azcentral sports’ Doug Haller and Greg Moore look back at the Sun Devils’ victory over Colorado and look ahead to the game at UCLA.
ASU football fans should be ripped for their apparent disinterest? Here we go again, huh?
Well, three things about that:
1. The criticism is short-sighted, tired and often comes from media members who rarely spend their own money to attend games in person.
2. It’s not really accurate, statistics show.
3. “Bandwagon” is more of a compliment, I believe.
Sports fans don’t want – or need – advice on how to spend their money.
As for our humble sports town, often described as bandwagon in nature? Good for us. Somewhere along the line, discerning sports fans became the scourge of their towns because they were unwilling to cough up good money for a bad product.
ASU football fans are not committing a shameful act by failing to fill Sun Devil Stadium. They, like most self-respecting sports fans, believe they deserve a product that fits the price point.
They don’t deserve to be called out by critics – including azcentral sports’ Greg Moore.
From his column following the Sun Devils’ home victory against Colorado:
… the thousands of empty seats at Sun Devil Stadium reflect a die-easy fan base, looking for the first opportunity to bail on a team that’s broken their hearts too many times before.
But wait: Sun Devils fans actually compare favorably with the Pac-12 schools and much of college football.
ASU ranks fifth in Pac-12 home attendance at just more than 50,000 fans per game.
ASU, despite its relatively large stadium capacity, ranks better (87 percent) at percent-to-capacity per game than Oregon State, USC, UCLA, California and Arizona.
To demand that fans of very average football teams show up to prove their loyalty is low-hanging fruit, ready to picked and thrown to the disgruntled masses.
But it’s those among the disgruntled masses who are making sound financial decisions.
It works both ways. The sustained success at Washington and Oregon has led to an expectation for which fans are happy to pay. In Seattle (98 percent capacity this season) and Eugene (103 percent), fans continue to fill the seats.
This bandwagon reputation underscores a different mind-set owned by sports fans in the West – and supported by fans who move from the Midwest and East.
West Coast people, generally, are not so prone to suffering from the “we will always support our teams” illness that has infected so many in the Midwest and East.Opinion varies on just what defines “die-hard” and “true” fans.
To me, die-hard fans should demand a quality product. Die-hard fans don’t have to support a floundering franchise to prove they’re “true” fans.
(“Oh, we’re die-hard fans. We go to every Cleveland Browns game!”)
It’s OK to be a fan of your team – through thick and thin – but you don’t have to waste your money, too.
And Moore’s well-versed colleague here at azcentral sports, Dan Bickley, isn’t immune, as he chirped the Bay Area fans for their apathy.
A sparse crowd last Sunday for Cards at 49ers?
I say good for those who stayed away from that epic entertainment vehicle featuring C.J. Beathard vs. Drew Stanton. I’d rather have a nice steak and some sourdough bread.
To me, die-hard fans should ask their teams to demonstrate sustained success before committing their hard-earned money.
Valley fans are certainly eager to support sustained winners.
The Cardinals have sold out every game in their University of Phoenix Stadium history – and that coincided with the team becoming a competitive, entertaining product.
The Suns had a consecutive sellout streak topping 300 games. The fans are here; they’re just waiting for a reason to spend money.
ASU football needs only – what? – five consecutive seasons with seven or more victories and Valley college fans will become a little less disgruntled – and maybe a more positive kind of bandwagon.
Nothing here is meant to take down those who buy season tickets. These are people who have decided against things such as the extra family vacation, the visits to pricey, overrated and superficial restaurants, sending their kids to college or, perhaps, a nice dog. It’s their money. See? We aren’t telling people how to spend their money. A season-ticket holder enjoys the full experience, the ritual, the social aspect – and, if they want, they can share the experience with loved ones.
ASU FOOTBALL: Your take on attendance: Plenty of blame to go around