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Did we read the same article?

The article you mentioned noted that UMBC is the only school in the area that has not struggled to attract fans, doubling it's attendence since the 1999-00 season. UMBC fans should feel great about the success their program has had in drawing crowds, particularly given the challenges of doing so in a "major league" town.

What I disagree with in the article -- and what I've posted on this board before -- is the premise that winning is the only way to attract fans. According to the article, UMBC has realized exactly that:

"At UMBC, the remedy has been to aggressively market its games at elementary schools, youth basketball leagues and churches in the Catonsville and Arbutus areas. Players and coaches visit and invite youths and adults to the team's games.

This season, team attendance stands at 1,736, with the season high of 3,106 coming for the game against Princeton on Dec. 2. Much of that total, as with many games, consisted of fans who entered the arena for free. That doesn't bother the school's athletic director, Charlie Brown.

"My concern at this point is not how much money we bring in at the gate," Brown said, "but that we have an atmosphere where we feel like the game is a happening."

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The biggest asset mid-major programs like those in the AE have is that they can offer an exciting entertainment product at a fraction of the price that it would cost to see a "major league" or "big-time college" event. Don't get me wrong, I love major league sports, but the reality is that few people today can afford to take a family out to see the Orioles or Red Sox or Capitals or Bruins play more than once in a season. For the same price, they could probably see every home game played by UMBC, BU or NU.

So by marketing our "product" aggressively to families and kids, community groups, church groups, schools, etc, AE programs can build a solid fan base without ever having to compete with the big league attractions. Your UMBC program is showing the rest of the league that it's possible, and for that you should feel proud.

As for Towson, I'll leave the CAA critiques to MJ . . . . ; )
 

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Despite not being located in a major-league market, that's pretty much what UMaine does with its teams: gets them out in the communities, signing autographs at the mall, etc.

And it seems like there's been more of that stuff recently with the new athletic director. Bainsey can probably answer that better, living up there. But that's the way it seems.

My opinion is that even if you're mid-major program isn't located in a "major league" market like a Boston/Baltimore/Philly, whatever, you still have to fight the interest battle with television. Because, face it, lots of folks just sit at home and watch ESPN all day and night.

Our task, is to make our AE programs "hometown" teams in a manner of speaking.
 
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