A recent report was published that showed how each team ranked in terms of percentage of available tickets sold during last season, and unsurprisingly, The Kansas Jayhawks were not ranked highly at all. There are many reasons for the low attendance numbers, and Jeff Long has routinely acknowledged the problems and that the department needs to do better. The question still remains: Given how often this fan base has been burned by buying in to promises of changes and hope for the future, can we honestly expect attendance to be any better this year?
First, by the metric that is used for the above article, it seems likely that they will beat that mark. Season ticket sales are up, and there is enough enthusiasm for Les Miles that an early bump in attendance should give them enough of a cushion to weather lower attendance if the team performs poorly. Add in some general sentiment that KU fans want to be there when Miles finally gets his team to put it together, and I think we should at worst see a minor improvement for the season.
But in order to make consistent gains in attendance, does this team need to win immediately? If Kansas wins their first two games, but then is only mildly competitive the rest of the way, will the fans stay away on Saturdays?
Thankfully, the schedule is set up nicely to allow enthusiasm for the program to continue draw fans through at least the first half of the season. Kansas shouldn’t have any problems with Indiana State and Coastal Carolina, as they are heavy favorites in both of those games. Losing on the road against Boston College probably won’t be a cause for concern among the fanbase, and shouldn’t dampen enthusiasm for the team. West Virginia at home is probably one of the best opportunities to snag a conference win, given both the uncertainty surrounding their program with all the new pieces and how early it is in the schedule. Again, losing on the road to TCU is likely expected at this point, and even a 2-3 KU team will have plenty of support against Oklahoma (even if they lose a bunch of the crowd at halftime). No matter what happens from there, it should be enough to say that attendance will be better.
So while I can’t guarantee that attendance will be fantastic, or that they will even get out of the bottom 25 of next year’s attendance list, I can guarantee that there will be more support for this team than last year’s.
What about you? Do you think that attendance will be better this year? Tell us in the comments below!