You officially can call free Iowa basketball tickets for students a gimmick. And it didn’t work.
Before an announced crowd of 9,435 and a more legitimate 6,500, Iowa stopped UNI 65-46 Tuesday night. But a weak announcement of students getting in free with their identification cards didn’t resonate with the younger fan base.
“I’m sure they have their reasons,” Iowa sophomore guard Jake Kelly said. “We’re getting into finals here and with the road conditions out there, it’s tough.”
It was a tad icy early in the day but decent by late afternoon. Tuesday’s game was against Northern Iowa, not Bryant. The two largest crowds to watch the Hawkeyes in the state were in Cedar Falls back in 1990 and 1991. Anything less than 13,000 is a shame against an instate foe, even with rough weather.
Iowa’s worst six years in basketball attendance at Carver-Hawkeye Arena have been the last six. Last year’s average of 10,761 was by far the worst ever.
It’s clear apathy has set in with Iowa basketball fans and students. The football program has no problem selling all but the last couple hundred single tickets to its games. It looks like Iowa’s marketing department needs a brainstorming session or whatever catchy slogan marketers use to justify their work (brand, etc.) to reinvigorate the fan base. Winning heals the wound, but you still have to treat it.
Sadly, Tuesday’s crowd was Iowa’s best this year. It’s certain that Friday’s home game against Iowa State will top this one, but this is a clear disappointment.
“I thought it was OK,” Kelly said about the crowd. “I know the roads were a little icy, but I would like see more Hawkeye fans out there for sure.”