UConn Hoping To Re-Energize Fan Base After Several Poor Years
UConn is taking a "step toward re-energizing" its fan base in hopes of "increasing ticket sales, donations and interest in a department that's seen a decline" in revenue and attendance in its biggest moneymaking sports, according to Kelli Stacy of the HARTFORD COURANT. All four of the school's recent Huskies Coaches Roadshows "were packed." The roadshows had head coaches and other staff members "traveling to meet fans" around the state. Last year, UConn men's basketball games had the "lowest average attendance numbers in 30 years" at an average of 7,829. The football team also "had its lowest attendance since Rentschler Field opened" with a "drop-off of over 6,000 from last year." Meanwhile, women's basketball "creeps up on" the football program in terms of per-game revenue, currently "making about $200,000 less than football." The difficulties UConn has had "getting fans to games has translated into a drop in home-game revenue, which can be crippling for an athletic department at a university that is facing financial hurdles." UConn AD David Benedict is "confident in the steps the department has taken to fix the problem, while admitting that past performance has played a role in the issues." Stacy noted men's basketball has gone 30-35 in the past two seasons, and in that "same time frame, attendance has dropped by 903 people per game." The athletic department "hopes to see an upswing in ticket sales" as new men's basketball coach Dan Hurley "begins to reinvigorate" fans. Meanwhile, football average attendance "hasn't surpassed 30,000" since '13. Despite this, the program "remained consistent with season ticket sales, recording 16,000 for the third year in a row" (HARTFORD COURANT, 7/11).