The one that I stayed with during the CWS. He’s somewhat of a Nebraska fan (went to Iowa) but probably as much of a Hog fan owing to his family down here.
But it got me thinking. Nebraska has sold out every home game since I was a small child. They’re proud of that fact. Cupcake or Ohio State, doesn’t matter. It’s sold out and virtually all of them get used.
Many of our fans, on the other hand, seem to be proud that we DON’T sell out. Like they can only be bothered to attend if we’re good and the opponent is good. It wasn’t always that way. Are we that spoiled as a fan base or do we just have some extremely stubborn people?
NU was very good for a long time, true, but even in the lean years they still sell out. We, uh, don’t.
Sellout streak in Lincoln now at 361, since 1962 (I was 2). Our non-sellout streak is now several.
Tonight in Lincoln: Full stadium for Scott Frost’s first game, lightning in the area as the opening kickoff took place, they never ran a play from scrimmage, eventually cancelled. Game rescheduled for tomorrow morning at 10:30 per Fox Sports tweet. But the sellout streak goes on.
I am not sure what the cultural differences are between Arkansas and Nebraska…as I have never stepped foot in Nebraska. But I will offer this observation: a distinct segment of our fanbase seem to almost relish protesting more than supporting. I guess their lack of attendance is an act of protest. The glee among some as we embarrassed ourselves nationally during the Nutt/Gus/Springdale situation was stunning.
I certainly doubt Nebraskans are more loyal as people. Arkansans are very loyal I believe. But we are clannish. Like most Scotch-Irish groups of people. (I say this as someone that has lots of Scotch-Irish blood). And we seem to love the act of the protest.
I think you’re on to something. Look at the board today; heck, every game day in every sport. Positive posts are far outweighed by criticisms, complaints, whatever you want to call them. It’s like these people are allergic to being positive in any way. You’d think we lost by 35. And it’s often the same people every week. Guess those would be the same type of people who went to the lake today instead of using their tickets, or won’t buy tickets at all until we’re winning 8 a year, or something.
I can’t back this up, but off the top of my head . . . I think it’s because so many of our ticket-holders (or those who don’t own season tickets but have the resources to - or to buy single game tickets any time they want to) are what I would label “nouveau Arkansas”. In other words, they weren’t to the manner born, as it were.
Walmart’s success is great, and has brought a LOT of ancillary industry growth and population to the area. And, there’s “nothing wrong” with those folks. It’s just that (unlike most of us who post here} they didn’t grow up in the state, along with Uncles, Dads, cousins, Mothers, Aunts etc. who ALL pulled for the Razorbacks. It’s not in their blood. We’re just the local team.
So, a lot of them are band-wagoners. When we’re good, they come to the games. When we’re not, they stay away.
We have a big core of solid, dyed-in-the-wool Razorback fans. But perhaps, not enough to fill a 76K stadium and all of the boxes on a regular, game-in-and-game-out basis. Just a population thing.
Nebraska has less than 2 million people. We have a million more. Yet they sell out 90,000 every week – close to 5 percent of the state’s population (RRS is slightly over 2.5% of ours). Yes, their population center is in eastern Nebraska not too far from campus (60 miles from Omaha to Lincoln), and that helps. But they also have fans who drive from Scottsbluff, which is a time zone and 400 miles away (basically like Tennessee fans who drive to Knoxville from Memphis). The longest drive within Arkansas, from Lake Village to RRS, is 80 miles less. And the NWA/Fort Smith population cluster is not much smaller than the Omaha-Lincoln cluster.
I keep coming back to what I see on this board: People who see it as a badge of honor to complain and criticize. Anyone positive is derided as a “sunshine pumper” or worse, but looking for only the negative and ignoring anything positive is seen as “keeping it real”. Maybe there is that kind of fan in Nebraska too. But that type of fan in Nebraska, it seems, still buys the tickets and uses them.
No, I wasn’t there today. Right now tickets are not financially feasible for me; the only reason I went to Omaha is I had a free place to stay (and he picked up my ticket for the first game). Otherwise I’d have been there today.
The answer is Nebraska has a hell of a lot more football tradition. 5 real national titles, with 2 or 3 more recently in the 90s. The Nebraska fans that still go to games remember the taste of true success. And Nebraska has sort of recently I think played in a conference title game.
Arkansas, on the other hand, only has an arguable national title in 64 that very few fans who can still attend games actually remember. And Arkansas has a way of mis-managing its athletic affairs (keeping Nutt too long, Petrino handling and firing, John L. disaster, stupid Bielema contract extension, crappy basketball in post Nolan era) and then choking away big games (69 UT game, Stoerner, Reggie Fish, recent CWS debacle) that all gives fans a sense of uncertainty and even hopelessness.
Lots of good Hog fans on this board. Arkansas in general, has good fans. See basketball. Arkansas has done nothing in basketball and yet fans show up pretty good. It’s because they remember. They remember real success.
Someone needs to give Razorback football fans a sense of hope and something to remember. Once they have that, you will see better and more consistent attendance. Otherwise, these home games are basically just a social gathering for those, in this very poor state, who can afford it and who aren’t in the deer or duck woods.
You can ask fans to create false enthusiasm all you want. But that’s a fool’s errand. Not going to happen. Hope is what matters to Arkansas football fans. Just give them hope.
I think there are several factors that contribute to the difference.
One is what Wiz noted. Many of the people living in NW Ark are new to the area & have no real feelings of loyalty to the UA. Some might have become fans, but they’re probably not the rabid sort. A hot Saturday against a no-name opponent won’t attract those.
Two is what hogjawbend said. The glory years of Razorback football were the 60’s & 70’s. We were good, but not great in the 80’s. Since 1990 we’ve had a few pretty good years, but we’ve had a bunch of mediocre or worse years. Our last really good year was 2011 (& that was the first one in about 15 years). Since 2011 we’ve been terrible for the most part. Two “okay” seasons. That’s hard to generate enthusiasm. Nebraska’s “lean years” have been fewer & farther between and they’ve had several great years within the past 3 decades.
Third is simple geography. I’d bet 80% or more NU fans live within 75 miles of the stadium. The vast majority of our fans live more than 100 miles away. The largest concentration of fans live in the Little Rock area, 200 miles away. Many ticket-buying hog fans live 250 miles or more away. Forrest City, Paragould, Jonesboro, Pine Bluff, El Dorado…
This is a huge issue with a major portion of the Arkansas population
I’ve lived in every corner of this great state at one time or another. It’s not a south. central northeast or northwest problem. With the TV access that’s available I get it.
Although I’m blessed to be a season ticket holder at a very low level, my expense for the game yesterday was around $250 for two people, that’s a months worth of groceries for some folks…
Overall, Arkansas is a poor state and in order to have the “fan experience,” prices for everything has continually increased to the point many have been priced out of the market, not just with Arkansas sports but most entertainment. Concert tickets for big names and good seats start at $150–for a family of four that represents a good down payment on a vacation. Same with Hog tickets. I’m sure if the Hogs win, they will come, but same of the Hogs’ biggest fans simply cannot afford it. It is what it is. Nebraska has the same kind of fans, but apparently they have enough that can afford it to keep the sellouts going.
Money is indeed a factor. That also plays into the fact that those who live far away from the stadium have a harder time getting to a game. If one lives within 50 miles of the stadium, there is very little cost for gas. Almost no need to eat at a restaurant. Live 200-250 miles from the stadium then gas, meals, & sometimes lodging become major factors. Add the cost of a ticket (or 4 tickets) & going to a game can range from $500 up. I’ve gone to games that cost close to $1,000 by the time I spent two nights, ate 3-4 meals, & bought tickets in the premium seats. When you start realizing how much it costs, it make you re-think going.
I know fans from LR that drive up and back. I’m sure some Neb fans drive 2-3 hours to and from to watch the Huskers.
Arkansas fans are passionate, but not enough to fill the stadium. As far as Arkansas being negative, I’m sure Neb fans are much the same when things are going bad. They haven’t been the Neb of old since joining the Big 10 so I would bet their message boards have been pretty tough at times.
Oh, quite a few drive up & back. I’ve done it myself. But much depends on the starting time. An 11:00 a.m. kickoff & many don’t want to get up that early. A late kickoff & many won’t drive back. So then it comes down to a decision to spend the money for the hotel or not.
I’m sure many NU fans do drive 2-3 hours, but I’d bet the number who have to drive that far is much lower than the Razorback fans who do. Almost all the population of Nebraska is in the SE corner of the state—where Lincoln & Omaha are. Those two cities are less than 50 miles apart. Many more Arkansas fans live much farther from the stadium. And many live farther away than Little Rock. It’s not a question of whether some NU fans drive that far, but whether very many have to. In Arkansas a much higher percentage has to drive that far or farther.
Where there’s a will there’s a way. South Carolina has 5 mil and they fill 80 plus stadiums at SC and Clemson. We can debate the all of the reasons, but Arkansas fans just aren’t good about filling seats.