UH football should cater to average fan, not mainland or elite
THE solution to the athletic problems at the University of Hawaii-Manoa is to return UH football to the fans. Roll back prices to the 1970s level, when the first season ticket sales were initiated. Call this a "new beginning"!
With each new innovation to raise funds, the UH leadership has increased prices and chased the local fans away. It claims it is merely following Division I schools on the mainland. This is crazy. UH is a Division I school in classification only. It does not come close to a Division I football program. The Western Athletic Conference is far off the scale as a Division I football program. UH must struggle to end up in the middle of the pack at the end of the season.
Why mimic Michigan, Notre Dame, Southern Cal? Resorting to corporate sponsorship leads to a mess on the football field with all those corporate signs. Talk about a mess. Corporate sponsorship means paid advertising, not the attraction of football fans. And UH is still in need of financial aid.
Former Athletic Director Hugh Yoshida touted the earlier game starting time to allow UH scores to be posted as an accommodation to East Coast viewers and, thus, to give UH wider publicity. What East Coast viewers will be up at 2:30-3 a.m. to watch for UH scores? And how many top-notch players have enrolled in the UH football program as a result of these scores being posted in the middle of the night? The early start has only resulted in a heightened traffic mess when the football crowd must tangle with the traffic of shoppers returning home in midafternoon.
ROLLING BACK prices to the 1970s' level will bring back local fans and introduce new fans. Season tickets will sell out. Do away with the premium seating charges. Why cater to the haves at the expense of the have-nots? Once the season tickets are sold out, a waiting list will be created. Football will be returned to the local fans. The die-hard fans of the '40s and '50s are no more. UH desperately needs new fans with that dedication and inspired support. Return the game to the local fans.
Under current practice, besides escalating the cost of entertainment, even the pay-per-view fan will become disenchanted because of game selection and increasing fees, as well as any additional fees that might be assessed. That PPV fan was chased away from the stadium and soon will be chased away from his PPV. What next?
Now that UH has been given operational control of Aloha Stadium, give the local fans another break with season parking permits. Under the current program, season parking is sold as a package to the affluent who become members of a non-UH organization. Nonmembers are denied the privilege.
Give us a break. We use the same parking lot to attend the same games. What is the difference? Why the discrimination?
INCIDENTALLY, UH could take a pithy answer from the reformed program instituted by the Los Angeles Angels: reduced ticket prices; reduced season tickets; reduced prices at food concessions; change of name from Anaheim to Los Angeles Angels. Bring the team back to the people. Oahu has a population of less than 1 million. UH's endeavor to institute a program that has a population in excess of 5 million from which to draw is made of wild dreams. Be smart like the Angels. Bring the game to John Q. Fan.
All of us local fans should clamor for the return of UH football to the fans. Be sensible. Be compassionate. We know the players are doing their best. Credit their extraordinary efforts. Given the chance, our fans will give their utmost to support UH. Where is the quid pro quo? We await the new beginning.
T. Bruce Honda lives in Honolulu.