I have always been in the camp that we should pull all games out of Little Rock. It just does not make financial sense.
After watching the game last Friday, I believe we should always play the Thanksgiving weekend game in Little Rock every year we are the home team. RRS was empty this last Friday and looked terrible on TV and did not give us the normal home field advantage. Central Arkansas makes a convenient location for everyone in the state who may be visiting for the holiday weekend and students who are home to attend. It also would be a little more difficult for Missouri fans to attend.
I know some will say that the lack of crowd was due to the lack of wins and a meaningless game. I agree that had a big part, but even in good years the Thanksgiving weekend game is difficult to attend for fans that have to travel to Fayetteville and stay overnight. Besides, how often can we count on the game against Missouri being meaningful?
As an Anti-Little Rock game supporter, I have changed my mind on that game.
There might be better reasons to put all the games in Fayetteville than to play any in LR, but there are plenty of logical ones to keep games there. It’s not about partying on the golf course, it’s about making the team more readily available to the 75% or so of the fan base that lives much closer to LR than Fayetteville. And that’s just a starter. A whole lot of those fans give money. That money might not show up in ticket sales, but it’s just as important to the UA.
If you are a kid from Warren, El Dorado, Pine Bluff, etc. how hard is it to play a Friday night game and then get up in time make it to Fayetteville for a noon or 2:30 game? If they can make it how many of these kids come from homes where their parents can afford a hotel room in Fayetteville? Because when the game is over they are worn out from getting up at the crack of dawn to get up there.
WMS is an excellent opportunity for HS players from east and south Arkansas, and their parents, to make it to a game for an unofficial visit and not have to pay for lodging. The official visit ( they only get one) are where they can have an all expenses paid trip to be exposed to other things besides the game. Plus, they can attend other Fayetteville games as unofficial visitors.
long was about to get rid of the Little Rock games after 2018. This did not sit well with the Governor and others with the BOT. A game will be played there yearly for the foreseeable future so to help balance the books now that the State pays for the stadium. At some point this will probably be the game where Arkansas plays ASU, UAPB and/or UCA on a rotating basis so as to insure a sellout of the game that is there. A movement to put the thanksgiving game there as well against Missouri could occur also if the TV folks will go with it. Technology a big hurdle for that one.
You don’t have to buy it, but this isn’t just a theoretical possibility. It has already happened. The last time we had the GSD & games were pulled, a whole lot of people reduced their support.
Would a once/yr 2nd tier game insure their support? I doubt it. In fact, I think that’s why the crowds have fallen off in LR. One game per year isn’t going to be enough to keep the east, south, & central Ark people involved. It’ll probably take two. One an SEC game, the other a second tier game. Is that too much to overcome the intake loss at the gate? I don’t know the answer to that.
However, I do know WMS games have value beyond their simple revenue. They create fans & future students & future contributing alumni. I know this for a fact because I’m one of them. I can name dozens more off the top of my head. We were kids who got to see a Razorback game at WMS & fell in love with the team. You think it’s easy to get to Fayetteville? Yes, for many of us. But if you’re living in the delta 100 miles from LR, you can make a day trip. It’s 300 miles to Fayetteville. Obviously, the inconveniences & distances vary from town to town, but a good 75% of Razorback fans live closer to LR than Fayetteville. It might be more than that. As one of those, I can also tell you that it gets to be something of a pain going from LR to Fayetteville 6 times per year.
You don’t sell suites for $64,000 a year and lose two games. Now are they going to prorate that amount since they reduced games? If so, what about the bond payments on the NEZ?? Surely the BOT have enough businessmen to have figured this out when they approved the expansion back in May of 2016?? At best, there will be one game a year, a non-conference game, at that. How many “kids” are going to pay $65/85 to watch a game in LR, that can’t go to Fayetteville, probably not as many as you think.
If it’s that important to the Governor and state then why not fix the place BEFORE they get games. That place is an embarrassment. We get 7-10 kids a year from our entire state. Not sure games there swing things our way in recruiting. 1 game a year is one to many. One every other year sounds better if it’s a must.
Something to consider: Jeff Long and Joe Steinmetz gave those presentations to the governor and board members, and the board members say Steinmetz will be the one who makes the final call on whether or not to keep playing in Little Rock.
[quote]Two other trustees – Tommy Boyer and Mark Waldrip – said they felt Long had not reached a conclusion but was sharing information for them to analyze. Both said Steinmetz would decide the future of games in Little Rock.
If kids from Warren, El Dorado, Pine Bluff, etc. seeing a game in person is the the issue, then lets expand the Burls Kids program. We should get these kids hooked on the Hogs at a young age. Take 3x as many Burls Kids to each Razorback Stadium game. Why limit it to just kids that have never seen the Hogs live? We can all make a donation to the Brandon Burlsworth foundation. Let’s get them wanting to be a Razorback when they’re young, then your point about making it to a game after they’ve played a high school game Friday night is moot.