Blog Entry

Dear Gary (on fans at early season tournaments)

Posted on: November 24, 2008 11:25 am

Here's Monday's Dear Gary ...
Dear Gary: Did you watch the Xavier-Memphis game in the finals of the Puerto Rico Tip-off on Sunday night? While it was a great game, the arena was maybe a fourth full. Does the number of early season tournaments need to diminish?

-- Steven

In a word, no.

And you're looking at this all wrong.

Because as long as ESPN is willing to televise the games then the tournaments will survive because programs will line up to take part regardless of how many fans may or may not be in the crowd. In other words, the crowds don't matter. This is all about television, plain and simple. I mean, why do you think the Puerto Rico Tip-off and Paradise Jam both played Friday and Sunday, but not Saturday? It's because all of Saturday's TV spots were taken by college football. So basketball had to wait until ESPN could accommodate it. Similarly, it's why the Maui Invitational starts the day after the Puerto Rico Shootout ends, and why the Old Spice Classic starts the day after the Maui Invitational ends. It's all designed to give ESPN programming every day of the week, and nobody really cares if the arenas are full or empty or whatever. That's all beside the point because the point for ESPN is to have programming and the point for the teams is to get on ESPN.

Honestly, you could put a tournament in Turkey, and programs would make the trip if ESPN offered to televise it.

That's how important television is in college basketball.

Everything else ranks a distance second.

Fans in seats, included.

Category: NCAAB

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: November 24, 2008 12:17 pm

Dear Gary (on fans at early season tournaments)

I agree 100% that television is the engine behind all of the preseason tournaments.  As far as the stands being empty, this is pretty common with all tournaments.  There are 8 teams represented and the fans went to Puerto Rico to vacation and the game was their excuse to book the trip.  Get up late, have a couple pina colatas, watch your team play its game and hit the beach or go check out the fort.  Yea, you might have planned to see another game between two teams you really don't care about but it might make you late for your dinner reservations at the Chart House.  Yea, you said that you were going to make the early game but that nap just sounded better.

Would you really go to Puerto Rico and spend all of your time in a gym watching and endless supply of basketball games?  Not me.  I'l go watch my team play.  Watch the team that beat mine play in the Championship?  I don't think so.

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