I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome everyone back. The students are on campus and back in class and we are ready to get the spring season going with Southland Conference basketball already in full swing.
We have already had some good crowds for both the men’s and women’s games, with a very energetic and loud group at our home games so far.
Our men’s team opened at home on against Stephen F. Austin with a big win and despite the residence halls being closed, with still had a very good crowd. Nearly 1,600 fans were there to see the game and a good bit of that was from people who walked up and purchased a ticket at the gate.
The Lumberjacks haven’t been to Huntsville in two years, so we hoped our fans would come out to see the game. Despite the residence halls not opening until Sunday, we still had a very good turnout from our students as well with a little more than 300 at the game.
What I was the most pleased to see was the way the community turned out for the game. Our walkup sales were some of the best we have had and as a result, we ended up with a good crowd for the time of the year. I noticed we had lines coming into the coliseum even with us opening up more ticket offices.
That is why I want to take this opportunity to remind our fans that tickets can be purchased online or in advance at the Mafrige Fieldhouse ticket office during the week to help avoid waiting outside to get inside the arena.
As our team continues to push through the Southland Conference season, they are going to need the support of the students and community, and we want to make it as easy as possible for you to attend a Sam Houston State basketball game.
When I saw the lines it reminded me about stories of the Old Men’s Gym and having to wait in line to get a ticket. We have really grown since those days. Our worst crowds now would have filled the Old Men’s Gym, which had a capacity of about 1,000. For those of you who remember the good ole’ days of the Old Men’s Gym, it is time to move past that.
We have a 6,100 seat arena now and need to concentrate on filling it. Our crowds now are much better every single night than they were 35 years ago, and instead of talking about how that place used to be packed every night, we need to worry about packing the gym we are currently in. Every crowd we have had this season would have packed the Old Men’s Gym. An average attendance of less than 1,000 doesn’t need to be the benchmark for this department.
While we are on the subject of tickets and attendance, it is also never too early to start talking about Southland Tournament tickets. Every year we purchase an allotment of tickets from the conference office to sell to our fans, and it is very important well sell the entire block. We will be back in Katy and we need people to keep coming out and supporting the Kats. We will have information up on the web site soon regarding tickets and how to purchase them.
Another important item to note about our ticketing is the addition of a new assistant athletic director for ticketing. Jason Chandler will be heading up every aspect of our ticketing in the department and we would like to welcome him.
We are bringing him on board with the task of increasing our ticket sales. It is always a challenge generating revenue from ticket sales, but we think he is going to give us a presence we have not had before. He most recently was working with Appalachian State, and I have seen first hand in the playoffs the job those guys do in getting fans out to the games. I am confident he will be successful in helping to continue moving this department forward.
-- Bobby Williams