Career Changers

UH Football Flubs and Follies Continue

September 3rd, 2015

In a few hours, I'll be heading to the UH football home opener against the University of Colorado at Aloha Stadium... on a Thursday night. Um, what genius thought that would be a good idea? Oh, that's right -- the Athletic Director who is no longer here. According to what I read in the sports section, Ben Jay made the move to accommodate a request from Colorado to make their travel schedule less taxing on them. I guess he wanted to share the aloha spirit with a team that is intent on beating the crap out of us on the field. Mahalo, Ben!

The first game is crucial in setting the tone for the season -- and even more importantly, luring skeptical or jaded fans back to at least give the current team a chance to show us what they have to offer. Changing it to Thursday night is one of the Top 10 Dumbest UH Sports Marketing decisions ever made. As if that dead horse needs kicking, I offer another based on my latest interaction with the UH ticket office when I wanted to renew my season tickets for football.

Yes, in spite of my grumbling and disenchantment with Coach Chow's predictable hand-the-ball-to-Joey (or Lakalaka up-the-middle) play-calling the past two seasons, I have tried to support the team by going to the games. I had become a lapsed season ticket holder after my wife and I had bad experiences at Aloha Stadium during the June Jones era when foul-mouthed guys in Warrior black would get drunk and spout profanities when the team didn't cover the point spread, or initiate fights in the stands. Things had gotten ugly.

When we first became season ticket holders during Bob Wagner's tenure as head coach during the late '80s, loyal fans were rewarded by being able to upgrade their seats the following year. If other fans didn't renew their tickets, you could put in a request and move to better seats at no extra charge if it was in the same section. So, eventually we went from near the endzone on the sidelines in the lower Orange section to near mid-field, which was great... until they began jacking up premiums for the best seats. The additional fees would seem quite reasonable compared to what they charge at big name football schools that regularly sell out their home games. But that's not the case at UH, is it?

We were paying a pretty high premium already for last season's seats, again back where we originally started by the endzone along the sideline in the Orange section. I renewed early and requested to upgrade our seats, knowing full well that many of the prior season ticket holders wouldn't be coming back this year. And sure enough, after the first deadline passed, I got a call saying I could move closer to mid-field -- for an additional couple of hundred dollars more per seat! Why? Because it was two sections over.

Okay, I get that those seats are worth more because they offer a better view. People who want first crack at those tickets and are willing to shell out that much more for them should get those seats. But now that they're empty and likely to remain unsold as season tickets, why not reward the few remaining loyal fans by offering them better seats in the same lower or upper sections for the same price they're currently paying? In other words, how about giving fans an INCENTIVE to renew season tickets, instead of disincentives by telling them you can upgrade... for a few hundred bucks more. I almost cancelled my ticket purchase right then because I felt like they didn't really care about holding on to what little remains of their fan base. We're just numbers to the UH sales and marketing people. Faithful fans should be treated like gold. Instead they keep bleeding us, asking for more money each year while giving us the same or less for our loyalty.

And guess what's going to happen to those unsold premium seats? People who buy cheaper single game tickets in the other sections are going to go and sit in the lower level empty seats anyway, because the ushers rarely bother to check if they're sitting where they are supposed to. Sheesh.

Speaking of premiums and incentives, I wish the UH sports marketing people would give away stuff you can actually use. For instance, they keep handing out those roll-out UH signs that nobody knows what to do with (except for that one kid who desperately hopes to get on the big stadium video screen by holding up the sign and jumping around whenever the sideline camera pans over to his section). Last year they gave us stretchy pieces of dark green material with the H logo on it, which I surmise you're suppose to wear as headbands or armbands like on Survivor. I didn't see anyone making that accessory part of their game fashion statement though.

You know what would be useful for Aloha Stadium giveaways? Sunscreens for your car windshield with RAIN-BOWS on them since our cars bake in the sun if you get there early on a Saturday afternoon. Or green ponchos for the heavy rains we keep hearing are coming! Another idea: they could hand out freebies for old folks like me -- seat cushions for their aging fan base, which keeps shrinking each season while our butts get saggier and sorer. BTW, I wonder if the parking lot will show any signs of improvement. Last year, parts of it looked like it had been strafed by jets from Pearl Harbor or Hickam. We can't figure out what they do with the $5 per car parking fee they collect at each game.

In any event, I'm hoping the addition of a new offensive coordinator with a wide-open style of play, coupled with a new defensive coordinator with an aggressive, keep-it-simple approach will combine to produce something we haven't seen in awhile: a UH football team that will somehow win enough games to put them back in our own Hawaii Bowl at the end of the season. We can still dream, can't we?

Go 'Bows!

******

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4 Responses to “UH Football Flubs and Follies Continue”

  1. Ed:

    I do hope that the offense will be different or else fans will stay away. I thought it was a good idea about padding for the butts. I am at that age when it gets sore, lol Seems like we look back at some good old days when things were a certain way.


  2. Rich Figel:

    I'm not the nostalgic type, but I have to say the atmosphere at UH football games was different when tickets were cheaper and more families would come, decked out in bright green and white Bows gear before the new breed of Men in Black "We Hate Rainbows" Warrior fans jumped on the June Jones winning bandwagon. They quickly jumped off though when the team started losing.

    What's sad to me is when you go to games now, most of the young people (and lots of older ones too) spend half their time looking at their smart phones instead of watching the game or engaging with other people sitting right next to them. Sigh.


  3. hon2255:

    We need the nice chromed license plate frames that says "Warriors" on the top and "University of Hawaii" on bottom with H logo next to it in green background and white lettering , i went to the UH store, , no mo nothing , they used to sell it now have a junk plastic one that doesnt have this logo . Really dumb marketing mistake , bring it back Uh Athletic dept!!!!


  4. Rich Figel:

    I "accidentally" deleted another comment by someone who says moving the game to Thursday night was "a good move" because it gave UH "national TV exposure." I kid you not. Obviously, this person went to the Ben Jay School of Economics. Conservative estimates peg the financial loss to UH at over $200K in lost ticket sales and revenue from the game itself. Also, if that commenter had actually gone to the game like my wife and I did, he would have seen there were less than 20,000 people in a very sparse crowd -- which does NOT look good on "national TV." Further, he would have gotten home around 11:30 PM like we did on a working day. Many families had to leave the game early because their kids had school the next day and/or they had to go to work early the next morning. So this is a "good move"?

    BTW, in case the commenter doesn't understand that Mainland time is AHEAD OF HAWAII TIME, the starting time of the telecast on the West Coast would have been 10 PM and by the time it finished, it would have been 2 AM PST and 5 AM on the East Coast... yeah, great viewing audience numbers during those hours! But some people just aren't very good at math or telling time I guess.