Use creativity, promos to draw UH football fans
PRICE increases for University of Hawaii football games are just one of the reasons fans are not renewing their season tickets. Many of us would gladly pay the premiums if we felt the game experience was worth the cost. Just look at what people are willing to pay for major concerts here, or trips to Las Vegas where shows can cost $100 per seat or more.
What's missing at UH is any sense of creativity or imagination. Their idea of a "special promotion" is discounting ticket prices for seats they can't sell. The big half-time show for last year's homecoming game featured guys in pizza slice costumes playing mock football with other corporate mascots in foam suits. Wow.
So here are a few suggestions that no doubt will be ignored by Coach June Jones and Athletic Director Herman Frazier:
» Give season ticket holders better incentives to renew. For instance, no charge for pay-per-view TV broadcasts of away games that won't be shown live on free TV. Why not throw a bone to your best supporters?
» Offer "alcohol free" zones in the premium sections for those who are fed up with drunks.
» Change the pre-game music inside the stadium, for crying out loud. It's boring. Encourage fans to submit suggestions. And fix the sound levels! At times, the bass is so loud that it could cause elderly fans to lose control of their bowels.
» Let Costco take over the food concessions. Better quality at cheaper prices. The stadium could charge double or triple Costco's regular prices to make the same amount of profit, and it would still be a better deal for fans. They also should drop the ludicrous "No bottlecaps for you" rule, which is supposedly intended to prevent us from using water bottles as lethal projectiles. Yes, water drinkers are notorious for that type of behavior.
» Create promotions with a theme tied to specific teams and dates. For instance, this year's home opener is against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. Have a drawing for free trips to Vegas at half-time. On Halloween weekend, offer prizes to students who come in the best costume. Make that the "Back in Black" night for the team and fans. Tie in pre-game music to those theme nights.
» Change up half-time a bit. Whatever happened to the Pearl City marching band? They put on shows that were sometimes better than the game! The UH band is good, but adding some new routines wouldn't hurt. How many times can you listen to old Chicago or Earth, Wind and Fire tunes from the '70s? Unless it's for ...
» Retro-Night: Homecoming should be a blast from the past. A time to remember great teams and former student-athletes. Let June have his "Warriors" uniforms for all the other games. But give longtime fans one game where we can see them in the green and white 'Bows uniforms. The NFL has Throwback games and generates huge sales for "old school" apparel. Big-time colleges like Florida are doing it, too. Why can't we?
» Bring back the "Let's Go 'Bows!" cheer. I don't care if a coach with a girl's name is concerned his team will be made fun of because "Rainbows" doesn't sound manly enough. It didn't seem to bother great players like Jeff Ulbrich, Ma'a Tanuvasa and many others who were proud of the university's traditions. What would have bothered them more is the lack of cheering evident now, and the growing sentiment that this is no longer Hawaii's team. Go 'Bows!
Rich Figel, an award-winning screenwriter, lives in Kailua.