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Discussion in 'New England Revolution' started by verybdog, Oct 12, 2003.
What's wrong with this picture, and what can be done with it?
i think its due to the outrage of fans early on in the season when we didnt get our leg of the CCC. Plus, 4 o'clock games are bad, especially in gilette, and a midseason slump. Those combinations brought attendence down. Hopefully they (management) can bounce back and increase attendence next year, id love to see 16-17K for an average next year.
For us the stating times have been the biggest problem. 4 pm on Saturday or Sunday always conflicts with a game someone is playing in. Go back to 7 or7:30 on Saturday night.
The obscene amount of double / tripple headers. I know this turned off a ton of people.
All of the above plus the Kraft's attempts to squeeze every last nickel out of those attending the games. If the cost to attend a game goes up (which it has significantly since the move the Gillette), many people are going to attend less games - especially with an economy that's in the tank.
question is, what can we, as supports of this team, do about it? Who can we write or email with our complaints? Would it be possible to get the game times changed to 7 on saturday for next season? I for one would hate to see this team go into the toilet but it does seem like thats were it is headed. Anyone know any millionaires that they can talk into buying the Revs?
"Question is, what can we, as supporters of this team, do about it?"
That's the one that leaves me scratching my head.
The first idea that comes to mind is a letter to the league office outlining fan concerns. It would be far less the typical rant one might find in a forum here, but rather, a more an articulate response to those identifiable issues that are/could be having an adverse impact on attendance.
These issues could include but not be limited to:
* Start times that make it difficult for many individuals and/or groups to make matches.
* The "obscene amount of double / tripple headers."
In some ways one might think such an effort would step on the those standardized end-of-season feedback forms usually trotted out by MLS clubs at the end of the regular season. While those may be good in identifying concerns for purposes of informing the club staff and ownership, it doesn't seem an effective means of alerting MLS executives to matters of concern.
Here's what I would do.
1. Go through the various threads touching on supporters/club issues going back through the start of the season.
2. Come up with a list of the top five fan concerns, especially those which could be having the greatest overall adverse impact on attendance numbers.
3. Outline these in a formal letter to be drafted and composed by a Revolution supporters group - likely the Midnight Riders, but also being hashed out and or co-signed by Rev Army.
4. Along with this formal letter, include a selection of personal letters from individual fans outlining their concerns and experiences. This could be roughly one page in length, putting in their words, what difficulties they've experienced, and what they'd like to see as a means of improving the situation.
5. Send this collection of letters to Don Garber at MLS HQ.
I will say this, while crowd numbers are certainly cause for concern, the Revolution have really made some excellent strides this season in other areas that contribute positively to the match-day experience. Much improved security efforts can be counted as one such example IMHO.
That being understood, in addition to these points raised in the formal letter, it would also make sense to let the league know what is working, what is helping to improve the match-day experience. For one thing, it's only fair, and for another, it presents a more balanced and accurate summary of what's going on.
In the grand scheme of things it might not have any great bearing on the overall issue, but it does represent a proactive step fans can take.
While we may not all agree what the primary matters of concern are, I think we can all agree that we'd like to see an increase in fan support.
Do groups like the Midnight Riders have any influence in the Revs front office? Does management have an open ear to these folks or other supporters? While the product is not the EPL it is far and away better than it was 6 year ago. There is no arguing that. Over 21k fannies in the stands in 97' and in 03 they can can't even get 15k. This after making the finals on 02'. How can anyone running a business look at these numbers and not react. Frankly I feel that this team will not be around much longer. As the league seems to become more stable the Revs seem to be the only team in the league that may fall apart. If Kraft or his manager du jour is not going to put any
effort into running this team and gaining supporters then he should look hard for a buyer. I look at Colorado and say,,,,why can't we do that? what are we doing wrong? This franchise should be the jewel of the league but instead its probably the worst run in the league.
I am unhappy about the 6 PM starts for many games this year. During Spring and Fall youth soccer season this eliminates most families that have a kid playing in a 4 PM game. Up my way that's BU14 - a prime audience for the Rev.
Not to mention the $$$ I lose by not ref'ing the 4 PM games.
anyone know the numbers for 6/6:30 starts opposed to 7/7:30 starts?
It's been said before but I'll say it again...
The attendance has gone down because of:
1. 15 bucks to park your car
2. 6-7 bucks for a small cup of beer
3. 5-6 bucks for a lousy sandwich
4. 3-4 bucks for a soft drink or water
5. 4 bucks for a lemonaid
6. 75 bucks for a team shirt in the pro shop (if available)
I agree. People hate the highway robberies happening inside/outside the stadium. They go there for a reaonable priced soccer game, not for going there to be legally robbed. The robbery has totally negated the good feeling of a soccer game. That makes no business sense and drives people away.
It's the Economy, Stupid
'96-April '00 was boom times, remember? This coincided with a new MLS league with a brand new team in a cheap stadium in a soccer-friendly part of the country, New England. Then, starting with the 2000 season, few average Joe fans had any cash to spend.
First of all, the attendance was expected to go down after the novelty wore off. That this coincided with improving play on the field isn't a shock either. A dip in attendance can be out-grown as teams league-wide get a history, seed rivalries, and grow a supporter base. Teams around the country have had varying experiences with this last part of the equation, but the league isn't old enough to be a "tradition" akin to Sunday football, or the "October Classic." And this rivalry with DCU isn't that old, is it? (I may be wrong here. Just a guess.) You follow me, though. The team has more than twice the number of fans in the seats as did the Breakers, and those fans spend more money on tickets and merchandise. Plus, more folks watch league games on television thanks to a deal with FSW. The league and the franchise are fine. Not quite in the black yet when last I checked, but fairing OK.
To a lesser extent, the let down after the run to the championship could be explained away by pointing to the Conference table at any point this season, except the beginning and here again with one home game to go. A run to the finals seems a flash in the pan, sandwiched as it is between two regular seasons where NE spent more than their share of weekends at the bottom of the standings.
So, it's a bad combination of the league sorting out its core fans, growing markets and contracting markets, overall poor performance on the field, and the sweeping forces of a burst market bubble and a slow recovery.
I have hope that more people in the area today find jobs and decide to spend some money next summer. Next season maybe the club can generate some excitement following on the memory of a deep playoff run (fingers crossed). Maybe they do this by touting the successes of midfield duo Joseph and new-boy Cancela, "who had the Revs rolling as the season wound down. But now strike power is back, as a rested and recovered TNT brings his scoring-leader skills back to the squad." I know it's cheesy, but it's been done before. (The Nets are good? Since when?!?) And if the MLS starts selling the stadium as "The Big Razor," look out.
I'm not worried about the franchise, or the MLS in the larger scheme. Not right now. Anyway, that's my 3¢.
Re: It's the Economy, Stupid
Gee, you would think that with the economy being as bad as you say that you'd only be able to put in the typical 2 cents...
[sorry, I couldn't resist]
1. Don't park in the Kraft lots - it's only 5-10 bucks otherwise.
2-5. Tailgate - drink and eat at supermarket prices.
6. You don't have to buy stuff in the stadium, shop on the internet, save 20-25 bucks.
ECBC - Your suggestions are good and have been mentioned in other threads. The issue is: What is it that alienates the first-time or casual fan?
We regulars know the tricks of the trade--park at Subway, buy a samwidge and bee-uh there for less than half the cost of in the stadium, and go from there.
But the overall attendance is hurt by high prices when the "average" fan doesn't know about these options or finds them inconvenient. A family with a few young kids is far more likely to want to park in the main lot and buy food inside. After the first time, when adding up the day's expense, some of these fans might decide that it's too expensive. Rather than finding other ways to cut corners, these people will just stop coming.
That is what Lou and co. should be concerned with. Nutcases like us will always be there, although there are a lot who used to never miss a game who hardly come at all anymore...
Amen ... you also forgot to add increased ticket price for worse seats then in the old stadium
Add to that lousy atmosphere, dead tailgates, Stadium stinks, security hassles and you have low numbers.
This is the first year I didn't make it to one game. The fun is gone
There are certainly things to complain about, but I find "Stadium stinks" laughable. It's a beautiful facility that was clearly designed with soccer in mind.
Thinking back to the old cement palace, I couldn't see the near sideline from my midfield seats, watched sub-par corner kicks because there was no room to take them, missed a good ten minutes of action if I had to take a kid to the bathroom or get "concessions", sat with a puddle at my feet if it had rained recently, got to enjoy those comfy aluminum benches, had to climb up stairs and then down or down stairs and then up stairs to reach the seats or the concourse, got to cram into the cattle herd to exit the stadium, had to manuever through a jammed up concourse before and after the game and halftime, climb a ridiculous hill from the parking lot, walk a long way from the parking lots, take forever getting out of the lots after the game, and on and on. The sightlines are MUCH better, the surface is bigger and MUCH better - it's just a much better place for soccer.
Atmosphere - that's a joke. There was no lack of atmosphere at Costa Rica - El Salvador! Ask a Patriots fan about atmosphere. That part is "our" responsibility.
I think an equally large issue is: What is it that draws the first-time or casual fan? The only plan in that direction was the ridiculous "they'll come to see the beautiful new stadium, which is worth the price of admission". Does anyone see any effort at all from the Revs management to bring in new fans? I don't. If they made a decent effort, they'd probably see a return of the "former fans".
Stadium Sucks - it sucks on various levels. The cheap seats in the old stadium you were closer to the field and unless the action was on the same side, far corner, you could see everything very well. Every seat in the house was a good seat. When I go now am well behind the net and feel too far removed from the game. The seats are more comfortable for the yuppies that now occupy them then the concrete was in the old place.
Atmosphere - There is none, it's gone. Tailgates are dead. In the old days the tailgates were fun. Once the rows were closed off to traffic, the cooking, music, flags flying and the kicking of soccer balls around were great fun. The closeness of the rows and cars made for a big party atmosphere. The last time I went, there was almost nobody tailgating, no music, and it was BORING. Inside the stadium, it's like watching a golf match. People sit, drink they're overpriced beer and are quiet. The stadium itself seems to eat sound and makes the place feel like a morgue
I truely believe that the declining attendance is due to the following:
1) Prices - It is no longer cheap to take your kids to a soccer game. While I can afford it if I want to, I'm sure many can't. I've noticed a big change it who's going to the games. In the old, fun days, there was a lot of ethinic groups going and it was these groups that created the atmopsphere with the food, music and flags. They're largely gone now
2) Atmosphere- Why would I want to drop a pile of money on what's no longer fun? I can sit in my living room, drink a 6-pack that costs less then one beer in the stadium and not have to drive an hour after waiting an hour, to get out of the parking lot.
The Revs are in a death spiral and I don't see anything changing it. The best think they could do is to start playing in a smaller stadium and drop their prices. Something like Columbus or LA has would be the best solution for the Revs
I used to have a flex package, but have since stopped getting it, mainly due to not being able to attend games. But I still attend 2-3 games a year and usually when I do so I bring along a group of other who may otherwise not have ever gone to a game. The problem is that these people aren't really soccer fans and didn't care so much about watching a game as they did hanging out and since the atmosphere sucked so bad they didn't ever go again. The one exception to this was going to MLS Cup last year. Since then my wife regularly watches games and is usually up for going to matches. She was excited about the intense atmosphere of the match and the idea that all matches could be like that. If they can improve the atmosphere in the stadium it makes the enjoyment level of the game go up and inturn makes the non-devotees want to come back for more. No one wants to go to an empty stadium and watch an uninspiring match.
That explains why the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics are doing so poorly at the gate, too.
"That explains why the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics are doing so poorly at the gate, too."
... and of course this explains why the Revolution share equal status with those other sports franchises mentioned above, also sharing an equal amout of general fan interest and how they spend their money.
Totally agree. Maybe my fanny would get sore at a 4 hour football game but I'd take those midfield category II seats on the aluminum benchs for 2 hours over the Gillette Category II seats in a heartbeat.
I know the economy is tough but other cities are actually improving attendance. $5/beer in Foxboro was outrageous. $6.50 now is just insulting. Yes there are ways to cut down on costs but, for me, it lowers my overall enjoyment. I want to drink a beer or two while I watch! Plus, parking in a cheap lot and walking is fine if you have the time. If you are arriving late, you want to park close so you don't miss any game. Those start times impact that.
I wait longer in food lines at Gilette than I ever did at Foxboro with higher attendance. Why is that?
Atmosphere is much worse, due largely to the fact that about 1/2 as many people are showing up.