Let’s Use the UAB Blazers to Talk About Attendance and Expectations, Shall We?

So The initial mistake is all mine, I can admit it.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

This is a photo I took from the press box about 30 minutes before kickoff of the UAB Marching Blazers. The “they” in my tweet was intended to refer to the band specifically, not just UAB football, because as a fan of a great performance I was just as excited about this.

I didn’t pay much attention to the stands up behind because, again, this was a shot of the visitor’s sideline a good 30 minutes before kickoff. I wanted a photo of the band with my smartphone, not a great picture of everything.

And then… they came…

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Well yes, but what’s that got to do with anything? Everyone on the planet knows that a 72,000 seat stadium for a Group of Five program is a horrific idea. Just ask Georgia State. Speaking of which…

So this is going to come as a shock to young Matthew, but selling 100% of 25,000 tickets and selling 100% of 71,500 tickets are not remotely the same thing. (side note: what the hell is he after? He seeks an agreement that UAB should be trying to sell every ticket, then agrees with being told it’s an unrealistic expectation. Huh?)

Yes, it is unfortunate that UAB’s stadium is so large that they could be at only 50% capacity the entire season and lead Conference USA in attendance by a country mile.

The fact that the Blazers announced an attendance of 45, 212 only represented 63% capacity should not cheapen the fact that their attendance was almost 20,000 more than every other CUSA school for opening weekend.

But back to the shot of the stadium itself…

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

What is this nonsense? “Oh, hahaha look. All I know about UAB is they struggled with attendance 4+ years ago, so LOL look at the empty seats.” Twitter is most certainly the home of cheap humor. As I said to him…

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

This is relevant, but then I get this…

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Absolutely no need for this. How is this a high school mentality? It is true of every single stadium in the country that there’s a side where all the home fans sit (cleverly known as “the home side”) and a side where all the visiting fans sit (the “away side” believe it or not).

It is also true that for any game where the visiting team’s fans either don’t travel well or won’t for this particular game for a variety of reasons, the visiting side will look sparse.

In addition to all of that, you had 45,000 people coming to a football game at a site that has only hosted about 5 in the last three years. I was at the game, and people didn’t stop filing into the seats until halftime.

That makes the pregame comment relevant as well. You can talk down to me (and every other UAB supporter) all you like, but you should at least use all the information at your disposal.

I was taking a photo where my perspective was standing above the side of the stadium that is closer to parking, closer to tailgating, and gets shade first, and for all these reasons is where the home fans (the overwhelming majority of the crowd) were sitting.

I also took the photo at least two hours before the crowd was done filling up – even a photo of the same visitor’s side would have looked better at that point.

Please stop projecting all of your perceptions of how well our attendance should do when our programs don’t match, Mr. Georgia State fan.

Please stop pointing out the obvious flaws about our stadium instead of the great job we did of drawing fans, Mr. Texas State fan,

Please stop taking cheap shots because the photo I take happens to serve the joke you want to perpetuate, Mr. Arkansas State Fan.

Please stop belittling my perfectly rational description of the situation and its nuances, Mr. Other Arkansas State Fan.

Think of how impressive that number is. San Jose State has already had two home games and their total home attendance hasn’t even topped 25,000 yet! Ball State, our week two opponent, couldn’t even reach 39,000 in attendance for the entire 2016 season!

Matter of fact, here’s a list for you: UCF, East Carolina, Colorado State, Air Force, San Diego State, Fresno State. That’s not the list of G5 programs with better attendance than UAB, it’s the list of teams that managed to draw 35,000+ in their home opener. Only SDSU had a higher number.

Sure, there’s still almost half the G5 yet to play their home opener (including teams like Houston, Temple and UTSA who are likely to join that list), but I would argue that UAB finishing second in attendance among the 38 G5 teams that have had a home opener at this point is a pretty big deal.

Sure, it will tail off after the home opener, especially if they head into their last two home games against Rice and UTEP without something meaningful to play for, but it’s a great start.

We’re still new at getting back to this, and we need every victory we can get right now. Please let us have our own expectations about our attendance that we are pleasantly meeting or exceeding, and don’t compare us to suit whatever points you’re trying to make.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s