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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Syracuse Football Attendance – Needs Moar Fan(nie)s

For now, the Syracuse Orange sits atop the ACC football standings (2-0 overall, 1-0 in conference play), but based on the attendance at the Dome during yesterday’s victory over Wake Forest you would think that the Greg Robinson and Frank Maloney teamed up to coach this year’s team. Not surprisingly, Bud Poliquin was quick to point out that there was “a lack of fannies in the seats” as a mere 26.5k fans trudged-up to the dome to watch the game. To put that in context, last January approximately 23.5k fans took over half of the dome to watch the Syracuse basketball team (sans McCullough) defeat Wake Forest – and that basketball attendance number was without the benefit of free tickets to the frosh students. 

There have been many excuses for the lackluster football attendance over the year,most legitimately is the fact that the team has been pretty crappy for the last decade, but even big games under Marrone and Shafer (including big victories over West Virginia and Louisville) had a lot of silver bleachers to be filled…and not just during the first quarter when the fans trickle in and the fourth quarter when they leave to “beat the traffic”.

In fact, the 2015 team was coming-in off a big win over FCS-lightweight Rhode Island with an aggressive defense, a young gunslinger under center, and an evenly-matched ACC opponent. It had all the makings for a great game and a great reason to come out and support the Orange.

Other popular excuses from fans in years’ past cannot apply to yesterday’s game either: the Fair (which has since ended), needing to rake leaves (it was raining out), the rain (they play inside of a Dome), the opponent is very good (it was a back-and-forth game requiring Syracuse to rally and beat WtF).

Speaking of the rain…where were all the people who are pining for an outdoor stadium? But I digress…

Looking for answers, I decided to head to the comments section of a http://www.syracuse.com article for insight:

one of the problems is when the notre dame, usc, and penn state games were “home” games played in nyc……they did it for MONEY, plain and simple….many fans got ticked off and walked away….they’ll come back if/when they win

This argument doesn’t make a lot of sense. The Fans don’t show up to games (which understandably had a lot to do with the quality of the teams from 2004-2009) so the Athletic Department has to find money elsewhere and schedules big games in NFL stadiums to get guaranteed money (as well as attract recruits, get TV exposure, appeal to big donor alumni living down state, etc…). If you don’t like the team playing “home” games elsewhere, then come out and support the team every chance you get.

The flip-side is that when Syracuse does play PSU and ND at home, the dome sells out because of PSU and ND fans buying a large amount of tickets thereby eliminating the home field advantage. So, pick your poison.

Friends and I are season ticket holders for years and none of us could attend yesterday. When 4 home games are scheduled on back to back weekends, sometimes it’s just not possible. We all cringe when we see the schedule come out each year with back to back to back home games, knowing its almost impossible to attend them all. Do we feel badly? Yes! We want to support the kids and give them a good crowd. But I think if there were some breaks in the schedule, the attendance could improve. I don’t find anything wrong with the tailgating… Just look up Adams street and the lots are full of tailgaters with a short walk up to the dome.

Tailgating before the game is an issue that the University needs to address. One idea the Confidential has considered would be to open up the new Indoor Practice Facility and Plaza 44 to season ticket holders for a pre-game rally with local vendors serving small concessions (think “A taste of Syracuse”). Alternatively, open up tailgating areas at Skytop.

Four consecutive home games is an interesting dilemma. On one hand, you want to give your team every chance they can to win (including that home game advantage) on the other hand, there is a supply/demand issue. If there are too many opportunities to watch the team, then the value goes down. Perhaps a solution would be to send one of those home games to MetLife stadium….

Climate control the inside, who wants to be uncomfortable when they are paying the price to go

Ah yes, the infamous “Carrier Dome is named after an Air Conditioning company but doesn’t have Air Conditioning” line that is repeated ad nauseum. 

The heat from the Dome actually can work to help the home team if the away team is unprepared, as does the crowd noise while SU is on defense.

The Dome was cool in the 80’s and up until the mid 90’s now it is old and boring. Bigger is not always better, better is always better.
There is no doubt that the Dome is no longer the cutting-edge venue that it once was, but the Athletic Department has gone to great lengths to improve the experience (field turf, new video scoreboards, ribbon lighting, Club44 for those that can a44rd it), and there is a lot more that could be done to improve the stadium, but I’m not convinced that blaming the venue is the answer here.
The city of Syracuse is hurting.Did anyone read last Sundays’ headline.If SU is really serious about the Dome experience then they should really consider dropping the concession prices.
  1. 6.50 for a draft in Syracuse is too high,7.50 for craft draft.=no beer lines
  2. 4.00 pretzel,$4 soda
  3. parking
  4. That’s what adds up to staying home.

Syracuse’s economy likely plays a big factor in whether fans can attend games or not. There is no doubt that going to a Syracuse game is much more affordable than a major league stadium, and while the tickets are relatively affordable, the concessions are not (that’s where they get ya) but there is no requirement that fans must buy beer, pretzels, or soda while at the game.

My father-in-law has been going to Phillies’ games his entire adult life, and to my knowledge, has never bought anything inside the ball park.

Having said that, there is a good argument that making concessions more affordable could make it a more feasible way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

“Just win baby…” Winning will bring people back. The program has not been relevant in over 15 years. On top of that, the last AD sold a lot of snake oil when it came to football so I’m sure there is a lot of resentment and discontent among fans. However, if they keep winning, people will get over that and show up for the games.

Syracuse could very well be 3-0 in two weeks when they host a big-time program, LSU, and from all accounts the ticket sales have been good for this game. Will fans find more exCuses not to attend?

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