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Alton
06-04-2013, 12:44 PM
OK, going from $84 to $75 in two cities that I'd assume are fairly similar (Toledo's metropolitan area is probably a bit bigger). The level of competition is comparable. Must be atmosphere that is the problem where tickets can't be sold.

I think it's not so much the "atmosphere" as the fact that people won't fly (or spend the night in a hotel room) for regionals, and fans might spend $75 to root for their favorite team twice but locals won't spend that kind of money to watch teams when they don't have a rooting interest.

WiscDC
06-04-2013, 01:25 PM
I think it's not so much the "atmosphere" as the fact that people won't fly (or spend the night in a hotel room) for regionals, and fans might spend $75 to root for their favorite team twice but locals won't spend that kind of money to watch teams when they don't have a rooting interest.

This gets overlooked too often. Fans are much more likely to buy tickets if a team they follow is involved, despite the population (and population of hockey fans) in an area. I think it was earlier in this thread, but I'm not sure - there were people here talking about Hockey East attendance, and it was all about how near Boston, there are several options available, and it seemed like everyone treated it as if half the fans at the games don't care about either team. (e.g. Someone would/should just as soon go to a BC game as a Harvard game, disregarding allegiances.)

Anyway, my point is that you're relying on the fan bases of the teams for the bulk of the attendance, not local people who may be interested. Ticket prices aren't as much of an issue as travel costs (and time).

FlagDUDE08
06-04-2013, 01:52 PM
This gets overlooked too often. Fans are much more likely to buy tickets if a team they follow is involved, despite the population (and population of hockey fans) in an area. I think it was earlier in this thread, but I'm not sure - there were people here talking about Hockey East attendance, and it was all about how near Boston, there are several options available, and it seemed like everyone treated it as if half the fans at the games don't care about either team. (e.g. Someone would/should just as soon go to a BC game as a Harvard game, disregarding allegiances.)

Anyway, my point is that you're relying on the fan bases of the teams for the bulk of the attendance, not local people who may be interested. Ticket prices aren't as much of an issue as travel costs (and time).

One thing to also remember, and this is not just in the case of hockey, is that it's not just students supporting the team; you also have community involvement. So many times we see parents taking their 7-12-year-olds to the games, and they're not going to travel with the team to other locations (unless you're a REAL podunk town in which case it might happen).

WiscDC
06-04-2013, 02:15 PM
One thing to also remember, and this is not just in the case of hockey, is that it's not just students supporting the team; you also have community involvement. So many times we see parents taking their 7-12-year-olds to the games, and they're not going to travel with the team to other locations (unless you're a REAL podunk town in which case it might happen).

I wasn't forgetting the fans in the community. Travel issues apply to them as well, as they'd be based in the area of the school. The hardcore fans may find it worth it to go to the Frozen Four if their team is in it, but will stick to watching the regionals on TV.

MarkEagleUSA
06-04-2013, 05:11 PM
Ticket prices aren't as much of an issue as travel costs (and time).Obviously, with Quinnipiac this year, I was going wherever they went just because it was such a great season.

Well, after the ECAC's in Atlantic City, the Providence regional, and the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh, my wallet was well over a grand lighter... and I travelled to all 3 places alone. Hotel's, meals, travel costs... tickets ended up being the least costly items. I'd do it again in a heartbeat, but only if the Q is there. I can see myself attending another FF, but not a regional (except maybe Bridgeport since it's close enough to drive). The non-hockey costs are just too much.

FlagDUDE08
06-04-2013, 06:16 PM
Obviously, with Quinnipiac this year, I was going wherever they went just because it was such a great season.

Well, after the ECAC's in Atlantic City, the Providence regional, and the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh, my wallet was well over a grand lighter... and I travelled to all 3 places alone. Hotel's, meals, travel costs... tickets ended up being the least costly items. I'd do it again in a heartbeat, but only if the Q is there. I can see myself attending another FF, but not a regional (except maybe Bridgeport since it's close enough to drive). The non-hockey costs are just too much.

True that. As much as I enjoy my trips to the west, I'd probably only go to a regional if it were held at the War Memorial. And even then, probably only if RPI were in it. It does get a bit insane on the costs, although I really enjoy the driving journey.

CLS
06-04-2013, 08:15 PM
Obviously, with Quinnipiac this year, I was going wherever they went just because it was such a great season.

Well, after the ECAC's in Atlantic City, the Providence regional, and the Frozen Four in Pittsburgh, my wallet was well over a grand lighter... and I travelled to all 3 places alone. Hotel's, meals, travel costs... tickets ended up being the least costly items. I'd do it again in a heartbeat, but only if the Q is there. I can see myself attending another FF, but not a regional (except maybe Bridgeport since it's close enough to drive). The non-hockey costs are just too much.Just curious -- if you're going to skip one, why not skip the ECAC tournament instead of the regional? I don't have a rooting interest in a specific team. I generally attend either the Hockey East tournament or the regional, but not both. If I can commute to the regional, I prefer that to the conference tournament because I get to see teams I don't ordinarily see.


Anyway, my point is that you're relying on the fan bases of the teams for the bulk of the attendance, not local people who may be interested. Ticket prices aren't as much of an issue as travel costs (and time). Many people have suggested lower ticket prices as a way to increase attendance. I think that the venues know, or at least believe, that for the ticket prices to be low enough to attract significant local attendance, the overall gate would be less because now you're selling cheap tickets to people who'd be willing to pay more.


I wasn't forgetting the fans in the community. Travel issues apply to them as well, as they'd be based in the area of the school. The hardcore fans may find it worth it to go to the Frozen Four if their team is in it, but will stick to watching the regionals on TV. One potential problem with moving the first round to home rinks is losing TV coverage. Instead of four predetermined locations, you would have eight locations that are determined at the last minute, some of which may not be suitable for TV.

FlagDUDE08
06-05-2013, 08:56 AM
Just curious -- if you're going to skip one, why not skip the ECAC tournament instead of the regional? I don't have a rooting interest in a specific team. I generally attend either the Hockey East tournament or the regional, but not both. If I can commute to the regional, I prefer that to the conference tournament because I get to see teams I don't ordinarily see.

Many people have suggested lower ticket prices as a way to increase attendance. I think that the venues know, or at least believe, that for the ticket prices to be low enough to attract significant local attendance, the overall gate would be less because now you're selling cheap tickets to people who'd be willing to pay more.

One potential problem with moving the first round to home rinks is losing TV coverage. Instead of four predetermined locations, you would have eight locations that are determined at the last minute, some of which may not be suitable for TV.

One thing that is forgotten is that the amount taken in by a venue is a combination of many factors. An arena will lower their ticket prices, but make up for it by selling concessions and apparel. Obviously sell what people want, such as alcohol and nachos. With the NCAA, alcohol isn't possible, so you've lost about half of your concessions. Yes, I understand they sell other things. So how do you make up the money? You pretty much have to raise the ticket prices.

CLS
06-05-2013, 10:46 AM
One thing that is forgotten is that the amount taken in by a venue is a combination of many factors. An arena will lower their ticket prices, but make up for it by selling concessions and apparel. Obviously sell what people want, such as alcohol and nachos. With the NCAA, alcohol isn't possible, so you've lost about half of your concessions. Yes, I understand they sell other things. So how do you make up the money? You pretty much have to raise the ticket prices.Yes, it's quite complicated, which is one reason I hesitate to be too critical of the venues (or the NCAA, or a combination of the NCAA and the venues, whichever it is) for keeping the ticket prices where they are. From my point of view, based on the quality of the product compared to, say, the conference tournaments or even a normal hockey game, the ticket prices are quite fair. I also know that I always buy memorabilia at the FF, but I never buy memorabilia at regionals. And since the regionals are a "budget" outing for me that I commute to, I'm probably going to buy only enough food to keep me from starving, and I wouldn't drink much beer even if it were available.

It also makes me wonder why the NCAA can get bids in the west at all. Evidently, they make money hosting regionals, or they wouldn't continue to do it. Grand Rapids has hosted many regionals. A combination of things this year (like no Michigan teams) resulted in an attendance disaster this year. Did they lose money? Will they bid for regionals in the future, figuring this was a "worst case scenario" year? Will Toledo ever bid again?

Rover
06-05-2013, 12:12 PM
Yes, it's quite complicated, which is one reason I hesitate to be too critical of the venues (or the NCAA, or a combination of the NCAA and the venues, whichever it is) for keeping the ticket prices where they are. From my point of view, based on the quality of the product compared to, say, the conference tournaments or even a normal hockey game, the ticket prices are quite fair. I also know that I always buy memorabilia at the FF, but I never buy memorabilia at regionals. And since the regionals are a "budget" outing for me that I commute to, I'm probably going to buy only enough food to keep me from starving, and I wouldn't drink much beer even if it were available.

It also makes me wonder why the NCAA can get bids in the west at all. Evidently, they make money hosting regionals, or they wouldn't continue to do it. Grand Rapids has hosted many regionals. A combination of things this year (like no Michigan teams) resulted in an attendance disaster this year. Did they lose money? Will they bid for regionals in the future, figuring this was a "worst case scenario" year? Will Toledo ever bid again?

I don't see the big problem here either. So of the 4 regionals 1 tends to not work too well. Because of that I'd rather not blow up the entire system. As you say, somebody's making money on this since the games are televised and arenas are bigging to host the events.

My view is that the onus is on the host school to get their own fans to the venue. If you can't do that don't host the event. If that means extra costs of busing people there or purchasing tickets and then discounting them for your own fans so be it. You can have co-hosts if needed to better ensure at least one team with a local presence will make the tournament.

Its similar to how football bowls work. Awhile back a local team that shall remain nameless (BC) was complaining about getting worse bowl bids than teams with lesser records. Their AD in a fit of honesty confessed that the problem was the fans don't travel. A good bowl required a 12K committment from a school, and for optics/concessions/economic impact they wanted actual butts in the seats. BC would only bring about 4K and had the $$$ to purchase the rest but it would have been 8,000 empty seats. Request denied.

So with the regionals if Michigan wants to host Grand Rapids, BU in Worcester, Robert Morris on Pittsburgh, Denver in Denver, etc they should commit to bringing around 5K people to the game depending on the venue. No that won't fill up the arena and yes that will be problematic if no local schools make it but that's the chance you take. When I was a student the school would do a lot to get the fans out to the FF (hotel rooms, flights, tix, etc). By 2009 they did none of that and called me two days before the game to tell me they had tickets for me after all (I'd been a season ticket holder for 15 years at the time). That's not going to cut it, but this plan forces athletic departments to step up their game a little bit.

FredDavenport
06-05-2013, 06:57 PM
I've said it before, etc...

The NCAA doesn't care about attendance much, as long as the TV money/national exposure exists. Witness all the empty seats at hoops Regionals (which I've seen first-hand a few times) , while the NCAA nevertheless rakes in the dough hand-over-fist via TV for that tournament as a whole.

Same deal for hockey, albeit on a much smaller scale... As long as ESPN is paying to show the games, the gate is irrelevant to them, as it should be.

In this age of all-encompassing media-coverage (watching games on your friggin' phone, for example), fannies in the seats mean less and less. The Super Bowl could be played in an empty stadium this year, and the NFL would still derive a billion bucks from it.

Worrying about physical attendance is a little silly, in light of that fact... And gifting lower seeds home-ice is a worse idea than ever, all things considered. There is just no cogent reason for it.

Glad you are not an athletics or TV administrator: "The NCAA doesn't care about attendance"; "As long as ESPN is paying to show the games, the gate is irrelevant to them, as it should be.
"

Good Luck with your career in marketing athletic administration and TV ratings

CLS
06-05-2013, 07:46 PM
Rover, I agree with almost everything you said. The only slight disagreement I have is that I think it should be the venue’s responsibility to get fans there, not the host school’s. The role of the host school is pretty limited; they just provide some logistical support. I think Holy Cross, not BU, has been sponsoring the last few Worcester regionals, and they certainly don’t expect to make the tournament often, and certainly can’t be expected to bring 5k fans to the event. The venues have the marketing expertise and they are the ones taking the risk.

The reason that I like the current system is that home ice in a one game elimination is so critical. And I don’t like awarding so crucial an advantage based on a deeply flawed system (which, however flawed, is still better than the smoke filled room for determining the tournament field) that, even if it weren’t logically or statistically flawed, yields flawed results because of the insular and unbalanced home/away schedules teams have.

But we’re both in the east, where the current setup works reasonably well from an attendance standpoint. And I recognize that my viewpoint, which favors neutral venues rather over “atmosphere” isn’t for everybody. There are some long time attendees and posters I respect, like pgb and Alton, for whom atmosphere is much more important, who care about the game, and who’ve actually attended some of those regionals, and whose enjoyment was affected by the crowds, or lack of them.

Netman
06-05-2013, 09:50 PM
I am willing to bet if they lower prices more people will go.

hockeyplayer1015
06-06-2013, 12:56 AM
Those of you wanting 30-45 minutes or whatever it is between games, that will never happen unless they change the rules pertaining to pregame time. Currently, pregame is 60 minutes, and they have it outlined to the minute when teams can take the ice for warm ups, when teams must leave the ice for warm ups, etc.

Fishman'81
06-06-2013, 01:27 AM
[QUOTE=FredDavenport;5736013]Glad you are not an athletics or TV administrator: "The NCAA doesn't care about attendance"; "As long as ESPN is paying to show the games, the gate is irrelevant to them, as it should be.

I have no interest in marketing anything... Marketing takes care of itself if the product holds water,and college hockey seems to have found its niche.

I've been a fan of the sport for 35 years, and it's been a mere 10 years or so during which nearly every Regional game has been televised. That's a huge step-up from the many previous years, when all the nation got to see was the FF, or even only the NC game.

Sorry to repeat myself on this point, but no one seems to be taking it seriously: March Madness Regionals are quite often played in half-empty venues, yet the tournamaent as a whole rakes in $2.75 gazillion each and every year... From any reasonable perspective, the TV money is the cat's meow.

Just as an aside, Alton's suggestion that the four top seeds host on-campus works for me... But I sure as can be don't want to see lower seeds get the gift of playing at Yost/Mariucci, eg. just for the sake of a few more people showing-up. There is never any justification for siting games unfairly, just for the sake of the gate.

matt
06-06-2013, 09:10 AM
I don't see the big problem here either. So of the 4 regionals 1 tends to not work too well. Because of that I'd rather not blow up the entire system. As you say, somebody's making money on this since the games are televised and arenas are bigging to host the events.

My view is that the onus is on the host school to get their own fans to the venue. If you can't do that don't host the event. If that means extra costs of busing people there or purchasing tickets and then discounting them for your own fans so be it. You can have co-hosts if needed to better ensure at least one team with a local presence will make the tournament.

Its similar to how football bowls work. Awhile back a local team that shall remain nameless (BC) was complaining about getting worse bowl bids than teams with lesser records. Their AD in a fit of honesty confessed that the problem was the fans don't travel. A good bowl required a 12K committment from a school, and for optics/concessions/economic impact they wanted actual butts in the seats. BC would only bring about 4K and had the $$$ to purchase the rest but it would have been 8,000 empty seats. Request denied.

So with the regionals if Michigan wants to host Grand Rapids, BU in Worcester, Robert Morris on Pittsburgh, Denver in Denver, etc they should commit to bringing around 5K people to the game depending on the venue. No that won't fill up the arena and yes that will be problematic if no local schools make it but that's the chance you take. When I was a student the school would do a lot to get the fans out to the FF (hotel rooms, flights, tix, etc). By 2009 they did none of that and called me two days before the game to tell me they had tickets for me after all (I'd been a season ticket holder for 15 years at the time). That's not going to cut it, but this plan forces athletic departments to step up their game a little bit.

I agree in principle, but those numbers just aren't realistic for most schools. There's no way UofM can get 5k to Grand Rapids unless UofM is playing. It's just not going to happen, even if the tickets are free. Fairfield is a co-host with Yale in Bridgeport again next year, and they don't even have a hockey team anymore, The bottom line is that hockey isn't football, and I don't think there's a college in the land that can sell 5k seats without their team being in it.

As for Grand Rapids, yeah, it was a worst case scenario for them. On the other hand, they got the eventual national champion. Possibly next time more people will be interested on a whim, no matter who is playing.

CLS
06-06-2013, 09:17 AM
I've been a fan of the sport for 35 years, and it's been a mere 10 years or so during which nearly every Regional game has been televised. That's a huge step-up from the many previous years, when all the nation got to see was the FF, or even only the NC game.

Yeah, makes for a great weekend, especially since you can DVR. I remember going to the regional in Albany in 2000 (the BU-St. Lawrence game) and trying to find out the results of the Western Regional (only one, this was still the 12 team tournament). It wasn't even in the Albany newspaper the next morning, let alone being televised live or on a few hour delay.


Sorry to repeat myself on this point, but no one seems to be taking it seriously: March Madness Regionals are quite often played in half-empty venues, yet the tournamaent as a whole rakes in $2.75 gazillion each and every year... From any reasonable perspective, the TV money is the cat's meow.Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that the Men's Ice Hockey tournament (including the regionals) makes money for the NCAA, and is the only other tournament to do so. I believe that the NCAA would go to neutral sites for early round games in all sports, but can't afford to.


Just as an aside, Alton's suggestion that the four top seeds host on-campus works for me... But I sure as can be don't want to see lower seeds get the gift of playing at Yost/Mariucci, eg. just for the sake of a few more people showing-up. There is never any justification for siting games unfairly, just for the sake of the gate.Do you mean higher seed getting the gift of playing at Yost/Mariucci? Alton's suggestion would place the game at the higher team's home rink, which would be Yost/Mariucci if Michigan/Minny were the higher seed. And Alton's suggestion would have the eight top seed hosting the first round.

beaverhockeyfan
06-06-2013, 09:35 AM
Haven't read the whole thread, so forgive me if this has been discussed. But it seems to me the biggest opponents of the current system are the "Big Name" schools that as of late have had a hard time getting out of the regionals and moving onto the Frozen Four.

What would have been the uproar in 2010 if home teams hosted the first round? Bemidji State would have hosted Michigan (or Yale if they went by strict seeding) in the ~2400 seat John Glas Fieldhouse. Would have been an awesome atmosphere in Bemidji, but I can see a whole lot of complainers if that would have happened.

Rover
06-06-2013, 09:47 AM
I agree in principle, but those numbers just aren't realistic for most schools. There's no way UofM can get 5k to Grand Rapids unless UofM is playing. It's just not going to happen, even if the tickets are free. Fairfield is a co-host with Yale in Bridgeport again next year, and they don't even have a hockey team anymore, The bottom line is that hockey isn't football, and I don't think there's a college in the land that can sell 5k seats without their team being in it.

As for Grand Rapids, yeah, it was a worst case scenario for them. On the other hand, they got the eventual national champion. Possibly next time more people will be interested on a whim, no matter who is playing.

What I envision particularly with the concept of co-hosts is that one of those schools will be represented in their regional. Perhaps even both. But yes in the event MU and MSU are hosting Grand Rapids and no Michigan team makes it you're going to have a problem.

However what I like is small schools are welcome to host provided they have a rabid fan base that shows up for games. That's the way it ought to be anyway. I have no idea why Holy Cross hosts events like this. They ought to put the time and effort into upgrading the program.

Finally, I think TV is a factor in that coverage got ahead of the growth in the game's popularity a little bit. I too remember the only way to see BU play in the regionals was to hop the fan bus out to Albany. No need for that anymore as I can watch it on the big screen TV with a few tasty beverages in my hand. In some sports the popularity is at a point where you have enough fans to go around between those who watch on TV and those who travel to the games. The FF has clearly reached that level. It seems to sell out even though its on ESPN every year. I think we need to give the regionals some time to catch up and perhaps a few tweaks will help.

CLS
06-06-2013, 11:20 AM
http://www.collegehockeynews.com/news/2013/06/05_committee_discussing_regional.php