bet on every free throw and possession outcome, changing point spreads, and over/unders throughout the game.

What better way to get someone emotionally invested in GW basketball than giving them some of their own (or parents) skin in the game. 

While it's true that enticing a vulnerable student whose young brain is susceptible to addiction seems unethical, we're actually behind the curve in what corporate pro sports and the TV networks already know. Sure, busting brackets in the NCAA Tourney may be fun for longstanding fans, but did you notice that ratings for the tournament plummeted once people no longer had a shot in winning their office or online pool.           

If we're lucky, maybe some of these folks will actually like the game without money on the line.

 

1/08/2024 5:14 pm  #38


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

No betting on college games in DC.  Parents will just have to make those bets for their kids assuming they live in a legal state.

 

1/08/2024 5:53 pm  #39


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

Great points all around.  CC has done his part in recruiting the students, a few winning seasons that that side of the arena will be full with a couple of BBQs and other promotions. Paying customers have been much more difficult. As someone pointing out, the Lonergan fall out pissed a lot of people off. I personally know of about 10 season ticket holders and their families that gave up at that point and have not come back.

I think the customer segment that would be the best to focus on is alumni with young kids. I was always going to come to the games since I have been lucky enough to stay in the area after graduation for multiple decades, but I started bringing my kids when they were little along with the rest of my season ticket holder group and our number of tickets have multiplied over the years. Now our kids bring friends and they have a blast and we want to get even more. Just last week I had a friend reach out on how to buy season tickets because they have come to a few games and their kids love it.

 

1/08/2024 8:46 pm  #40


Re: Theories of Why We Don't Draw Well, and Perhaps a Few Ideas

For the first time in a long time GW has a plan to sell tickets by using lists of people who would be interested in coming to our games. If we can become a consistent winner, more fans will come. But it's not easy with almost every game available on TV.

By the way I have been to GW men's games every year since 1966, and the win over VCU was one of the best ever.

 

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