The information age is killing UH attendance
THE local favorite, Bob Nash, was recently hired as the new head coach of the University of Hawaii basketball team. Like the coaches of all major sports at UH, Nash has many difficult tasks ahead.
First, of course, he has to win. He also has to ensure that his players are of good character. However, perhaps most important is that he has to put warm bodies in the seats, i.e., increase attendance at the Stan Sheriff Center.
It is this last item that could prove most vexing. Attendance at all UH sporting events has been in decline over the past few years, regardless of the relative success of the teams. Numerous pundits have posited reasons for this decline, but we think it's pretty clear that the information age has contributed greatly to this.
Formerly the "only game in town," UH sports now face competition from a seemingly endless list of other Division I athletic events.
Of course, none of the other local colleges or universities compete at the Division I level -- not in person anyway. But since the advent of the information age, the availability of such events via television and the Internet has increased tremendously. Perhaps of equal importance, detailed information about the teams and events is available to everyone on the Web, not just the readers of the local papers or listeners of the local talk shows.
Think about it: In the old days, local fans of mainland schools were pretty much limited to what was available in the newspaper. And if your team was not in the top 25, nor in the WAC, nor a UH opponent, you likely wouldn't hear anything about them. On any given weekend, you were lucky to catch three to four games in all, and even luckier to catch your team. Weeknight games were unheard of.
Nowadays, however, between national and local media Web sites, information is limitless.
Depending on your cable- or satellite-TV provider, you basically get too many games to watch, at least in the major sports. This is where the competition is coming from.
What lessons can other businesses and organizations take from this?
Keep abreast of technological advances that make it easier to enter your industry. If technology presents you with new ways of delivering your product, consider that it also makes it just as easy for your competition.
As we've seen, a quality product is helpful (just win baby!), but there are almost always some aspects of your product or service that are out of your control.
is president of ISDI Technologies Inc., a Honolulu-based IT consultancy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org