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  • Declining Attendance (A poll and discussion)

    So I thought this would be good for some message board fodder and discussion.

    Haslam brought that declining attendance was one of the issues that prompted the coaching change.

    In a perfect world, that is a reasonable claim to make. However, displeasure with Stitt doesn't seem to make sense as the primary reason for declining attendence. Some of the underlying issues that I have heard from fans over the past few years seem to chip away at the coaching narrative. I think Bobby brings people back, but there are some chronic non coaching things at play here.

    Here are some of the issues that have been brought up to me over the past couple of years anecdotally that seem have some legs,

    1. Older fan base. I know this one first hand. When Wa-Griz opened in 86, the fan base was late to middle aged and while it has been cycled through a bunch, the fan base has gotten older and older. Those people who have sat around where my parents have sat for 30 years haven't been replaced by 30 somethings but rather by people who are closer to their age.

    I don't think those in their 30's and younger are as invested in Grizzly athletics as my generation and older are. I had heard some demographic numbers a few years ago, and there is a boomer bubble element to the crowd and it isn't as severe as it was, but the crowd trends a lot older than it is younger.


    2. Money/Travel/Technology. I know a lot of people who have chosen to not renew because it doesn't make sense for them to outlay a 1,000 bucks a year for tickets they might end up using half of the time. When I was living near great falls, it used to be a caravan to Missoula of Griz fans on Saturday mornings. I know many of those people don't make the trip anymore, because of the general expense of Griz games. Is that 5% or 20% of the decline of attendance, I don't know.

    But non-league games and odd time games are beginning to look at lot like BSU games. A lot of people don't make the trip, because scheduling or desire they don't fill their seats for a game, or a season. Probably only a 1/3 or BSU games are sell outs, and it is more and more apparent that many are forgoing the trip to Missoula than they did a decade ago.

    As the crowd ages, like my parents, they have to make some considerations about whether it makes sense to outlay that money. The ticket prices for their seats are twice to three times more expensive than they were 10 or 15 years ago (includes GSA membership prices).

    For those living in reaches away from Missoula, I think the technology thing plays a role. Again, whether that number was in excess of 1-2,000 tickets, whether they fill them or sell them, but I know a number of people have voiced (again how frequent I do not know) to make the choice not to make the drive because they can see it on TV. This especially true when you have a super soft home schedule with few 'winners' on the schedule. Games used to sell out in regularity, but some have lost the incentive to sit in the bleachers.

    3. Product: Less about the in game experience, but rather all the other amenities. I don't know how much I buy this one, but I have heard it a bunch. This one might matter more to the social element than the die-hard guys and gals, but there is a feeling of 'minor-league' or 'stale' that comes to mind. People want more and expect more for what they are paying and there was a bit of a frustration expressed about pocketing money, of subsidizing other elements. For the beer consuming crowd, who knows, but people aren't as excited about the event than they used to be. Monty and his Motorcycle used to be enough. Smokejumpers, flyovers, or whatever it might be, but apparently people might expect major league event and productions versus some third rate bush league rookie level stuff.

    Maybe this is about the fickleness or flightyness of Griz fans, but football isn't enough. I dunno, like I said I have heard this enough to believe it merits a conversation.

    Poll Question:
    If you were to levy a concern outside of on the field product, where would your concern lie? Or if you were to explain the decline, what do you believe has the most credence. I have provided three options that I have most commonly heard over the past few years.
    6
    Who(m) Attends (Millenials, Boomers, Social v. Football)
    0%
    0
    Cost/Travel/Value (Product)
    100.00%
    6
    Technology/TV
    0%
    0
    Other (please state in response)
    0%
    0

    The poll is expired.


  • #2
    Originally posted by Grizfan-24 View Post
    So I thought this would be good for some message board fodder and discussion.

    Haslam brought that declining attendance was one of the issues that prompted the coaching change.

    In a perfect world, that is a reasonable claim to make. However, displeasure with Stitt doesn't seem to make sense as the primary reason for declining attendence. Some of the underlying issues that I have heard from fans over the past few years seem to chip away at the coaching narrative. I think Bobby brings people back, but there are some chronic non coaching things at play here.

    Here are some of the issues that have been brought up to me over the past couple of years anecdotally that seem have some legs,

    1. Older fan base. I know this one first hand. When Wa-Griz opened in 86, the fan base was late to middle aged and while it has been cycled through a bunch, the fan base has gotten older and older. Those people who have sat around where my parents have sat for 30 years haven't been replaced by 30 somethings but rather by people who are closer to their age.

    I don't think those in their 30's and younger are as invested in Grizzly athletics as my generation and older are. I had heard some demographic numbers a few years ago, and there is a boomer bubble element to the crowd and it isn't as severe as it was, but the crowd trends a lot older than it is younger.


    2. Money/Travel/Technology. I know a lot of people who have chosen to not renew because it doesn't make sense for them to outlay a 1,000 bucks a year for tickets they might end up using half of the time. When I was living near great falls, it used to be a caravan to Missoula of Griz fans on Saturday mornings. I know many of those people don't make the trip anymore, because of the general expense of Griz games. Is that 5% or 20% of the decline of attendance, I don't know.

    But non-league games and odd time games are beginning to look at lot like BSU games. A lot of people don't make the trip, because scheduling or desire they don't fill their seats for a game, or a season. Probably only a 1/3 or BSU games are sell outs, and it is more and more apparent that many are forgoing the trip to Missoula than they did a decade ago.

    As the crowd ages, like my parents, they have to make some considerations about whether it makes sense to outlay that money. The ticket prices for their seats are twice to three times more expensive than they were 10 or 15 years ago (includes GSA membership prices).

    For those living in reaches away from Missoula, I think the technology thing plays a role. Again, whether that number was in excess of 1-2,000 tickets, whether they fill them or sell them, but I know a number of people have voiced (again how frequent I do not know) to make the choice not to make the drive because they can see it on TV. This especially true when you have a super soft home schedule with few 'winners' on the schedule. Games used to sell out in regularity, but some have lost the incentive to sit in the bleachers.

    3. Product: Less about the in game experience, but rather all the other amenities. I don't know how much I buy this one, but I have heard it a bunch. This one might matter more to the social element than the die-hard guys and gals, but there is a feeling of 'minor-league' or 'stale' that comes to mind. People want more and expect more for what they are paying and there was a bit of a frustration expressed about pocketing money, of subsidizing other elements. For the beer consuming crowd, who knows, but people aren't as excited about the event than they used to be. Monty and his Motorcycle used to be enough. Smokejumpers, flyovers, or whatever it might be, but apparently people might expect major league event and productions versus some third rate bush league rookie level stuff.

    Maybe this is about the fickleness or flightyness of Griz fans, but football isn't enough. I dunno, like I said I have heard this enough to believe it merits a conversation.

    Poll Question:
    If you were to levy a concern outside of on the field product, where would your concern lie? Or if you were to explain the decline, what do you believe has the most credence. I have provided three options that I have most commonly heard over the past few years.
    I have no issues with any of your points, except to say that there are two types of Griz fans, as there are with any college football program. The first are the die-hard fans, who will never desert their team and always look to next season as the one in which their hallowed boys finally rise to meet their expectations, no matter how poorly the last season was.

    The second type of fans are the ones we are losing. I believe that many within this group like to attend because "it is the thing to do" on a Saturday afternoon. It is the "place to be, and to be seen". So, when a significant portion of this fan base erodes slowly over a few years, the event does not have the same "sexiness" as it did before. The tailgating was an event within itself during the glory years, with revelers all the way to the mouth of Hellgate canyon, and throngs of fans milling around for 2-3 hours prior to the game. Now, the tailgating is a mere shell of what it used to be.

    It is a "synergy thing", and once that synergy becomes a negative trend, it is very difficult to get it back. And, it can return, but it will take years of team success, as well as re-vamping the ancillary products surrounding the game.

    Comment


    • #3
      I agree with both posts. For me, when we were younger, we simply planned our fall weekends around the Griz. However, as our kids got older, and got into sports themselves, those certainly took priority. Fortunately, my kids' sports lasted longer than high school, so we had about a 9 year window where we bought our tickets, but ended up selling them or simply not using them. A funny thing happened during that time. We rediscovered other things to do. Griz games also went to high definition TV. We got older, and less willing to sit out in shitty weather when we can watch on TV (especially Mrs. Grizpack).

      I am not sure that cost has had that much of an effect. It is expensive to go to these games, but it always has been, even when we were packing the house every week. I actually think the University has done a good job of keeping the price relatively stable the past few years.

      Finally, I agree that the fan base is getting older. This affects attendance in 3 ways. First, people are less willing to put up with the crowds, cold, etc., as they get older. Second, the younger generation, who should be replacing the older fans are part of the "instant gratification", "life is about technology" society. They would rather be on their phones, than hanging out at a game. Finally, the Griz fan base is simply incredibly spoiled. Those of us who have some grey hair still remember when you celebrated a winning season. Hell, I still remember when we celebrated a win! Now, unless the Griz go 10-1, and get to the chipper, fans are pissed.

      I am not sure how we resolve any of these items. I agree that winning will solve some of it. But attendance is a problem across the board, not with just the Griz. With the exception of a few programs like some SEC teams, Nebraska, Michigan, Ohio State, a few NFL teams, and probably NDSU, I don't think anyone is selling out their stadiums for every game. And even for those programs, there is a discrepancy between tickets sold, and butts in the seats.

      I also think scheduling has played a part in this. Unfortunately for Ken, some of the contests that had been scheduled for quite a while have fallen through, as some teams have moved up. Those contests have, out of necessity, been replaced by opponents that are not nearly as attractive to most fans. Most of us want McNeese, App St., NDSU, NIU, and JMU, rather than Adams State.

      I don't envy Kent, as he goes about trying to solve this problem. As Hogan said several years ago, we have a "cash cow". The problem is that the cash cow has a voracious appetite that has to be fed every year....

      Comment


      • #4
        Coming from the eastern part of the State, it really has to do with money and the on field product for me. I never miss watching or listening to a game. It is still an event that many of us get together for on Saturdays or go to the local watering hole. The difference is we will not necessarily make the trip when the expectation is that the team is floundering. That is the monetary decision. It has been well chronicled the expense involved. If the team is in the hunt or expectations are that we are contenders, then we want to be there and be a part of it. When the team is looking at 6-5 or 7-4 season, then it does become a monetary decision. Then it's we will pick a game to go to and call it good for the year. I don't think it is fair to say we are bandwagoners. Anyone who knows me, knows I bleed maroon. It's just when a trip costs $1,000.00, a weekend and a day missing work, I then decide maybe I can have a few buddies over for the afternoon at the cost of $150.00.
        It really pisses me off by the way, that some that live in Missoula have made disparaging remarks about the fair-weather fans. Easy for them to say when they live fifteen minutes away and don't have to put the investment up for each game.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by glendivegriz View Post
          Coming from the eastern part of the State, it really has to do with money and the on field product for me. I never miss watching or listening to a game. It is still an event that many of us get together for on Saturdays or go to the local watering hole. The difference is we will not necessarily make the trip when the expectation is that the team is floundering. That is the monetary decision. It has been well chronicled the expense involved. If the team is in the hunt or expectations are that we are contenders, then we want to be there and be a part of it. When the team is looking at 6-5 or 7-4 season, then it does become a monetary decision. Then it's we will pick a game to go to and call it good for the year. I don't think it is fair to say we are bandwagoners. Anyone who knows me, knows I bleed maroon. It's just when a trip costs $1,000.00, a weekend and a day missing work, I then decide maybe I can have a few buddies over for the afternoon at the cost of $150.00.
          It really pisses me off by the way, that some that live in Missoula have made disparaging remarks about the fair-weather fans. Easy for them to say when they live fifteen minutes away and don't have to put the investment up for each game.
          As a Missoulian, I'm fairly certain those "fair-weather fan" remarks are aimed at mostly those fair weather fans that reside in or around the greater Missoula area. I don't believe it is a shot at those that travel more than an hour or so. At least, that is how it is in my experience.

          Comment


          • #6
            If you put a quality product on the field all the other things don't matter. Right now Montana doesn't have the product so people won't go watch

            Comment


            • #7
              I’m with you. Always go with the simplest explanation....

              Comment


              • #8
                All of those things are a factor for people out there.. sometimes it's multiple factors for people.. I understand Glendive's point.. it's a financial commitment and a long ass drive. The couple in front of me comes from Havre, that's a long frickin' drive in the winter, but they still do it.. but they won't do it forever, I suppose. Look at student attendance.. been down for a number of years. Why go to the game when you hang in your dorm and drink with your buddies and hope the RA doesn't come knocking. I tell you what though, those two September burners against SSU and Valpo, those were miserable days in the stadium.. watching two really bad teams in that heat. Almost a hard pass.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MrTitleist View Post
                  All of those things are a factor for people out there.. sometimes it's multiple factors for people.. I understand Glendive's point.. it's a financial commitment and a long ass drive. The couple in front of me comes from Havre, that's a long frickin' drive in the winter, but they still do it.. but they won't do it forever, I suppose. Look at student attendance.. been down for a number of years. Why go to the game when you hang in your dorm and drink with your buddies and hope the RA doesn't come knocking. I tell you what though, those two September burners against SSU and Valpo, those were miserable days in the stadium.. watching two really bad teams in that heat. Almost a hard pass.
                  Wait... What.. You can't drink in the dorms now???

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by grizpack View Post

                    Wait... What.. You can't drink in the dorms now???
                    I have no idea. I didn't go to school here. At UW we had it down to a science. We almost got caught beer bonging by our RA who suspected something was up, knocked on our door, came in to "borrow a movie" and left.. that was our queue to high tail it to the dorm across the lawn.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I don't remember much about my first year of college here, but pretty sure we could drink in the dorms. Hence my inability to remember much about my 1st year at UM......

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        When I went to the U, you could - as long as you were 21. Not sure if that was an "official" rule or not though. I dunno UM's alcohol on premises policy and I'm too lazy to google it.

                        Comment

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