And now, we shall discuss the low attendance inside Assembly Hall

It’s no secret that attendance INSIDE THE HALL this season has not been very good, at least in terms of what we’ve come to expect. We’ve come to expect sellouts or near sellouts, so when that doesn’t happen, it becomes a topic of conversation.

In some of the earlier live chats this season, we were curious: “Are there even any fans in the balcony?” “How many students are there?” The results were bleak. As Chris Korman wrote back in November, student ticket sales were down about 4,000 this year. This math seems to match up with attendance. In games when classes are in session, IU is averaging somewhere in the 13,000 range for number of attendees. Capacity at Assembly Hall is 17,456. (17,456 – 4,000 = somewhere in the 13,000s.)*

*Quickly: I believe last year, because of the demand for tickets, not all students that bought packages got tickets for every single game. So the numbers could be off here, but for the purposes of this post, we’ll just go with it.

It seems one member of the Rumors and Rants crew has taken the latter part of their name, and ranted like mad about students not showing up to these games. (I counted six f-bombs in this thing, as well as six exclamation points. This rant is not for the faint of heart; tread lightly.)

Anyways, for fun, I’m going to blockquote the rant, and then I’m going to give my own commentary under the blockquote. This is a technique no blogger has ever used. Ever.

Here we go:

Well, today on his local radio show (I only ever hear the teasers because I have a day job) Dan Dakich discussed how fans of IU basketball, especially students, are staying away in droves from Assembly Hall this season.

My reaction: You’re full of s–t, Dan Dakich! I don’t believe it. There’s simply no way. You’re just a loser who couldn’t win games with Eric Gordon and DJ White and a supporting cast higher than Snoop Dogg!

And yet, after a little non-scientific investigation, turns out he’s right. IU fans are avoiding 1001 East 17th Street in Bloomington, Indiana like it’s infected with the Ebola virus.

What’s curious about these three grafs, is that the author is telling us here that he was 100 percent clueless about the light attendance at Assembly Hall this year and hadn’t heard about it till today, on talk radio of all places. And yet, he refers to himself as a “diehard fan” later in the same piece. I’m wondering how he missed the boat on this one, as this was what I’d like to refer to as “common knowledge to anyone following the team with even a passing interest this year, or something someone could just as easily surmise.”

Perhaps when you have such an unflinching allegiance to the Cream and Crimson as the author does, these things can only seep into your consciousness through the dulcet tones of Dan Dakich on Indianapolis radio.

Further:

Here’s my point: Have Indiana fans been closet fair-weather fans the entire time? Did no one know it until now?

No, and no. In some recent years when the team was expected to do well, students packages didn’t give tickets to all home games, because of demand. In some recent years, when fan interest wasn’t as high, students ticket packages gave you all the games, because of demand. The author went to school at IU; I am utterly shocked he never noticed this phenomena before. This is supply and demand at work, and it’s incredibly low on the demand end this year because this season is an outlier.

Everyone knew IU basketball would be beyond horrible in Tom Crean’s first season. Kelvin Sampson left this team in tatters when he was fired, and there was nothing Dan Dakich could do, either. We all knew this. But if the fans can’t be bothered to support this team, a clean program the fans can believe in again, then Kelvin Sampson has truly won.

Does it take one dirty coach to turn the IU fanbase into a quivering mass of front-runners?

No, it doesn’t. Look: Student ticket packages were $210 this season, according to Korman. (A student I just spoke with on the phone said his bank statement tabbed him for $220.) Most of us were college students at one point. Were we oozing with money? No, we weren’t. (I wasn’t.) That’s a lot of money to a college kid that doesn’t have parents handing them over money every month, a college student that maybe only worked in the summer to have cash for the entire school year.

So what are we really arguing here, in terms of fair-weather fans? I would argue the types of students that didn’t get tickets this year are the types of fans that only have a bit of a passing interest in the team to begin with, the types of people that will go if their friends are going and they all got a package. And, even in good years, and even when these students have tickets, attendance can be sketchy. For afternoon games on the weekends, sometimes the stadium doesn’t fill up entirely until halfway through the first half. And sometimes a good chunk of these students decide to wake up and watch the game from their bed while nursing a hangover.

A couple thousand students, students that range from clueless freshman who get basketball tickets because it’s the cool thing to do, or sorority girls in DG who couldn’t pick Tijan Jobe out of a lineup, thought to themselves: “You know what, we’re not going to get tickets this year because we’ve heard the team sucks, and heck, I don’t want to pay that much for tickets. THE ECONOMY IS KILLING MY PORTFOLIO RIGHT NOW.”

The reason the expensive seats continue to be filled is because it takes years to get those tickets. Adults that have worked their whole life for them aren’t going to give them up because of one bad year. There is brand loyalty there. Not so much for the freshman in McNutt.

In sum: It appears the author is yelling and cursing at that group of girls that sits behind you in Psych class and wear Ugg boots.

Not only does being a fairweather fan cheapen the entire experience, it makes the die-hards like the five of us here at Rumors and Rants hate you even more. Besides, the f–k else do the students have to do at 7pm on a f–king Tuesday night in the middle of winter? Drink and “have relations” after the game, you sissies.

I can think of many things students could be doing on a Tuesday night besides walking up to Assembly Hall in the cold and watching a team of freshman, walk-ons and juco transfers lose, and lose badly. Like, maybe, still watching the game, but doing so from the comfort of their dorm room or fraternity or off-campus housing. But if you do that, the five members of Rumor and Rants will hate you even more. Seems these fringe fans that didn’t buy tickets this year can’t catch a break in this author’s scenario.

Next year, when Crean’s first crop of real recruits shows up and the Hoosiers are good again, I guarantee Assembly Hall will be packed once more and everyone will be vocally supporting the team again.

I 100 percent agree with this statement.

So here’s a message from the alumni and the die hards who aren’t bailing on this team: If you aren’t going to cheer for the Hoosiers live and in person, especially the students, then don’t come back next year or the year after when the team is good again. Stay the f–k away because we don’t want you.

If these fans do, as the author writers here, “stay the f–k away,” the same amount of students will buy tickets next year, and then we’ll be in same boat again, and then we may have to read another rant by this author in which he’s even more pissed at these students for not showing up because the team is significantly better. Though, I suppose, if students don’t heed the author’s warning and do come back next season, he may also decide to write a piece about how everyone is “back on the bandwagon” again and he and the four other members of Rumors and Rants are true, almighty fans and stuck with the team last year, and now that you are back, he hates you even more.

The logic makes one’s head spin.

—-

Here’s my overriding point: fair-weather fans exist in the Indiana fanbase, especially in the student body when it comes to ticket sales. This is not some new revelation this season under Crean. It was like this from 2003-07 when I was a student.

And it’s hit all areas of Indiana fandom this year: there’s been less discussion on ITH this year, because less people are watching the games and less people are enthused about the team.

This will soon change. Until then, the “diehards” are just spitting into the wind.

  • http://hellonewworld.tumblr.com snissen

    Great piece, of course. R&R might as well have published “Are you 3l33t enough for r0x0r internet gaming?”

  • http://hellonewworld.tumblr.com snissen

    Great piece, of course. R&R might as well have published “Are you 3l33t enough for r0x0r internet gaming?”

  • http://matthewjenks.blogspot.com/ Matt_J

    On one side, all of the guys who write Rumors and Rants are IU alums, if I remember correctly (or at least four of them are). On the other side, I think some of them live in San Diego, so they might not have seen as many games? But, still, I'd expect one of them to know that attendance was down and not suddenly wake up to this shocker.

    Are some of the higher priced tickets owned by corporations so they can take clients to games to help ease them into the sale? I'm sure there's still plenty of season ticket holders from the general citizenry, but I'm also sure that the numbers have gone down a little bit in that area, as well.

    I have no idea on this, so I'll ask you guys, how many tickets (if any) does IU hold for general admission during the season? Wouldn't the stats in those numbers be a better reflection on the situation than season ticket holders?

  • http://matthewjenks.blogspot.com/ Matt_J

    On one side, all of the guys who write Rumors and Rants are IU alums, if I remember correctly (or at least four of them are). On the other side, I think some of them live in San Diego, so they might not have seen as many games? But, still, I'd expect one of them to know that attendance was down and not suddenly wake up to this shocker.

    Are some of the higher priced tickets owned by corporations so they can take clients to games to help ease them into the sale? I'm sure there's still plenty of season ticket holders from the general citizenry, but I'm also sure that the numbers have gone down a little bit in that area, as well.

    I have no idea on this, so I'll ask you guys, how many tickets (if any) does IU hold for general admission during the season? Wouldn't the stats in those numbers be a better reflection on the situation than season ticket holders?

  • http://matthewjenks.blogspot.com/ Matt_J

    Rumors and Rants usually does a pretty decent job with their writing. Most of the guys either are or have been sports reporters in the past. They're not exactly the leet-speak type.

  • http://matthewjenks.blogspot.com/ Matt_J

    Rumors and Rants usually does a pretty decent job with their writing. Most of the guys either are or have been sports reporters in the past. They're not exactly the leet-speak type.

  • Edward Layleyhands

    You can't get mad at anyone for the lack of attendance but Sampson. Don't blame it on the students. Don't blame it on the fair weather fans. This is a very common thing in sports. If your team is bad, your attendance is going to drop. It's that simple. There is not a college b-ball team in the country that would keep sell out crowds if their team was as bad as ours. You would even see some empty seats in the tiny Cameron Indoor if they were going through what we were going through. There has to be a direct correlation between games won and seats filled.

    Ryan, use your connections to get Jeff Sagarin to do a correlation for us. He's an IU fan right? Got his MBA there.

  • Edward Layleyhands

    You can't get mad at anyone for the lack of attendance but Sampson. Don't blame it on the students. Don't blame it on the fair weather fans. This is a very common thing in sports. If your team is bad, your attendance is going to drop. It's that simple. There is not a college b-ball team in the country that would keep sell out crowds if their team was as bad as ours. You would even see some empty seats in the tiny Cameron Indoor if they were going through what we were going through. There has to be a direct correlation between games won and seats filled.

    Ryan, use your connections to get Jeff Sagarin to do a correlation for us. He's an IU fan right? Got his MBA there.

  • tdawg

    they are offering students $5 tickets for tomorrows game, and they can take friends and family

  • http://hellonewworld.tumblr.com snissen

  • http://hellonewworld.tumblr.com snissen

  • Andy

    I am going to the game tonight, making the trip down from South Bend, and found that yes, we could get balcony tickets through the university as recently as this past monday, but lower level seats are not available for more than one person. And on stubhub, where we got our tickets, you still had to pay twice face value for more than 2 seats together in the lower level. Maybe the Hall is not filled to capacity every night, but the fact that you can not get 4 seats together in the lower level for face value was SHOCKING to me. I think that is a real testament to the fan base. With how bad this team is, you should be able to get tickets for next to nothing.

    I can guarantee you that if a program like Illinois, Wisconsin or Iowa had a year like we are having they would let you into their Big Ten home games for a can of soup just to get a few people in the door. Not so at IU this year.

    R and R may be right, next year there will be more people in attendance, but the number of empty seats to fill could be a lot higher with how bad this team is. I think the level of support is AMAZING considering how the things have been since Knight left.

    I'll report back after the game tonight and give you my thoughts on the crowd. Something tells me that it will still be a better crowd than i have seen at Notre Dame in the past decade, and that program is on the rise.

    Andy – 2002 IU Alum

  • Andy

    I am going to the game tonight, making the trip down from South Bend, and found that yes, we could get balcony tickets through the university as recently as this past monday, but lower level seats are not available for more than one person. And on stubhub, where we got our tickets, you still had to pay twice face value for more than 2 seats together in the lower level. Maybe the Hall is not filled to capacity every night, but the fact that you can not get 4 seats together in the lower level for face value was SHOCKING to me. I think that is a real testament to the fan base. With how bad this team is, you should be able to get tickets for next to nothing.

    I can guarantee you that if a program like Illinois, Wisconsin or Iowa had a year like we are having they would let you into their Big Ten home games for a can of soup just to get a few people in the door. Not so at IU this year.

    R and R may be right, next year there will be more people in attendance, but the number of empty seats to fill could be a lot higher with how bad this team is. I think the level of support is AMAZING considering how the things have been since Knight left.

    I'll report back after the game tonight and give you my thoughts on the crowd. Something tells me that it will still be a better crowd than i have seen at Notre Dame in the past decade, and that program is on the rise.

    Andy – 2002 IU Alum

  • Pete

    While I agree that many of the students may want to get tickets again next year, the bigger question is will they still be able to get tickets from the previous allottment!

    My guess is that while trying to cajole students into buying tickets was such a complete fiasco this year that they may simply opt to reduce the allottment and sell some of these tickets to alumni and the general public.

    I have to imagine that Tom Crean was disappointed that with his urging they waited till the first game to release these tickets resulting in way too many tickets going unsold.

    Economically, it would have been better to sell these tickets early in the fall to the public and then if some opted not to show up- at least the gate attendence numbers would not be so pathetic.

  • Pete

    While I agree that many of the students may want to get tickets again next year, the bigger question is will they still be able to get tickets from the previous allottment!

    My guess is that while trying to cajole students into buying tickets was such a complete fiasco this year that they may simply opt to reduce the allottment and sell some of these tickets to alumni and the general public.

    I have to imagine that Tom Crean was disappointed that with his urging they waited till the first game to release these tickets resulting in way too many tickets going unsold.

    Economically, it would have been better to sell these tickets early in the fall to the public and then if some opted not to show up- at least the gate attendence numbers would not be so pathetic.

  • tberry

    Many supposed fans are not really fans at all. They are just posers that want to be associated with success. When IU is successful they want to be seen as part of that success. When IU is losing they stay away so that no one will think they are also losers.

    It has always been true that if you win they will come but if you lose they will not. IU Football is another stellar example.

  • tberry

    Many supposed fans are not really fans at all. They are just posers that want to be associated with success. When IU is successful they want to be seen as part of that success. When IU is losing they stay away so that no one will think they are also losers.

    It has always been true that if you win they will come but if you lose they will not. IU Football is another stellar example.

  • http://rumorsandrants.com McD

    If the people not buying tickets aren't really major fans in the first place, does that mean you're telling us there are only about 13K people who will support IU no matter what? And on a per-game basis, does that mean there are only about 5,000-8,000 students (out of a 20-30K-ish size student body) who will support IU no matter what? Sounds like fairweather fandom to me.

    Attendance was only 15,626 for the Penn State game, according to the team's website tonight. On $5 ticket night. But hey, at least there was a decent bump. I probably should have mentioned I can't really blame people who bought season tickets and didn't show because they saw their seats are in the high end of the balcony or the highest rows underneath the balcony. Those are some horrible-ass seats.

    BUT, the fact that even this game didn't sell out and they had to put on a cheap ticket promotion in the first place speaks to the fact that the IU fanbase is more like the other average fan bases like Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan and unlike the above-average fanbases like Duke and UNC. All along, IU fans have deluded themselves into thinking we were part of the latter instead of the former. Guess we're not. So I'm not really mad, I suppose, just disappointed.

    You argue there are many better things to do than watch this team lose. Well, for real fans, especially the students, going to the games tends to trump the awful BTN broadcast, or anything else, for that matter. Where is the commitment? Being a fan is all about loving the team because they're YOUR team, and you support them no matter what. It's akin (though only metaphorically) to having a kid who's a troublemaker but is still your kid.

    And whining about $220 when it's always been possible to put the tickets on one's bursar bill (unless that changed in the last couple of years), thus using student loans or other funding to pay for them? Not to mention the fact that the average college student is more affluent on average than ever before (you did mention a college freshman having his “portfolio” killed)? Come on.

    Didn't mean to make you swoon with my strong language, either. I apologize.

  • http://rumorsandrants.com McD

    If the people not buying tickets aren't really major fans in the first place, does that mean you're telling us there are only about 13K people who will support IU no matter what? And on a per-game basis, does that mean there are only about 5,000-8,000 students (out of a 20-30K-ish size student body) who will support IU no matter what? Sounds like fairweather fandom to me.

    Attendance was only 15,626 for the Penn State game, according to the team's website tonight. On $5 ticket night. But hey, at least there was a decent bump. I probably should have mentioned I can't really blame people who bought season tickets and didn't show because they saw their seats are in the high end of the balcony or the highest rows underneath the balcony. Those are some horrible-ass seats.

    BUT, the fact that even this game didn't sell out and they had to put on a cheap ticket promotion in the first place speaks to the fact that the IU fanbase is more like the other average fan bases like Illinois, Iowa, and Michigan and unlike the above-average fanbases like Duke and UNC. All along, IU fans have deluded themselves into thinking we were part of the latter instead of the former. Guess we're not. So I'm not really mad, I suppose, just disappointed.

    You argue there are many better things to do than watch this team lose. Well, for real fans, especially the students, going to the games tends to trump the awful BTN broadcast, or anything else, for that matter. Where is the commitment? Being a fan is all about loving the team because they're YOUR team, and you support them no matter what. It's akin (though only metaphorically) to having a kid who's a troublemaker but is still your kid.

    And whining about $220 when it's always been possible to put the tickets on one's bursar bill (unless that changed in the last couple of years), thus using student loans or other funding to pay for them? Not to mention the fact that the average college student is more affluent on average than ever before (you did mention a college freshman having his “portfolio” killed)? Come on.

    Didn't mean to make you swoon with my strong language, either. I apologize.

  • http://mouthpiecesports.com/blog Eamonn

    First of all, equating Illinois' fan base with Iowa's is silly. Iowa can't fill a student section to save their lives. Illinois kids have to fundraise just for the chance to get student tickets, and their entire stadium is sold out and cloaked in bright orange every single game. I hate me some Illinois, but it's hard to call their fan base “average”; it's nowhere near as awful as Iowa's.

    Second: The whole point of Ryan's piece, or at least part of it, was to drive home the idea that most students are fairweather fans. Most students aren't going to sit in the balcony to watch IU play Penn State in the middle of the day on Saturday, nor are most IU students going to buy season tickets, $220 or not. Think about the percentages here. If there are 36,000 undergrads at IU, and Assembly Hall seats about 8,000 students, that's only a fraction of the student population that even has an interest in season tickets in the first place. When the team is horrible, you're going to lose a fraction of the latter group around the margins.

    Complaining about “real fandom” or “supporting the team through thick and thin” or whatever else is nice. It makes emotional sense, especially to people like us, who spend time blogging about sports. Clearly, we care. But everyone else is a swing voter, and there isn't a single student section in the country that wouldn't experience similar loss if their team was playing at roughly the level of IPFW. It's just reality.

    Oh, and to plenty of students, $220 is $220, whether you pay for it now or in five years. That's not cheap to most people, least of all people who are, say, working themselves through school, or at the very least have to work part time for their spending money. Not everyone can get Mom and Dad to plunk for basketball tickets, strange as that may seem.

  • http://mouthpiecesports.com/blog Eamonn

    First of all, equating Illinois' fan base with Iowa's is silly. Iowa can't fill a student section to save their lives. Illinois kids have to fundraise just for the chance to get student tickets, and their entire stadium is sold out and cloaked in bright orange every single game. I hate me some Illinois, but it's hard to call their fan base “average”; it's nowhere near as awful as Iowa's.

    Second: The whole point of Ryan's piece, or at least part of it, was to drive home the idea that most students are fairweather fans. Most students aren't going to sit in the balcony to watch IU play Penn State in the middle of the day on Saturday, nor are most IU students going to buy season tickets, $220 or not. Think about the percentages here. If there are 36,000 undergrads at IU, and Assembly Hall seats about 8,000 students, that's only a fraction of the student population that even has an interest in season tickets in the first place. When the team is horrible, you're going to lose a fraction of the latter group around the margins.

    Complaining about “real fandom” or “supporting the team through thick and thin” or whatever else is nice. It makes emotional sense, especially to people like us, who spend time blogging about sports. Clearly, we care. But everyone else is a swing voter, and there isn't a single student section in the country that wouldn't experience similar loss if their team was playing at roughly the level of IPFW. It's just reality.

    Oh, and to plenty of students, $220 is $220, whether you pay for it now or in five years. That's not cheap to most people, least of all people who are, say, working themselves through school, or at the very least have to work part time for their spending money. Not everyone can get Mom and Dad to plunk for basketball tickets, strange as that may seem.

  • http://rumorsandrants.com Hick Flick

    Indeed, all five of us went to school in Bloomington. We also built the city on rock and roll.

  • http://rumorsandrants.com Hick Flick

    Indeed, all five of us went to school in Bloomington. We also built the city on rock and roll.

  • http://rumorsandrants.com Hick Flick

    Not only did all five of us go to school in Bloomington, but we also built the city on rock and roll.

  • http://rumorsandrants.com Hick Flick

    Indeed, all five of us went to school in Bloomington. We also built the city on rock and roll.

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