EDITORIAL: Pack the house: Home games should be marketed better to students

Editorial Cartoon 2.8.11

Herald staff

The issue: The basketball teams have suffered lackluster attendance at home games this season.

Our stance: The Athletics department should do more to promote home games and get the campus community excited enough to show up.

Last Wednesday about 6,000 students from Warren County and surrounding schools were bused in to attend a Lady Toppers game for the Spread the Red Education Day.

Sure, it was nice to see the kids having fun. But the Herald wonders why the same effort rarely comes from the Athletics department toward the students already on campus.

Attendance has been sparse for both basketball teams this season, and it might be partly the result of little promotion to the campus community.

At the season’s start, home game attendance at men’s basketball games was comfortable; game 12 had the highest attendance at 7,326. Sadly, though, many of those were probably there just because the game was against Louisville. Lately, attendance has dwindled.

For the Lady Toppers, attendance rarely even surpasses 1,000.

The Herald suggests the athletic marketing team do more to target students. They could send an e-mail a day or two before a home game. The teams could go door-to-door in dorms or around to tables in Fresh Foods to pass out T-shirts or other WKU gear close to a game day.

Whatever their methods, they should be stronger than sticking a game schedule on dorm doors or posting signs in the ground that often linger after game day is over. Sometimes it seems the only indicators of a home game are yellow barricades along the Avenue of Champions and the bundled-up parking attendants sitting by them.

Touchdown Tuesdays, Spirit Day campaigns and tailgating are well-promoted during football season. The same attention should be shown to all athletics.

We recognize the giveaways, cash grab games and other halftime incentives offered during games. But those are no good if students aren’t there to participate.

The marketing isn’t the only problem, though. Students, you are responsible for supporting our teams, too. Especially when all you need to enter the game is your WKU ID card. There is no extra fee, and everyone should take advantage of that.

Student athletes and coaches work hard to represent our university, not only in sports but in academic and other fields also. And though the teams don’t win them all, a part of school pride is sticking with the home team despite their losses.

Any athlete should play well regardless of the number of people watching. But no one can deny that cheers and waving red towels give them a little extra push during game time.

If the Athletics department wants the national attention they so often talk about, they should focus on building some local attention first. And students should be the biggest part of that focus.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member editorial board.