Since Google Blogger comments system is acting up (it freaking ATE my detailed response to comments in the previous post regarding attendance and TV coverage), I thought I'd recreate and greatly expand on that response here. First, allow me to restate the general assertions.
My assertion: Tape-delayed TV coverage of Seawolves hockey has no significant affect on attendance. The counter assertion: Tape-delayed TV coverage of Seawolves hockey discourages some fans from attending.
I must warn you now though ... I'm going to get semi-real on this. I'm not going to exclusively sit here and tell you what I believe. I'm going to quote and link actual RESEARCH by professionals in the field. So, if you want to refute what I present below ... then you'll need an equal amount of quoting and linking from sources that refute it. Trust me, I spent a solid 4.5 hours scrounging around the Interwebs for this stuff. There's much more than I've linked here.
Let's start with something light first. Just a blog. The Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective. Sounds commie huh? "Collective" ... Don't be Skerred. The post I've linked to is specific to football. Nevertheless, much of what they present is obviously valid to any other sport. Like when they say ...
1. Sustained winning is important. The driving force behind big ticket sales is generally a compelling and successful team. Between 2008 and 2010 the average NCAA stadium was filled to 79.95% capacity – about 44,000 fans. However, teams that had winning seasons in that same time period drew crowds of around 53,000 (88.19%) – an 8% jump in attendance.
Note the presence of the number "1" please. Thanks. I posted that first because of the 30 or 40 links I've looked at using various Google search terms to support my assertions that is probably the best I've read.
Next I'll quote from The Sport Journal which is called a "refereed sports journal, published by the United State Sports Academy. The paper I'm linking pertains specifically to minor league baseball with a limited set of factors (i.e... nothing about tape delayed local TV college hockey coverage ok?) but the following quote is still quite relevant to this discussion ...
"According to previous studies (Hansen & Gauthier, 1989; Zhang, Pease, Hui, & Michaud, 1995), there are four major factors that affect spectators' decisions about attending games. The attractiveness of the home team is a first and vital consideration. Individual players' skill, league standing, breaking of prior records, team record, performance, and star players together affect fans’ attendance at games (Zhang et al.,1997)."
Not much else in linked article is relevant though it's interesting in general and some aspects probably do cross-over to UAA Hockey. Athletic Administrators et al studied all this sort of sports marketing crappola back when they went to school and got their degree so we can assume their mostly aware of this sort of information in their profession. Feel free to look up "Hansen & Gauthier, 1989" as I've seen it referenced over and over in all the research, but you'll only get excerpts and extracts versus their complete study.
Here is a paper by a Marketing Professor from Western Illinois University called John T. Drea called "The Effects of Winning, Weather, Scheduling and Promotion on Attendance at NCAA Division II Mens Collegiate Basketball Games". Part of it's conclusion says ...
These results emphasize a need to control scheduling (opponents and game dates) as a means of influencing individual game attendance. Second, promotion does have an effect on individual game attendance; however, the effect is previously accounted for by other variables. Individuals concerned with predicting attendance should focus on controllable variables (scheduling) while accounting for other variables (weather, team performance).
Ok? So that's three pretty decent references that support my assertion that the primary driver for attendance is not tape-delayed TV coverage. Don't think for a second that I didn't try to find studies or papers that indicated how TV coverage affects attendance. I did. But naturally, the only ones I found addressed "live coverage" and not "tape delayed coverage".
I encourage you to get on your own Google bus and do some driving if you think you can find something more specific. That's more a request than a challenge per se. If you truly believe that tape-delayed TV coverage of UAA Hockey has something to do with Sullivan Arena attendance then show me some sort of data that supports that position please.
I recommend also that you read the Wiki entry on Fan Loyalty as well as the Wiki entry on Blackouts. Both provide some insight regarding the matter.
Now onto my other points regarding this attendance discussion. People are liars. Nobody wants the label "bandwagon fan" applied to them. So, if you ask them why they don't go to a sporting event of a team they claim to be a supporter ... they'll make shit up to deflect that true nature. Truth is, that nobody wants to go watch a team lose over and over and over.
It takes rationalization and supreme self-justification as a "loyal fan" in order to do so. If you shell out lots of hard earned dough year after year and aren't rewarded with some vicarious winning ... then you must find a way to justify it. Typically, for UAA fans that means saying something like ...
"I support the team and attend every game because these athletes are amateurs representing my school with pride and dignity. They compete hard and give their all risking injury for our pleasure. They deserve that support even if they don't win every game."
That's how you and I self-justify the doling out those bucks. We aren't doing it to see the team win (we still WANT them to win) but instead we're giving ourselves credit for a more altruistic rationale. We don't like the "bandwagon fans" because they're only interested in turning out to see a winner. Do I blame people for being bandwagon fans? No, it's human nature. And the truth is that (in general) casual sports fans are indeed the bigger group in terms of ticket buying.
So... I'm not completely right and counter assertion isn't completely wrong. That said, there simply isn't much in the way of the effects of tape-delayed coverage on attendance. There are some correlations one can make between live TV and tape-delayed TV with regard to how many people show up at a rink but there is a real lack of quantifiable data about both situations. Here's a paper from a joint called The Biology of Exercise titled A Review of Attendance and Non-Attendance Studies At Sporting Events. It says ...
"Very few studies deal with the problem of non-attendance. Even those studies which attempted to investigate the problem, did it with data collected from attending individuals, during sporting events. The major contribution of the present study is that it provides an instrument for measuring non-attendance, which uses data collected from people who do not attend sporting events.
Zhang et al (6), stressed the importance for inclusion of the non-attending population in future research on spectator game attendance. Although factors influencing attendance may be different from factors influencing non-attendance at sporting events, the following two studies by Hansen and Gauthier (2) and Tomlinson et al (5), played a very significant role in the conceptualization of the present study."
So, if you think that tape-delayed TV broadcasts of UAA Hockey are hurting attendance; I cannot completely refute it.
Production of a non-local live broadcast is important for many reasons. Most importantly, it gives the UAA Journalism and Public Communications students real-world experience that they can use in furtherance of their chosen career. It also gives non-local fans a chance to see the game via webcast and that's vital for families and friends of players as well as interested alumni.
The tape-delayed local broadcast has at least one valuable metric ... it is exposure to the local community of the quality of the on-ice product. When local casual fans hear about a win that they didn't attend and can watch it, then they'll be more likely to attend the next evening or home weekend. It's Marketing 101 ya know?
Lose the tape-delayed broadcast locally and perhaps some additional percentage of folks will show up. But personally, I can't feature that there are 1000 people sitting at home on Friday and Saturday nights because they can watch a game starting at 10pm. But I sure believe there at least that number of folks sitting at home because they've calculated their chances of having their monetary outlay be rewarded with a win and come to a negative conclusion (which btw ... will change over the next few years as the UAA Hockey team starts to kick some ass in the WCHA). Winning cures all ... ask UMD.