Two Things to Blame for UTEP’s Low Attendance for Football Games
Again there are people wondering why a winning UTEP football team is drawing a half-ful (you can yodel there) Sun Bowl when the last winner (2005) was doing 48,000-ish.
Even a major ticket price discount Saturday barely filled half the seats. And it was a game that meant UTEP would be bowl-eligible with a win – and UTEP was favored, and UTEP clobbered North Texas . The Miners are now bowl-eligible (6-4 with two games to play).
I continue to pound on my reasoning for the low attendance this year, and in recent years. This has been said many times before in my columns, and as a guest of Steve Kaplowitz on KROD’s “Sportstalk.” And this time Channel 7 news anchor Rick Cabrera even asked a question about what I’ve been saying for a few years now: He asked, did El Pasoans even know UTEP was playing on Saturday?
No. El Paso, as a whole, did not. The team has been out of sight, out of mind, for quite a few years now. I blame two things:
1) The Miners don’t advertise that they’re going to be on TV. They seem to want that to be a secret. They are not breeding new fans; kids who ask Dad to “take me to the game” (because the kid saw the Miners on TV and wanted to go to a real game).
This week I had to ask around until somebody in the know said, yes, they will be on TV (Fox Sports 1, which is a basic-Time Warner Cable channel). But I saw no hype.
2) I believe the El Paso media has fouled up, too. The Miners are not the top of the news on newscasts as much as they were in years of yore. The media today sucks up to UTEP. I say more fans would be interested in the team if the both good AND the bad was reported. Keep the Miners in the news. Don’t just stick a mic or a notepad in a coach or player’s face and expect to get an answer the would-be fans will digest as worthwhile.
Stop worrying about upsetting a coach because a pointed question was asked.
This week second-year coach Sean Kugler addressed a question about the attendance drought. He was right when he said his job is to win, and that’s it.
He’s doing his job! Not many UTEP coaches over the last half century have done that.
Bottom line: UTEP has not cultivated fans. There are the elders, but there doesn’t seem to be the 30-somethings – or the kids of 30-somethings asking Dad to “Take me to the game.”
UTEP has lost its fan base.
Answer to Cabrera: No Rick, people in El Paso didn’t know UTEP was playing on Saturday night.