Hi Dave and best wishes for the holidays!
Speaking of hoops, I have a gripe to bring up, and it is a recurrent problem that comes up this time of year.
Case in point:
We have been UH season ticket holders for many years. Last night after the UH win, there was a notable exodus of UH fans heading for the exits in spite of the next game featuring the #3 team in the country and a good Miami team. Sitting next to us is a season ticket holder and his wife, and they got up to leave as well. I asked him if he wasnʻt going to stay for the next game. He said that he just wanted to watch the UH game and wasnʻt interested otherwise.
As you know, the Wildcats are very, very good, and the few fans that stayed around were treated to a very competitive game at least in the first half with many highlight plays. If it werenʻt for the UA fans (who travel well), the stands would have been embarrassingly empty.
Itʻs actually pretty disgraceful when you think about it and reflects poorly on Hawaii’s fans. Also in this case it wasn’t a Friday or Saturday night contest, and the scheduled start was 6:30 so folks would be home relatively early. The holiday season? Probably a factor but still if you enjoy college basketball especially at the highest level, I just canʻt understand not taking advantage of a ticket that gets you two games. I suspect that the championship game which really matches the two top teams on the west coast will also feature a lot of empty seats again.
We’ve seen this pattern before with the old Rainbow Classic, and I think its demise and loss of sponsorship support and regional TV coverage eventually was at least partially due to attendance problems especially if the UH didnʻt make it to the evening games. The DH Classic is going to have a hard time challenging the EA sports Maui tourney if people are going to treat the non-UH games as afterthoughts with little interest. In the last years of the Rainbow Classic the fall off in attendance was mostly due to the lack of “name” teams unlike the salad days at the Blaisdell with the likes of Duke and Michigan. Fans pack the gym at ʻIolani to watch top mainland high school teams in the annual classic there. Local fans fight to get the few available tickets for the Maui tourney. Yet on Oahu, a lot of the people who go to UH games apparently are not really big fans of the sport unlike the situation for volleyball for example. I also wonder a little about the lack of extras promoting the DH Classic: A friend tried to buy T-shirts for his kids but was told there werenʻt any (unlike Maui where all kinds of souvenir items are available)
As we were enjoying watching Mark Lyons and his talented teammates in action against the Hurricanes, I felt sorry for those people who left early and at the same time a little embarrassed for Hawaii. In a nutshell, there is no substitute despite HD TV coverage of being live at a sporting event. Of course the ESPN coverage tries to minimize the views of empty seats but the future of our tournament here may be a little problematical as a result.
Thanks for listening and keep up the good work!