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Here is the problem with ISU and the community

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crazzymark
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Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:12 pm

I was watching the ECU (East Carolina) Carolina AT&T game. They have a 50,000 seat stadium and is an area of 94,000 population. Bloomington/Normal is 150,00 area population. There home games average 42,000 a game in the AAC. That number increased by 70% when they went from FCS to FBS. Now, they are also not far From UNC , NCSU, NCC and a number of D-II schools. It has to do with a level of commitment to the community and moving forward in a state that has so many options to view. Illinois has few options and getting fewer ever day.
The ECU was moved forward to gain the seats first and the butts after, ISU should look at that model as many teams they use to play in FCS and take the leap of faith and out draw the u o crap and be the school that makes the rules other than the ugly step sister that feel "amazing" to eat at the big kids table once every 10 years.

ISUBU
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Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:04 pm

ECU was frequently mentioned as an example for ISU football two decades ago. I agree that compared to other places this size and with this level of income, the community doesn't fully support the Redbird athletics programs. But it is better than it used to be, for football at least.

The hard part is understanding why this is, and changing the community. I don't know.

I was at the Minnesota state Fair today in St. Paul. There was a parade featuring The Marching bands of both U of Minnesota and North Dakota State. Tough for me to imagine the Big Red Marching Machine at an event in Champaign. Ndsu has really extended it's brand here in the twin cities.

bb fan
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Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:21 pm

Interesting comparasions.

I think a big part of this is ECU is in a football crazy area. Not so much this area, especially central Illinois.

I think there have been times the basketball support has been there.

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Redbirdwarrior
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Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:56 pm

I'm about to say something that is going to piss A LOT of you off, but here we go.

Illinois State isn't the reason the community does not come to games. The state of Illinois, the city of Chicago and the Chicago Bears (and Bulls) are the reason the community does not come to games.

Media exposure is what sells 70% of the tickets to athletic events in this country. It isn't about anything more than media and ISU is in the Chicago media market. As long as that is true, ISU (or ANY college sports) will fall behind even the most minor news for any of the 5 major pro teams in Chicago. In a year where the Blackhawks are Cup contenders, they will get extra coverage. In a year where the Cubs are contenders, they get extra coverage. And now with the Bears leaping into contending with the Mack deal, they will monopolize sports pages from Chicago to St. Louis. Chicago is a big BIG pro sports city. Colleges are all afterthoughts. The Ramblers went to the final 4 last year and were out of the news by April 10th.

Compare this to ECU: They have the Charlotte/Raleigh markets to battle, but honestly, most people in NC would rather hear about and attend college games than pro games because that is the media focus there. The Carolinas and greater VA are HEAVILY college focused. It is a completely opposite exposure culture. You can thank Duke, NC and the ACC for that, now even average or below average programs like NC State or Wake Forest are front page news in the surrounding media markets. That will never be the case for ISU.

"Why do we need Chicago when the local community is 150k strong?"

It is a numbers game. Like it or not, only about 1 of every 6 of those people are sports fans to the level of attending 1-2 games of any sport per year. Those people are split between Football, basketball, baseball, hockey. Then you have college allegiances that split that even further. Suddenly, your active buyer market is not 150k, but more like 25k between BN, Peoria and surrounding areas. You need Chicago because applying the same math as we do in our area, your active sports fan market in Chicagoland alone (population roughly 4,500,000) is about 900,000 and is by far our largest hub of alumni and ISU related families.

But Chicago media is rarely going to give any college enough consistent exposure to sell out stadiums every week.

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Virginia Redbird
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Mon Sep 03, 2018 7:19 am

Redbirdwarrior wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:56 pm

Media exposure is what sells 70% of the tickets to athletic events in this country. It isn't about anything more than media and ISU is in the Chicago media market. As long as that is true, ISU (or ANY college sports) will fall behind even the most minor news for any of the 5 major pro teams in Chicago. In a year where the Blackhawks are Cup contenders, they will get extra coverage. In a year where the Cubs are contenders, they get extra coverage. And now with the Bears leaping into contending with the Mack deal, they will monopolize sports pages from Chicago to St. Louis. Chicago is a big BIG pro sports city. Colleges are all afterthoughts. The Ramblers went to the final 4 last year and were out of the news by April 10th.

Compare this to ECU: They have the Charlotte/Raleigh markets to battle, but honestly, most people in NC would rather hear about and attend college games than pro games because that is the media focus there. The Carolinas and greater VA are HEAVILY college focused. It is a completely opposite exposure culture. You can thank Duke, NC and the ACC for that, now even average or below average programs like NC State or Wake Forest are front page news in the surrounding media markets. That will never be the case for ISU.
It may be more of an Illinois thing and Illinois has always had the reputation of being a basketball state much like Indiana.
You mentioned Virginia and I can speak to the differences in this state from Illinois. Virginia is football crazy. High School football in the southeast part of Virginia is intensely followed and produces quite a few Div I players. The University of Richmond Football stadium only holds about 8,000 fans but they get close to sellouts for almost all games, even when they had a mediocre season last year. Washington DC is only an hour away from Richmond and this area is Washington Redskin nuts! All the press coverage is dominated by the Redskins much like the Bears in Chicago. With the Capitals winning the Stanley Cup they got a bunch of press but it does not seem to make an impact on the attendance at local colleges. JMU had a $62 million dollar renovation to their football stadium a few years ago and they increased the capacity to over 24,000. They fill the stadium on Saturday as well. Of course, JMU has been in the last two FCS championship games too.
I went to a High School playoff game here in SE Virginia a few years ago between two longtime rival programs. Well over 10,000 fans were in attendance. the stadium could not hold all the fans and they were turning people away at the gate...no more room. In contrast, I was back in Illinois a couple years ago and went to a playoff game between two longtime rivals...the stands were essentially empty. Maybe a couple hundred people there. Small sample I know but it still a difference in passion for the sport. I grew up in the Chicago area and outside of the Bears, I can't say that most people were overly interested in the U of I or Northwestern let alone the smaller universities. There was more interest in Notre Dame football than the backyard programs.
“When you have great players, playing great, well that’s great football!”
John Madden

fourthandshort
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Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:18 am

Redbirdwarrior wrote:
Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:56 pm
I'm about to say something that is going to piss A LOT of you off, but here we go.

Illinois State isn't the reason the community does not come to games. The state of Illinois, the city of Chicago and the Chicago Bears (and Bulls) are the reason the community does not come to games.

Media exposure is what sells 70% of the tickets to athletic events in this country. It isn't about anything more than media and ISU is in the Chicago media market. As long as that is true, ISU (or ANY college sports) will fall behind even the most minor news for any of the 5 major pro teams in Chicago. In a year where the Blackhawks are Cup contenders, they will get extra coverage. In a year where the Cubs are contenders, they get extra coverage. And now with the Bears leaping into contending with the Mack deal, they will monopolize sports pages from Chicago to St. Louis. Chicago is a big BIG pro sports city. Colleges are all afterthoughts. The Ramblers went to the final 4 last year and were out of the news by April 10th.

Compare this to ECU: They have the Charlotte/Raleigh markets to battle, but honestly, most people in NC would rather hear about and attend college games than pro games because that is the media focus there. The Carolinas and greater VA are HEAVILY college focused. It is a completely opposite exposure culture. You can thank Duke, NC and the ACC for that, now even average or below average programs like NC State or Wake Forest are front page news in the surrounding media markets. That will never be the case for ISU.

"Why do we need Chicago when the local community is 150k strong?"

It is a numbers game. Like it or not, only about 1 of every 6 of those people are sports fans to the level of attending 1-2 games of any sport per year. Those people are split between Football, basketball, baseball, hockey. Then you have college allegiances that split that even further. Suddenly, your active buyer market is not 150k, but more like 25k between BN, Peoria and surrounding areas. You need Chicago because applying the same math as we do in our area, your active sports fan market in Chicagoland alone (population roughly 4,500,000) is about 900,000 and is by far our largest hub of alumni and ISU related families.

But Chicago media is rarely going to give any college enough consistent exposure to sell out stadiums every week.
:text-+1:
good post ... there are certainly many things for people to choose from in terms of spending their time and money in Metro Chicago and broader area .. although not quite the dominant force it used to be, even Notre Dame can dominant headlines of Chicago papers and TV news. There are only so many minutes alotted for sports news on TV and there is only 1 front page for sports to share all those options at pro and FBS levels.

This is partly why I have always liked ISU strategy of walk before we run with regard to investing money in their football program, They have always been smart (albeit a littel too slow, but smart) about investing money in football ... and this is why we can survive just fine with state of Illinois reneging on their financial commitments, while other schools our level struggle considerably.

That said ... let's get that Multipurpose Indoor Facility date to start digging in writing .. that is the next step we need to take .. slow but sure works for me. This will help all sports programs recruit and prepare better, especially football.
Redbird Nation Rising ... Fans and donors need to get on board !!

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chuckie1980
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Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:07 am

Even when you compare Chicago's control of sports media and the impact on the colleges...
Just look how local papers, The Pantagraph and The News Gazette, have cut back their High School reporting (among other paper market concerns) and the impact on High School sports.

I do have to give Kudos to the News Gazette for their HS football PreSeason section!! It was excellent.

CaliRdBrd
Junior
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Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:12 pm

All about marketing AND making the games fun for fans to attend. I see none of this.

fourthandshort
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Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:50 pm

CaliRdBrd wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:12 pm
All about marketing AND making the games fun for fans to attend. I see none of this.
I don't think this is fair statement .. I think we do pretty good with our game day experience. You don't really see "none of this", do you ? What else would you suggest they do ?
Redbird Nation Rising ... Fans and donors need to get on board !!

TheTruth
Freshman
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Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:13 pm

There is no problem with the "ISU community". For the amount of effort that Illinois State has put into football over the years, the level of support they receive is impressive. I think most people on this board would be blown away by the level of support Illinois State football would receive if the university actually made it a priority.

fourthandshort
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Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:40 pm

TheTruth wrote:
Mon Sep 03, 2018 8:13 pm
There is no problem with the "ISU community". For the amount of effort that Illinois State has put into football over the years, the level of support they receive is impressive. I think most people on this board would be blown away by the level of support Illinois State football would receive if the university actually made it a priority.
Certainly more work to do, but the commitment from school has clearly improved since they decided to hire Spack .. agreed ??

I agree with what then Pres Bowman and AD Friedman said after opening ceremony for Hancock 2.0 to start 2013 season ... "now it is up to the fans".

Fast forward to 2014 for UNI 1st round playoff game at Hancock .. we barely drew 5,500 ... nearly 1,000 of which were UNI fans. Fan attendance as steadily improved over the years and the promotional efforts have helped. Even scheduling has gotten smarter by pushing event games to later in fall, ensuring greater draws for most home games with nonevent games in earlier in season when it is still warm.

More work to be done .. Sports Admin, fans and donors all need to step it up.
Redbird Nation Rising ... Fans and donors need to get on board !!

JHBird
Sophomore
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Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:16 am

I think the main question for our football marketing group is -- How can we get more of the tailgaters to come into the stadium and actually watch a game? These people actually make an effort and take a trip out to the stadium, versus the people who stay at home and have zero interest. Why don't more people just go into the game after making the trip? Is it the cost? Joe Tiller visited Brock a few years back and said he was blown away with what's going on here. He said our pre-game stuff in the parking lots was like a Big Ten atmosphere. Seems like we should be able to get 15K into a game if our stadium was bigger. Of course I don't any answers, but I think we all see the potential.

fourthandshort
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Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:41 am

JHBird wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 7:16 am
I think the main question for our football marketing group is -- How can we get more of the tailgaters to come into the stadium and actually watch a game? These people actually make an effort and take a trip out to the stadium, versus the people who stay at home and have zero interest. Why don't more people just go into the game after making the trip? Is it the cost? Joe Tiller visited Brock a few years back and said he was blown away with what's going on here. He said our pre-game stuff in the parking lots was like a Big Ten atmosphere. Seems like we should be able to get 15K into a game if our stadium was bigger. Of course I don't any answers, but I think we all see the potential.
on a related note ... last season our homecoming was agaist highly ranked South Dakota. They came into Hancock sitting 7-0 and ranked #4. We were sitting 4-2 having just lost 2 games to NAU and SIU .. and feeling by some (me for one) was that Spack had temporarily lost the team the week leading up to SIU.

So here we walk into homecoming weekend and only draw 12.1k .. no sellout. Mind you, Indiana St game (no event) sold out at 13.9k just 3 weeks prior. Well, we played great against USD 37-21and won the game fairly easily .. defense was off the charts chasing and hitting QB Streveler into obvlivion ... playing our best game of year in front of a non-sellout homecoming crowd.

But now to the related part .. a credible AGS poster and South Dakota fan that came to the game said something like this about ISU on AGS .. "been to every road stadium in MVFC, and was stunned about the entire game day experience, both inside and and outside the stadium, but especially outside the stadium".

He was blown away by all of it .. had no idea how much support there is ... much of it in the tailgating. To hear this from an outsider was both encouraging and discouraging ... how do we get those people inside the stadium for more of the games ???

Rumor is, Hancock may start selling alcohol inside Hancock .. that wouldn't hurt. Just have to figure out how to keep it under control with students getting people to buy them beer .. that could look bad.

Quoting former President Bowman and AD Friedman ... "now it is up to the fans" ... but alcohol never hurt party attendance and enthusiasm.
Redbird Nation Rising ... Fans and donors need to get on board !!

MadBird
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Location: Madison, Wisconsin

Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:21 pm

I'm a little late following up on this, but I saved this article from the Minneapolis paper and wanted to share it with those who might want a little reading on college football attendance. The article is mostly about the Gophers, but also includes discussion on the Big 10+ and the broader sports world.

Some interesting stuff. Gophers have some "unique" issues, located in a pro town, metro area, etc. But still some good reporting.

http://www.startribune.com/how-plunging ... 491766811/

ISNU
Freshman
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Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:05 pm

Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:00 pm

Win- check
Build decent stadium- check
Provide good pre-game tailgate experience- check
Avoid conflicts with local semi- pro sports- check

ISU does a good job and the community supports. Newspapers are irrelevant as some choose online media.
As long as ISU plays nationally irrelevant opponents it is unreasonable to blame the community who do in fact support.

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Virginia Redbird
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Sat Sep 15, 2018 5:59 pm

Being so far away I don't get to many games. I attended the SDSU game in 2016 and I thought the game day experience at Hancock was pretty nice. The tailgating really surprised me. There were so many people in the lots but I guess some of them don't make it inside the stadium. That seems strange to me but it seems to be a common theme among the posters here. I had a wonderful time (it was Spack Stache Day) and left wishing I lived closer so I could make more games. $15 a ticket was cheap, cheap, cheap!!!! I have made the comparison to the Old Dominion Football program here in Norfolk, VA. ODU started from scratch in 2009 and almost immediately were in the FCS playoffs. Just a few years later they jumped to FBS. Two years ago they won 10 games and won the Bahamas Bowl. Everything looked great and the stands were full. Last year they had a losing record and played very, very badly. The stands started to lose fans as the record went down. This year they have started 0-3 and Virginia Tech comes to town next week. The stadium is a sellout but only because Virginia Tech is coming with their fan base. This area is football-crazed and ODU had not had football for decades before 2009. The fan interest was there immediately even at the FCS level. I only bring all this up because it is hard to make comparisons between programs because there are so many variables that impact the probability of success, attendance, and development of a program. Every situation is different. What works at one place may not work at another.
“When you have great players, playing great, well that’s great football!”
John Madden

gobirds85
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Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:54 am

My take on the issue between ISU and the community is that the area is home to a fair amount of college educated individuals who attended other colleges throughout the US. The sport fans in this crowd feel an allegiance to their school and not necessarily ISU. ISU needs to reach out to local Cub Scout groups, youth football organizations, and the YMCAs in the Twin Cities. Maybe they could put together some family/groups packages to reduce the cost and get these groups through the gates. Just a thought.

TheTruth
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Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:35 am

gobirds85 wrote:
Thu Sep 20, 2018 9:54 am
the area is home to a fair amount of college educated individuals who attended other colleges throughout the US.
To be honest, I don't know if B-N suffers from that to any greater extent than any other large public university. In actuality, the relevance of the football being offered by Illinois State just isn't there. It's similar to minor league baseball, where attendance is based on a matter of convenience rather than the matter of allegiance. A school like Illinois State is never going to build a strong allegiance with their potential fanbase by offering 1-AA football. You can argue all you want, but we all know it's the truth.

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crazzymark
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Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:20 pm

So ISU just beat a FBS team... now,,, UCF for example sold out the game and as on ESPN in a rout...so based on your logic, IBLM/NRM sould be 100% behind the REDBIRDS!! Stop making poor at best excuses and go and drag 4 neighbors with you to the game and have fun!!!!!!!!

Birdswin
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Joined: Thu Jul 20, 2017 7:58 pm

Sun Sep 23, 2018 7:01 am

Crazzy - you are assuming there are a lot of people who are paying attention. There are SO many people now, who do not care about sports and especially football. Attendance for high school games is down. Many teachers are anti-sports - and that sentiment is affecting a lot of people. Then you have the Catholic equation - Notre Dame - good grief, I scratch my head over it. They are ISU graduates, like football as long as it is Notre Dame - I cannot get my neighbors to go even if I give them tickets, but they have no problem paying $200 per ticket for a Notre Dame game. I do not get it - but, it is real. I know two ISU season-ticket holders, who will not go, if the Notre Dame game is on in conflict with the Redbirds.

On the positive side - my son brought seven other students today to our house for the game - working on their enthusiasm and to get Redbirds in their blood.

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