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The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Fan

Putting asses in the seats in the Carrier Dome. It’s a simple formula: if you don’t win, they won’t come.

After listening to several hours of mind-numbing Syracuse sports radio for reasons unexplained, I have come upon a very difficult catch-22 for the SU football program.

Putting asses in the seats in the Carrier Dome.

It’s a simple formula: if you don’t win, they won’t come. If you do, they will. But what about if you start to win, give away tickets for free, sell tickets at a discounted price, lose a couple games, and they still don’t come?

The announced attendances for the first five home games of the season:

48,614
40,251
35,632
40,147
40,144

Did that many people actually walk through the doors? Probably not. Did that many people have tickets? Yes.

However no stadium anywhere actually uses the turnstile count, so it’s impossible to know real attendance. It’s obvious for anyone who has been to the Dome that attendance has been dropping, but it’s a bit mysterious. The team certainly has been improving.

It might not be huge leaps forward, but it would be hard to say any aspect of the team has gotten worse than it was under Groobers. This is where the fan base should be challenged. If you’re a true fan then you’re probably at the games regardless. Chances are, you’re also older and you were here when the team was good and are not giving up.

It’s the younger generations, from the tail-end of the baby boomers to the college kids who are the fair weather, inconsistent fans. Only if the team wins will people show up.

The SU fan base is too fickle. At many other successful major BCS programs, games are sold out regardless of record because fans just love their team. At Syracuse, it’s not the case. Maybe that’s why the Salt City only reached #90 on the Sporting News’ seemingly arbitrary rankings of America’s Best Sports Cities.

Either way, it’s a problem the team faces right now. Either keep winning, or expect a half full dome every Saturday no matter how many promotions you put on.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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