Friday, November 03, 2006

Attendance starts with you

The announced crowd at the SMU-UAB game was 13,125. More than one coworker commented on the empty seats they saw on TV.

I dunno how many people were at the Marshall-SMU game. I know it wasn't as many as announced. Not that that particular fact bothers me; if every fraudulent attendee at every school that fudged its attendance jumped up and down at once, the Earth would come off its axis. Or would it? Think about it.

I do know SMU's attendance could be better. There are plenty of seats to go around.

No one is going to dispute that SMU's attendance problems are largely its own creation. You can count off the reasons: mismanagement; lack of support; losing, missed opportunities. It all boils down to the fact that people that ought to be going, that should want to be going, to SMU games are not.

I get the sense that the SMU fans I know are waiting. Some are waiting for some proof that SMU isn't going to stink every year-they don't go to the games. Others, that do go to the games, are also waiting. They are waiting for the administration to do something. "It is always marketing man. If SMU could market itself better, there would be 25,000 people every week."

Take, for example, this quote from the message board:

Snooze... another attendance thread.

Why do you guys think this will change in the near future? Students may get a little more excited but SMU alums are pathetic. Unless there is a SERIOUS effort to uncover the apathetic alums or somehow add a casual Dallas fan, it won't change.

Bottom line, it is on you to get more people to the game. There is only one way for the attendance to rise for SMU athletics and it is for SMU grads to be proud to be SMU alumni. Everybody knows the guy they went to school with: their good friend or fraternity brother that lives less than ten minutes away from the SMU campus and hasn't been to an SMU game in two years. Sure, he has his reasons-"kid's soccer game;" "work;" "just have to get stuff done around the house." But if you dangle free Stars tickets in front of him on a Wednesday night, he can get away. Hell, maybe he goes to UT home games with his father in law.


You need to pick up the phone and call him. You need to get him to the game. If you think you can pull it off, you need to get him to drag his wife and/or girlfriend with him. Kids, too. I am sure Orsini cringes when he hears this, but tell him to buy endzone tickets and sit wherever he wants.

Here are some talking points:

  • SMU won a football game on ESPN2 on Tuesday night and have five wins with three games to play.

  • SMU controls its own destiny as far as postseason play is concerned.

  • SMU has two games at home against the University of Houston and Tulsa before finishing with Rice in Houston.

  • SMU hasn't lost at home in over a year.

  • SMU beat both Houston and Rice last year and lost to Tulsa by a 4th quarter touchdown.

  • For the first time in seemingly forever, SMU has a quarterback. Fr Justin Willis already holds every SMU passing record for a freshman and will likely finish the year holding every single season quarterback record SMU has. Willis is ranked 8th in the country as far as passing efficiency.

  • To paraphrase Matthew Mcconaughey, "You still love SMU sorority chicks. The older you get, they stay the same age."

We (you and me) need to hype up SMU football. We are just as responsible as anyone else. This isn't sunshine rah rah talk. This is serious business. Attendance is important. Attendance affects the team on the field; attendance improves the atmosphere at the game; attendance affects SMU's ability to recruit; attendance affects whether or not SMU goes to a bowl game.

Consider this point: SMU may get a bowl invitation this year. The chances of someone that hasn't gone to an SMU game all year paying to go to a bowl game are remote.

SMU needs to engage the SMU alums that don't go to games over the next two weeks. Nobody knows these people better than you. Nobody knows the names of the people that once had season tickets better than you. Nobody knows the people that bought tickets for the opening of Ford better than you.

In an ideal world, I'd encourage you to tailgate before the Houston game and invite your friends and family. If you have the means to do that, then by all means, do that. I will settle for one e-mail sent or phone call to a few people that you know have attended football games in the past encouraging them to go. I am not asking you to cold call people or try and get your coworkers that went to Lehigh to go the game. I am asking you to mention it to the people that in the back of your mind should be going to the game anyway.

This is homecoming. The students will show up just to see if the Tri Delt wins homecoming queen. The question is whether the alumni will show? There is no better person to recruit alumni to the game than you. One e-mail or one phone call. That is all I ask.


Anonymous said...

If this year's SMU football team wants to see a crowd in the stands when they play, it has to be in the next two games at Ford. The Rice game is the Saturday after Thanksgiving at Rice Stadium. The crowd that shows up for that could easily fit into Moody with room and seats to spare.

Unknown said...

I agree that we fans must do everything in our power to spread the word and get more people in the stands. The first step in the process, the team winning games, is the most important and most effective. However, winning and word-of-mouth are not enough, as prooven on Halloween night. How could the school and marketing department not do a thing for a nationally televised game - no billboards, no radio ads, no TV ads, no newspaper ads, nothing. I was embarrassed to see such a small crowd, although it was good to finally see the students out in full force. The Houston and Tulsa games will be much better attended because they will bring fans, not because the school gets a creative or aggressive marketing campaign. The three upcoming games are arguably the most important stretch for the program since the DP - and it's unfortunate just over 13,000 people realize it. The Team is winning, the faithful are talking - now it's the schools/marketing department's turn to do something. I wish them luck considering they blew it this week.

SMU Football Blog said...

No matter how hard you try, I think a Halloween night game is a hard sell. I thought so when it was announced. It was certainly hard for me to catch even most of one half.

Frankly, I think that is why it was offered to SMU in the first place. I seriously doubt SMU asked for it unsolicited or that SMU was the first school ESPN2 offered it to.

Anonymous said...

it is funny to think if everyone could get just one friend to come with it would double our attendance.
If i only had a friend.....

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you Blog. That was a really hard sell. Middle of the week, most every kid is going to want to go door-to-door to trick or treat, not go to a football game where they don't really have a clue what is going on. I don't think the marketing department dropped the ball on this one because I saw newspaper ads in the DMN (heck, I even saw an ad advertising the CUSA Women's Soccer Tournament at SMU) and heard ads on the radio.

In my opinion, it's going to take us going to a bowl game and at least staying competitive against a team. It will be nationally televised, people will see us, and maybe, just maybe people will see it as though SMU is coming back to the forefront. Outside of the DMN, we get little to no coverage. Sadly, most people in the DFW area think we still suck. It's an uphill battle to change their impressions of SMU athletics; it never will be a quick change, just like improving the team wasn't a quick fix. (Take UCF and UTEP as examples of how quick fixes don't hold up.)

Let's pack Ford to show Coog High what SMU is really all about.