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Where have all the fans gone?

January 26, 2012

Rose and the boys like to make fun of me because I make comments about the lack of fans at many sporting events. But if you look at a lot of college basketball games outside the top teams there are often lots of empty seats.

I know as a high school basketball official that it is rare to have very many students attend their school’s games.  Part of the problem in my mind is the extortion-like prices the schools charge for a game -$6 is a lot to ask a student to pay for a game.  But I think there are so many other factors at play – students working, social media, Xbox games – that entertain students.  They do not feel the need to go to games to be entertained.

Now comes word from ESPN http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/45918/bag-wherefore-art-thou-cameron-crazies that even my beloved Duke Blue Devils are not filling up the student sections for some games.  Duke has always been known for its “Cameron Crazies”, the students who camp out for games, arrive early and terrorize opponents team members.  Duke is one of the few places where the students get the prime court-side seats.  It is one of the things that makes the basketball games there unique.  But now Duke is actually selling seats in the student section to outsiders.  This is hard for me to fathom.  When I went to Duke in the “Dark Ages”, I slept out overnight to get my tickets.  The opportunity to be so close to the action was too much fun to miss.  But that is not the case for students anymore.

So are we getting closer to the time where actually attending an event is rare?  And are we all missing out on a part of the fun of a sporting event – sitting with others watching the game?

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