Jay Drew from the Salt Lake Tribune released various reasons as to why BYU Basketball has seen attendance down this year, but the main reason may be more obvious than you think.
As a journalist I respect good journalism and Jay Drew recently released a very in-depth study of why the average BYU Basketball attendance is down nearly 2,500 this season. The article is really well written and here is the link to it.
However, although the reasons are valid and undoubtedly factors in the drop, the biggest factor has more to with when the games are and winning, and less about weather or smartphones.
Here are the three main reasons why attendance is down this season:
The big games are at TERRIBLE times
Although Drew was correct on the idea of being able to watch the game while doing anything because of smartphones, a big issue has been the times of the games. This season, the Cougars have played at home at TERRIBLE times, particularly in the big games. Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s were BOTH played on Thursday nights at 9:00PM MST. Most people have work on Friday morning, not to mention you have to get your five year old to kindergarten, so you can’t really bring the kids to a game that late. In case you haven’t noticed, BYU fans have a lot of kids which take up quite a few tickets. In other words, getting home at midnight or later is not exactly what you would call ideal.
Other big games, Utah State, San Fransisco, and Utah Valley took place on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Granted if BYU was winning all their games and were ranked, fans would find ways to get to the games, but with an average season it can be a bit more tough to fill the seats, both the ROC and normal seats.
In fact, most of the games are at terrible times, except the less intriguing ones
Only five out the fifteen homes games have or will be played on Saturday, and the only good team out of those five was Houston. The next best team will be San Diego. The other teams are Santa Clara, Pacific and Loyola Marymount.
Last season, BYU Basketball played nine out of their sixteen home games on a Saturday. Some of those games included Gonzaga (6PM), Saint Mary’s (2PM), and rival Utah (9PM). When you have that combination, it is obvious that the amount of fans showing up to the games is going to be higher than a year like this one.
Oh yeah, that Houston game that was mentioned earlier as the only big Saturday home game this season was played on the same day as the BYU vs Utah football game, so yeah…there’s that.
People pay money to watch a team win
Unfortunately for BYU Basketball, some of their biggest games that would normall draw big crowds are happening after a tough stretch for the Cougars. For example, the Utah State game which would normally bring in large crowds was coming off of a three game losing streak. The WCC home opener also tends to bring in more fans for BYU, but again the Cougars were coming off span of going 1-3. Also, just in general, a very real percentage of fans checked out after the 9-8 start by BYU. As Drew mentions in his article the season ticket sales haven’t gone down, but those are normally not the kind of fans who check out after a rough start.
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Again, Jay Drew brought up some good points and there have been some issues such as snow and other bad weather that would leave fans from coming, but at the end it isn’t a complicated equation.
When you start the season at 9-8, play most of your home games during the week, and play all of your big games during the week late at night, it can be expected that attendance would go down by about 2,500.