I grew up in Arkansas and have attended many games in WMS, but have lived out of state for most of my adult life. I have no dog in this fight.
Having watched the Razorback game on Thursday night with 36,000 plus or minus in attendance, someone please, euthanize the so-called WMS issue and put an end to the misery. Honestly, in today’s world, the stadium is an eyesore to begin with. I remember some red/white games as a kid with almost as many in attendance as Thursday night’s game.
The argument for keeping a game in Little Rock to appease fans in south and central Arkansas has no merit when gaping holes of empty seats are seen throughout the stadium, regardless of the opponent. Wally Hall, Little Rock seems to believe that only the “bean counters” were unhappy. I would beg to differ. As an avid Razorback fan, the “support” shown in Little Rock the other night was embarrassing.
Wally went on to say that other factors may have played an influence such as the weather, a Thursday night game and the opponent. Yada, yada. If one of the top tiered teams in the SEC had played the game, it would have been sold out, regardless of weather, day of the week and opponent. To his credit, Wally Hall, Little Rock also remembered that the Georgia game in 2014 was not a sellout. Wally, Little Rock tells us that the debate involving WMS “rages” on. I would suspect that Wally and folks like him are trying their best to promote the debate and perhaps in a self serving kind of way.
WMS has served its purpose. It has a storied past. However, if Arkansas is truly going to rise in the most fanatical and competitive conference in the country, playing on the SEC network in an old, decrepit stadium with a third of the seats glaringly on empty should be an immediate thing of the past.
No matter the condition of the stadium, no matter how many showed up, the most important point to me is this is still an away game for us! Our guys have to travel just like the other team. Our guys have to sleep in a strange bed just like the other team. We lose the advantage of having a home game!
We all know college football today has become big business because it usually has to fund other sports. Some fans outrage that games in Fayetteville are social events are not being honest because college football is by nature a social event for fans!
Bama a number of years ago decided to stop playing games in Birmingham which is also in the northern part of the state. Do you not think that fans in Mobile would love games played in Montgomery? Sure they would be Bama still has great fan support throughout the state because that is what fans do. The best thing Arkansas do is finally put a stake in the heart of this issue and say goodbye to LR. Thanks for the memories but hopefully we’ll build new and greater memories in Fayetteville!
I’m in total agreement with the 2 previous posts on the embarrassing crowd or lack of crowd that didn’t fill this old, small and out of date stadium.
This needs to end as soon as the current contract ends next season, their is no reason to continue this on the basis as tradition or giving the fans from the south and central parts of the state an opportunity to see the Razorbacks in person.
We are in and have been in the biggest and badest football conference in the country for 25 years and we had better start looking like we belong and understand that continuing to play before 36,000 not sold out stadium in Little Rock does nothing but hurt the program and certainly couldn’t be a selling feature to any recruit.
I’ve been calling for the stoppage of games in Little Rock for years now, but I believe they should and will stop once the contract concludes after next season.
I wouldn’t keep that game next season as a conference game however and if those in Little Rock don’t like that then they should tell them it’s a nonconference game or no game at all and pay a contractual penalty.
move the Texas A&M games back to campus also. Why have a home game in Little Rock or Dallas. Makes no sense. You sure don’t want to play a conference game in Little Rock. You put last years A&M game in Fayetteville and our fans help you pull that one out! It’s safer for fans on the hill too! Watch the news a little and see how safe Little Rock is ! I stay out of the capital city!
Why build and expand on the hill and not use the facilities. If you want a high profile game get OU to play in Dallas! I would like to see that.
Several good commentaries on this thread, but yours caught my eye, Army Hog. There was a time when I was all for playing A&M in Arlington, but since the Ags have joined the conference, that time has passed. I would agree, brother. We should go home and home with them. Schedule another annual and marquee non conference game in Jerry’s world and the Razorbacks make two trips to Texas every other year. Good for recruiting and we also reclaim our home field advantage when the Aggies come to Fayetteville.
I agree that the Texas A&M game should no longer be a neutral site event. It began as the SWC Classic which was intended to be Arkansas vs Texas, but the Horns would have nothing to do with it as it was to close on the calendar to the Red River Showdown with Oklahoma.
So, what I would like to see is a rotational schedule between the Hogs, TCU, Houston, Texas Tech and Baylor. If we can schedule Texas once in a while that would be nice too. No need to schedule Rice or SMU beacuse their programs wouldn’t be a media draw for such an event. However, we could schedule both of them to come to Fayetteville for a nonconference home game rather than playing FAMU or Coastal Carolina.
As for putting Oklahoma on our schedule every year, be careful of what you wish for because if and most likely when the conference expands to 16 schools you can count on seeing them every year because they will be the next to join the SEC when it expands again and it will.
I grew up in Little Rock in the 1960’s and I remember the great games played by the Hogs in War Memorial Stadium. I am a lifelong fan, but I now have lived in Memphis,TN for many years. I realize it was a lower division team, but it was embarrassing to see all of the empty seats on Thursday night. Even if it was a Thursday night game, this was our Hogs! We are in the best conference in the country, but fans in Little Rock did not do the SEC nor our team proud in not selling out the game. Don’t our fans have the same pride as Alabama and LSU fans? I know we do, but you couldn’t prove it by all the empty seats that were on display in Little Rock for an SEC Network audience to see.
I can understand fans in Central Arkansas and southern Arkansas wanting more games to be played in Little Rock. But they didn’t make a good case for games there by not showing up for a game that was played there.
Alabama used to play some games in Birmingham. Ole Miss used to play some games in Jackson. Now neither does. Arkansas’s best chance for success may be To play all their games in Fayetteville, which gives it the best possible home advantage, even though it is not centrally located in the state. LSU is not centrally located in Louisiana either. But it would not consider playing a home game outside of Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, where it enjoys such a formidable home field advantage.
Relatively few people can see a game live in Little Rock. The majority of us have to see the games on TV. I don’t want to make citizens in the city that I grew up in angry, but I believe all Razorback home games should be played in Fayetteville. Our best chance of winning an SEC Championship is playing home games in Fayetteville where we have a much bigger home advantage than in Little Rock.
So much short sighted stupidness in this thread. People in NWA live in their lilly white castles and look down their noses at Little Rock and War Memorial Stadium. I completely understand the financial repurcussions of playing games in Little Rock. The UA loses money ($1,000,000 a game last I heard.) However this whole thing has been poorly managed. The UA not wanting to alienate the big money donors in LR and southern Arkansas decided to extend the contract with WMS but then turned around and gave less and crappier games. Again I get the financial realities but that move (less games and crappy opponnts) made the central/south Arkansas fan base not give a shit. The writing was on the wall and it showed in attendance and lackluster crowds.
Some will and have said WMS is a dump, fair enough it is, now. In 1958 when Frank Broyles took over the program WMS was only 10yrs old and held 54,000 fans while Razorback Stadium was a true shithole holding 38,000 fans. Broyles saw the realities of unifing the state and recruiting and fund raising state wide so the UA played 3-4 games a year in WMS thru the first big expansion of Razorback Statium in the 80’s.
Today Razorback Stadium is a showcase stadium I think is as good or better than any in the SEC and I fully believe all games should be moved to Fayetteville but do not forget or lessen the support given for so many years. The reality is that the UA will now have a harder time recruiting and fundraising in Central and South Arkansas, it won’t happen immediately but it will happen. Broyles so many years ago saw it just like he later saw the best thing for the UA was to leave the SWC.
Most everyone has good, logical plus & minuses on this sensitive subject. My 2 personal comments are number #1 It’s very sad that ALL the Razorback fans in and around the states capital city will no longer be able to watch the Hogs play. That adds to the saying you don’t know what you’ve got 'til it’s gone…but what a steep price for fans to have to pay. Secondly,and perhaps more importantly… especially with his keen fore-sight,I wonder what JFB’s input would be? peace out & WOO PIG
I totally agree DawgTown. WM and It’s faithful carried and covered Fayetevilles’ behind for a number of years. The appreciation should be returned. And yes, wm is rundown but use some SEC money and re-vamp it
As I recall, JFB wanted to move all the games to Fayetteville as soon as the stadium was expanded in 2001 which is basically what triggered the GSD. So I think that answers your question.
Also, it’s a severe exaggeration to say all of the fans around Little Rock will be cut out. First, WMS only seats 53,000+ and it hasn’t been full lately. Second, the population of Central, Southern and Eastern Arkansas is a heck of a lot more than 53,000 so only a small fraction of the people in those areas got to take advantage anyway even when the stadium was full. Third, there are still a lot of people in Central, Southern and Eastern Arkansas who have tickets in Fayetteville so they haven’t been cut out.
I don’t believe the UA should revamp WMS that is on LR. LR has gladly accepted the fees charged and the revenue generated over the years without doing any major updates much less upgrades. Yes I realize the state actually controls WMS but LR only recently with the onus of losing games made any real effort to do anything to keep upgrade. My only issue is that some have a F! WMS and F! LR attitude not realizing that WMS and Little Rock helped build the program from the joke it was to a all time top 20 program.
WMS is located in a city park but it is not city-owned. The state of Arkansas built it, owns it and runs it (stadium management has been moved into the state Department of Parks and Tourism, now directed by former Democrat-Gazette writer Kane Webb). Want to blame someone, blame the state. The city was and is in no position to do anything to fix up the stadium even if it had wanted/been able to do so. Of course, the problem is that the state is not able to do anything either. They’ve been patching it with little bond issues covered by what little revenue was coming in. Why it took them so many decades to start pursuing events like the Guns ‘n’ Roses concert last month (and the resulting revenue) is beyond me.
Oh, by the way, LR doesn’t get the revenue from stadium events either, including Razorback games. The state does.
In other words, your contention that LR is responsible for the situation is garbage. Little Rock does not have the legal right to repair/expand/modernize the stadium, not any more than you have the right to build an addition on your next-door neighbor’s garage.
To be clear the city of LR has reaped benefits thru taxes and fees and the money generated into the local economy for the what 70 years the UA has played games at War Memorial. If the city truly wanted something done (improvements, upgrades etc.) it would have worked harder but really didn’t do anything. It all may have been for naught in the end as the financial realities of playing in WMS would have necessitated all games being moved.
You continue to miss the point. The city does not own the stadium. It could not do a damn thing to improve/upgrade unless it bought WMS from the state. Could it have done that? Maybe.
I continue to believe that if the state had done something in the Holtz or Hatfield eras, when WMS was sold out every night, to expand WMS to 65,000 or more, GSD might never have happened. But the expansion never was even seriously considered.
De Jesus Christo. I haven’t missed a damn thing. I posted in my original post that LR does not control WMS. My point that your obtuse brain misses is that the powers that be LR the city, big money boosters like the Stephens and Hickingbothoms and Husmans could have woked to get the state to do something. It is called politics. I also said if they had it would have been all for naught because of the financal realities of playing away from Fayetteville.
I think that attendance at this game tells us what we need to know. Real fans show up because there is nothing like attending a live game. TV is a weak second option. I, too, was embarrassed to see all the empty seats. This cannot be good for recruitment however one looks at it.
What has not been discussed is how this same game would have looked had it been played in Fayetteville. How empty would the stadium there have looked on Thursday?
No matter where they play, we need fans to show up, fill seats, and call the hogs…
The people of Arkansas have spoken in that they do not support Little Rock games any longer. Obvious choice is to cut the losses and move all the in state games to Fayetteville.