Four thousand, one hundred and seventeen?!?!?

Wed, Oct 28, 2009

Featured, Football

Jan 07 257

I knew the stadium was empty last night while watching the game on ESPN2 HD from the comfort of my own living room but I just didn’t realize how empty it was until Denny O’Brien (@TheDOB on Twitter) tweeted that they announced over the P.A. that 4,117 people were in attendance for the game. I thought I had read his update wrong or maybe he had accidentally left out a digit. Nope.

The lack of excitement starting during the three minutes of pre-game that ESPN2 had for us when they showed the Memphis locker room that seemed like the entire team had popped a couple of Xanex before Tommy West’s ‘thrilling’ speech about playing on national television. It just seemed like Memphis (the city & the team) didn’t care that they were about to be in HD on ESPN2 as the only football game all night.

I find it completely absurd that a D-I football team is not able to attract more than 4,117 people to a stadium that has the capacity to hold 62,380 people. Let me do the math for you. The stadium was only 6.6% full last night and that is for a nationally televised game in high definition. This doesn’t only look bad on the football program but it also looks bad on the University of Memphis (approximately 21,000 enrolled) and the city of Memphis (population: 670,100) as a whole.

This can’t be good for Memphis’ recruitment strategy, athletically or academically. If I was a high school junior or senior and watching the only football game that was on last night, I would be slightly deterred from wanting to go to a school whose football games look about as exciting as my grandmother’s bridge club. Nationally televised games are so key to a school’s recruitment strategy where the school can show its strengths

I guess Pirate Nation could have brought some more fans. I could have been number 4,118 in the seats but pulling a 10 1/2 hour drive, one-way, on a Tuesday doesn’t really match up well with my work schedule. I made that drive this past January and it is one long, hard road that can change the person that you are plus the fact that I-40 has been closed off right near the North Carolina/Tennessee border due to a massive rock slide that happened a few days ago…and flying is just not in my budget these days.

I don’t know what Memphis can do to build their fan base and get them out to the game. There has got to be a way to promote the Tigers to not let this happen again on national television. Free barbecue or an Elvis impersonator? I am sure they get enough of that on a daily basis.

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15 Comments For This Post

  1. NCJoeBob Says:

    Charlie, great article man, and I thought the same thing looking at that stadium. It’s ridiculous to see such few fans there. MAYBE if it was over a holiday weekend or MAYBE if there was a hurricane I would understand. But seriously??? They embarassed themselves. Well said sir!

  2. NCJoeBob Says:

    PS…cody made a good pic

  3. Capt. Obvious Says:

    I was amazed when I was watching the game at the lack of fan support. In regards to the pre-game speach, it looked to me like there were plenty of empty seats in the room. I guess some of the players decided they would hit up the buffet at the team hotel instead of listening to the coach speak.

    I know Dowdy-Ficklen will not be like that come next Thursday. I attended the Skip Holtz call in show last night and there was a lot of excitement about the win against Memphis and the upcoming game against Va Tech. It will be our first prime time Thursday night game in many years and you can expect to see a packed house of 43,000 plus.

  4. Charles Says:

    This is the school that aspires to be in the Big East and supposedly has a step up on ECU for that invitation. We have baseball games that have more than 4117 in attendance. I know they are having a bad year, it was a Tuesday night and the weather was bad but 4117. Even in the John Thompson years when we won 3 games in 2 years, we still had 30 to 35 thousand every game. The university, the city of Memphis and the alumni should be embarassed. This was horrible!

  5. bigcubdaddie Says:

    Still can’t believe there were only 4113 at that game. This speaks tons for the fan base as well as the University overall.

    If ECU was in a conference where away games we were able to attend without having to spend 14 hours plus or spend a ton of money to try to fly, I believe we could take over that many on the road.

    On a good game we might leave that many in the tailgate area during the game watching tv.


  6. ghostlikeswayze Says:

    Charles – Great point about the Big East competition. I feel that the fan base is one of the big things that they will be looking it in a school. 6.6% of the stadium is just utter failure.

    NCJoeBob – Thanks man. I have been on hiatus for a little while from 200YTL and decided that I need to step it up last night. I am going to try to keep it over the next few weeks.

    Capt. – I am all about the pre-game lunch buffet at the Holiday Inn. I think they may have had the right idea. D-F will be slam-packed this coming Thursday and I can’t wait to see it. I just hope that I don’t run across anyone that actually thinks that “Pirate Out” is worthwhile. It will make our school look like a bunch of nansy-pansies.

  7. whatwhat Says:

    someone get that video of freeneys touchdown loaded up on youtube

  8. ESEAU Says:

    Very sad to see that empty stadium. You have the defending conference champions coming to town on a national set and you can even bring enough people to fill an endzone. It was a black eye for our conference as well. I can’t help to wonder how the hiring of Mike Tranghese (sp?) is working out for them, you know, to be more appealing to the Big East? The same guy who was and has been strictly against expansion of that conference.

  9. Space Wrangler Says:

    Someone needs to get that attendance number over to Fail Blog, STAT.

    Ghost – I am in zero support of any sort of “out”. I think they are contrived and do little for the fan base except leave you with a crappy quality, 15 dollar t-shirt. Moreover, I’m sure a black out would be cool…if one of your school colors was black. Sometimes the pirate faithful can come up with bad ideas from the most sincere and faithful intentions.

  10. ghostlikeswayze Says:

    whatwhat – I have learned my lesson when it comes to messing with big conglomerates like ESPN and getting video from ESPN’s broadcast on Tuesday is just playing with fire. BLUEWATERPIRATE might have some good video up on his site ( at the bottom

    ESEAU – Denny O’Brien joked that the press box might have had more people than the stands. I am wondering what kind of Pirate showing there was in Memphis. I know C-USA can’t be too happy about it and neither can ESPN.

    Space Wrangler – I think the fan base should concentrate on something else like getting as loud as we possibly can for the game. I don’t want my friends who went to other schools to watch the game on Thursday night and see a bunch of my fellow Pirates fans dressed up like actual Pirates. It will look more like Too Wong Foo than a football game. We will never hear the end of it from rival schools.

  11. Space Wrangler Says:

    Ghost – Exactly. These types of things keep us floundering around in the eyes of our rivals. Why borrow trouble and try something that people a) don’t like, b) don’t care about, c) didn’t hear about, or d) all of the above? Instead of focusing on any sort of “out”, why don’t we worry about the most important one first: “Sell-Out”, or hell, an “attendance-out” would be better. I don’t care what color people are wearing; so long as they show (talking to you; student section behind the ECU band). Fill the bleachers, THEN worry about the color of your shirt or theme of your outfit…

  12. ECUgoldenboot Says:

    Great article Cheezy. What a pitiful showing and representation of Memphis. They ought to be ashamed. This not only looks bad on the University, but on C-USA as a whole. I mean, COME ON GUYS. At one point I thought I was watching a WAAC football game when the annoucers were talking about everything but the game being played. Thank God we get to pick up their slack this coming up week vs Vtech on primetime Thursday night and show the rest of the nation how a real program, worthy of a “conference promotion” operates in the national spotlight. Go Pirates!

  13. J Mohn Says:

    This league is a joke and as long as ECU remains in C-USA it will continue to be an albatross around our necks. The Pirates are walking on their own planks for what, 4,117 people? We were better off being independent! I’d rather win 8 games and not go to a bowl then be tied to this pathetic conference. It’s flat our embarrassing, and more for us than Memphis.

  14. ghostlikeswayze Says:

    Space Wrangler – Agreed.

    ECUgoldenboot – Preciate it, Bumgeez. I can’t wait for Thursday so the nation can see the vast difference between the Memphis and Virginia Tech game in the stands and on the field. Dowdy-Ficklen will be packed but I am just scared that a bunch of weirdos are going to “Pirate Out” and ESPN cameramen are going to pick them out of a crowd because of how ridiculous they look. It is just so close to Halloween and pirate costumes are everywhere. Damn that Pirates of the Caribbean movie and all of its sequels.

    J Mohn – As always, you bring up great points in the comment section. I think going independent could scare off a lot of the recruits that we have been landing and that could be a huge pitfall for the ECU football program. Plus, all other sports at ECU would be screw-jobbed by ECU going independent. It seems like the out of conference games are always the best and we just have to bide our time until we can get in a conference where the fans anticipate conference games more than out of conference ones…

  15. Space Wrangler Says:

    ghost – Agreed on the Independent issue. We don’t have our own national tv deal (see: Notre Dame), so it would be a huge disadvantage in this era. What our charge as a community (team, school, fan base, etc) should be is to put forth the best product we possibly can, and the rest will follow. When it comes time for re-alignment in college football, there is always a home for a school that is successful.