Drake Hits Record-Low Home Attendance, Shrugs It Off


Drake Hits Record-Low Home Attendance, Shrugs It Off

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LurkingDog
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If you're reading this, you're probably one of the nuisances who keep showing up for football games.  Drake would rather you stay home and let them play a closed scrimmage.  2,163 was Drake's official per game attendance in 2017, the lowest ever for a Drake D-I team playing its home games on Forest Avenue.

Not only did Drake fail to draw fans, it didn't even care enough to update its attendance figures from the previous year.

What happened?  No doubt Drake's failure to prepare for the last two home openers helped kill the fan base.  Someone forgot to tell the coaches that college football doesn't have an exhibition season.

Is Drake doing anything to get students and locals into the stadium in October-November?  It's a shame that getting a fan turnout requires a trip to China.



Lime
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so the actual number was 1,963. 
LurkingDog
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Lime - 2/13/2018
so the actual number was 1,963. 

Holy Leakage, Batman!

Only Jacksonville (1,849) was lower in the PFL.  If you've ever been to JU, you know that it would barely pass as a small high school's field.

Drake finished second in the league standings.  Gotta do better with fans.



Bulldog2323
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If you surveyed not only Drake area residents, but Des Moines area residents and Drake Students, the majority of them would tell you Drake is a D3 or NAIA team. They have no idea.

Probably didn't help Iowa State had an unexpected good season.
LurkingDog
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Bulldog2323 - 2/17/2018
If you surveyed not only Drake area residents, but Des Moines area residents and Drake Students, the majority of them would tell you Drake is a D3 or NAIA team. 

Drake attendance doesn't even match actual D-III teams such as Central, Wartburg, and Coe.  



fcsbulldog
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One thing that the football team tried doing a few years ago was giving away free passes to some of the games. The players would bring the ticket vouchers to local schools, farmers market, etc.  I believe the idea was to get people to the games, maybe buy some concessions and then hopefully they come back for future games.  From what I could tell, the athletic dept didn't back this at all, and the idea fell flat on its face - which is a shame, considering the idea might have brought in some faces other than families and girlfriends
DLSavage
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It doesn't help that Des Moines local news when reporting on Drake Football makes sure to point out the non-athletic scholarship aspect every single time. 
 
LurkingDog
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DLSavage - 3/11/2018
It doesn't help that Des Moines local news when reporting on Drake Football makes sure to point out the non-athletic scholarship aspect every single time. 
 

True.  I wish they would put a positive spin on it.  One of their columnists should challenge an Ivy League school (also nonscholarship) to play in DSM.  First Ivy Leaguers to show up get a butter cow, courtesy of the Register.


https://wtop.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Butter_Cow_Things_To_Know_31208-717x485.jpg




dudistance
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If we do an annual home and home series with UNI it would guarantee over 10k for that game everyother year. UNI has only 4 home games this year, so they may be open to the idea again. Rumor it was offered by UNI in the past and Sandy turned it down.

I realize the obvious disadvantage to playing UNI, but look at the Iowa-ISU series. Iowa dominated for many years. ISU still played it for the relevance and money. Now Iowa wants to cancel because ISU is winning. If we win 1 of every 10 it would be a success.

Also, we need to hype up games vs. long-time rivals Dayton, San Diego, Butler, and new MVC member Valpo more.
fcsbulldog
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I think a home-home against UNI would be a double edged sword, especially early on in the year.

Pros-
Draw a big crowd, generate some additional hype and money

Cons-
1. Looking back to past years, Drake has been awful against MVFC teams (UNI, SDSU, USD, WIU to name a few).  If students come out to see a Drake-UNI matchup, they are going to see a one sided a$$ kicking (2012 final score 45-14, with UNI's backups playing the entire second half.  Drake simply cannot consistently be competitive against those schools.
2. If Drake gets blown out by an in-state opponent in a similar fashion to the 60+ point loss to USD last year, those kids will not come to another Drake football game.  The word around campus is that Drake football is non scholarship, therefore not any good.  Getting annihilated by UNI would only reinforce those students idea.  
3. Injuries.  Drake just doesnt have the guys to go toe to toe with a Valley school. Sure you may have some guys, like a Saubert, Acree, Park, Morehead, etc., but across the board our kids just cant keep up physically, which can lead to injuries that could ruin the conference championship run

Thus we live in the purgatory known as Drake Football / the Pioneer Football League!



LurkingDog
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fcsbulldog - 3/14/2018

3. Injuries.  Drake just doesnt have the guys to go toe to toe with a Valley school. Sure you may have some guys, like a Saubert, Acree, Park, Morehead, etc., but across the board our kids just cant keep up physically, which can lead to injuries that could ruin the conference championship run



Even when they manage to slug it out with a fully-funded FCS, the physical effect can be a killer.  The Dogs gave North Dakota a great game in '15, but couldn't put healthy players on the field the following week against South Dakota (0-52).

I'm content waiting to challenge the big schools in the playoffs.  I don't see the team learning anything from these beatdowns.





LurkingDog
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At this point, the problem with playing UNI is that Drake has traditionally dominated the series.  Even after pissing away several games to UNI in the Pioneer league era, it's still 25-21-1 in favor of Drake.  Many of the older Bulldog football alumni understandably feel disrespected that Drake is allowing UNI to rewrite history against nonscholarship players.  I'm not a football alum, but I share those feelings.

It's great to remind UNI people that they have a losing record against Drake.  If we're going to give that up that distinction, make UNI earn it against a 63-scholarship Drake team (as if...).



Bulldog2323
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Most people I've talked to think $12 is too much for a single game ticket. $5 maybe, but a lot of people I've talked to said they would only go if they were free.
dudistance
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Football fan bases are built around game environment inside & outside of the stadium, rivalries, and the hope to go somewhere warm at season end (i.e. postseason tie-ins). Studies have shown more people go to college football games for the "party atmosphere" and "school loyalty" than the game itself. 

If Drake can improve those game day aspects along with offering promotions to alumni, companies, the community, etc it will go a long way in improving attendance. 



Too much school spirit
Too much school spirit
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dudistance - 3/26/2018
Football fan bases are built around game environment inside & outside of the stadium, rivalries, and the hope to go somewhere warm at season end (i.e. postseason tie-ins). Studies have shown more people go to college football games for the "party atmosphere" and "school loyalty" than the game itself. 

If Drake can improve those game day aspects along with offering promotions to alumni, companies, the community, etc it will go a long way in improving attendance. 



For me personally, after attending every football game while I was in school for marching band, I didn't go to another game till 3 years after I graduated because we decided to tailgate and drink beer for a game. The game was terrible but the tailgating was a blast and easy to do in comparison to going to a power conference event. There's always great freshmen turnout for the first game but hardly any return, because a dining hall "tailgate" meal and a free tshirt once isn't selling anybody on the experience. I know Drake can't promote for its students to get drunk but I think cultivating a party atmosphere and making the games an event the students want to be at for more than just a game is the key here, but I dunno how you accomplish that with how Drake is set up. 

dudistance
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If tailgating and house parties are allowed/encouraged - the drinking part will take care of itself. 

Another idea would be to estabolish a fan zone similar to the ones at NCAA events for all game day ticket holders. Invite local food vendors (like the ones at Relays) and maybe some of the Iowa craft beer brewers (for those over 21). Have a kids area for families and a place to watch other games until the Drake game starts. You could even invite local bands to play that students recognize.   

I've even heard ideas of a shuttle from court avenue to the stadium.
GO


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