[ UH ATHLETICS ]
UH’s AD says football ticket sales
might not be affected by last
weekend’s loss to FAU
Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier said UH's season-opening football loss to Florida Atlantic at Aloha Stadium on Sept. 4 might not adversely affect ticket sales for future home games.
UH had a bye this weekend, plays at Rice on Saturday and then has the following weekend off again. The next home game is Oct. 2 against Tulsa.
"I think what will happen is people will wait and see what happens with Rice," Frazier said Friday. "Our numbers already look pretty good for Tulsa."
UH announced 39,390 tickets distributed for the 35-28 overtime loss to FAU. The 50,000-seat stadium appeared to be less than two-thirds full. Around 9,000 single-game tickets were sold, Frazier said, and 22,684 season tickets had been sold as of the Wednesday before the game.
Hawaii is now 4-2 in home openers under coach June Jones (including 2001, when UH beat Montana on Maui). The losses, 62-7 to USC in 1999 and 45-20 to Portland State in 2000, were both played in front of announced crowds of 50,000, and both were followed by a substantial drop-off at the following home games.
The 2000 situation was similar to this year's in at least two ways -- the Warriors lost to an underdog opponent that was not a full-fledged Division I-A program, and the next home game was against Tulsa after a three-week break between home games (it is four weeks this year). After a bye and a loss at Texas-El Paso, the Warriors returned home to play the Golden Hurricane and lost 24-14 before an announced attendance of 36,430.
UH is not worried about history repeating itself, Frazier said.
"We sputtered, but there's no alarm on our faces. You won't see any alarm on our head coach's face," Frazier said.
Hawaii also had only one Aloha Stadium game in the first month of the 2001 season, and the Warriors lost it to Rice and fell to 1-2. But UH rebounded and finished the season 9-3.
In related matters:
» Frazier repeated that UH will not schedule non-Division I-A football opponents unless no alternative exists.
The previous administration had scheduled Sacramento State to open this season, and the Hornets backed out. UH got Florida Atlantic as a replacement.
"The institution kind of got blindsided," Frazier said.
» The 2006 opener at Alabama should help the athletic department regain financial stability, Frazier said.
"That was not in our five-year forecast. It gives us some cushion," he said.
Last summer, Frazier presented a plan to the Board of Regents to get the department into the black. UH operated in a $1.4 million deficit the last fiscal year. Appearance guarantees were estimated at $100,000 per year, so the $650,000 UH gets for playing at Alabama is significant.
"Our $21.4 million budget becomes $22 if everything else falls into place," Frazier said. "It's huge.
"We should have been making some kind of decent money when we played at UNLV or USC," Frazier said. "To go on the road, I want money. The stature of our program deserves money, and none of this we go on the road to go on the road."
Frazier wants to schedule one big-name road opponent per year, as well as at least one at home, for the season opener. He is working on home games against UCLA and Kansas (in coordination with men's and women's basketball games), home and away with UNLV, and wants to explore possibilities with Washington and Brigham Young.
Two more nonconference games are needed for 2006.
» The combination of the Mountain West not renewing its contract with ESPN and ESPN starting a new college-sports-only channel is a positive for UH, Frazier said.
"I think we'll get more exposure," he said. "But, again, I also have to protect my home front on what I've got locally."
The UH television contract goes up for bid next year. KFVE owns the rights but is expected to be challenged by cable channel OC-16.
Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson said ESPN will likely ask UH to host a game on a Friday in a future season as part of the new contract between the league and the network. Frazier is strongly against doing so.
"We have not had that conversation," Frazier said. "Not yet."