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The Vicar
03-26-2011, 11:35 AM
It seems like the NCAA just wants to hurry up and get this hockey tournament over with.

And they run it dirt cheap too!

jmhusker
03-26-2011, 11:36 AM
This is about the only change they could make that would be even worse than it is now. The only good thing is that it's logistically impossible, so it will never happen. A sure way to drive away the casual college hockey fan is to make them buy tickets for 3 days of 2 games each when they are only interested in going to 1 or (hopefully) 2 of the 6 games. Making them commit to 2-3 nights in a hotel, plus time off work, for a possibility of only 1 game is asking them to watch the games on TV instead of going to the games.

8 regionals of 2 teams each will fill the arenas, give the players of both teams the playoff atmosphere that they deserve, and keep travel expenses down by having a minimum of 8 teams, and more likely 12 or so teams, playing within driving distance of the games.
I think you could still treat it as two divisions with the semi's of one on one night, the other the next and both finals on the same day (separate tickets though). This would allow you to attend only what you are interested in while allowing for some cross-pollination of fans if you will.

northeastern
03-26-2011, 11:39 AM
Do you envision college hockey being played by UCLA and the University of Texas one day? It's never going to happen..

actually the Texas Longhorns do have hockey ..

http://www.texasicehockey.com/ ..:) it isn't D1 (yet)..

I agree with you all on the sensibility of holding the regionals closer to the schools/ campuses. I was pointing to what i felt the NCAA was trying to achieve.

With Penn State & hopefully theBig Ten adding more schools to the sport.. i think there will be ( there's bound to be) a snowball effect for the sport. My thinking is the NCAA is trying to play into that & showcasing the sport wherever to see what sticks.

I agree with the premise of improving the TV deals first (with the traditional, fuller arenas)... then going out & hosting in non-traditional markets.

Finally through this all, some sites clearly work better than others, no question.

I have a feeling the NCAA might be getting the ice for free at some of these venues.. & the host sites hoping to make something on the concession side of things.. (of course i could be wrong).

Alton
03-26-2011, 11:40 AM
The bottom line is the [NCAA] will do whatever makes them the most $. If that's playing in front of empty non-campus arenas, than that's what they are going to do.

I also generally try to do whatever will make me the most money, but I don't bother bending over to pick up a penny that I see on the sidewalk, and that's what we are talking about here. "The NCAA" takes no notice of money made and lost in the hockey regionals, because it is a molecule in a drop in a bucket in Lake Superior compared to their overall budget.

The people on the NCAA Men's Division I Ice Hockey Committee do care about hockey, and seem to have its best interests in mind within the overall structure set up for them by the NCAA as a body. They did float the lacrosse-style tournament (first round at campus sites, quarterfinal doubleheaders at 2 neutral sites, frozen four) as a trial balloon last summer. They have not selected regional hosts past 2012, and I am optimistic enough to think that means they are finally going to give up on the regionals and go back to campus sites for the first round. We can hope, at least.

HockeyMan2000
03-26-2011, 11:41 AM
Preach on. The Regionals haven't been the same since.

Absolutely agree. Expanding beyond the 2 regionals dilluted the field and made attending a regional less of an event -- less teams there, less games, yet ticket prices were the same. The "product" wasn't as appealing as it was before.

Alton
03-26-2011, 11:46 AM
And you think my idea is crazy? LOL. 4 regionals isn't generating interest as it is. You want to go to 8 regionals? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight....

Yes, 8 regionals, each at the higher seeded team. The problem is not that fans are saying, "I would go, but there just aren't enough teams playing." They are saying, "I can't drive 9 hours and spend 2 nights in a hotel room just to see my team play 1 or 2 games." Reducing the number of regionals increases the amount of travel, and travel is what is keeping fans away right now.

The Freds
03-26-2011, 11:46 AM
This is only the second year I'll miss attending the regionals in the last 10 years. Each year the attendance continues to drop. Last year I walked up to the ticket office in at the Times Union Center in Albany and bought front row seats the day of the game. I could count on my hands how many people the were. The best attended regional I remember atteneding was in Manchester a few years back, and of course UNH was choking there. (Sorry couldn't resist) That was the only time I could remember any atmosphere.

No one likes to be at an event where it feels like you are the only one there. To have 1,000 or 2,000 people sitting in an 18,000 seat arena is like being the only one there. I found myself enjoying the round robin of games on TV yesterday rather than going through the hassle of travel and hotel.

I do like the idea of regional sites, but in my opinion the NCAA should simply site them in smaller arenas. There are still some great barns out there that hold about 5,000 - 8,000 people in areas that could generate enough interest, yes even on campus sites. I would, however, advocate dropping the home ice guarantee to a host school, even if it costs ticket sales, because it comprimises the integrity of the tournament.

As for growing the sport, the years of the four regionals have done absolutely nothing to grow the sport. The experiment of siting the Frozen Four in non-college hockey cities has done nothing to grow the sport. Heck in most of those cities, most local people I encountered had no idea the Frozen Four was there.

Put the regionals in smaller venues in smaller cities near where college hockey matters.

chickod
03-26-2011, 11:49 AM
So "more schools" will look at a sport that draws flies to its NCAA playoff round? Seriously, you WANT people who don't play college hockey to see how little interest there is in it? lol. The NCAA may be forever trying to "grow the sport" but at some point they need to realize it is what it is, and when they start doing things like holding regionals in St. Louis it's only alienating the base of fans they have (plus, they have a hard time drawing people to regionals generally in the first place; why go to another one of these "non traditional" sites?). The lack of attendance in St. Louis is clearly evidence that they're pushing those boundaries beyond their breaking point.

I agree with this one million percent! Let me ask most of you why you like hockey in the first place. I am willing to bet it is because you grew up in an area where you could PLAY - I mean outdoors, not by paying $100 to go to some "organized" program in a rink. Do you think there are any kids shoveling off ponds to play hockey in St. Louis, or Phoenix, or LA? Not only is it a niche sport, it's a REGIONAL sport that will NEVER catch on in areas where kids can't play it. Basketball and soccer are popular because you don't need money for equipment and facilities. Yeah, you can play hockey in warm climates if you have the MONEY to pay for the facility. But how many people will choose that over a sport where they can just go out on a nice day after school with their friends and play? Certainly not enough to "grow" the sport in those areas. What baffles me is why the NCAA even WANTS to grow the sport. The only reason it is even on at all is because ESPN was forced to show it in order to get the contract for the other post-season events. Clearly, based on the decision-making, the powers that be in the NCAA know NOTHING about the sport anyway. Do you know anyone who is in business to lose money? Why would you bid on an event where you will get NO PEOPLE so NO MONEY from concessions? The NCAA can hire me tomorrow if they want and I'll show them how to make money. Until then, I don't know why anyone is surprised at anything they do...

HockeyMan2000
03-26-2011, 11:50 AM
With Penn State & hopefully theBig Ten adding more schools to the sport.. i think there will be ( there's bound to be) a snowball effect for the sport.

But even there, the Big 10 (or B1g 10 or whatever it is lol) is mostly a regional conference. Even if new programs sprout up because of it, it's still going to be in areas where there already is hockey. So we'll have to see how it shakes down in terms of having any actual effect on the sport.

Thanks for the Texas hockey info too ;)

chickod
03-26-2011, 11:54 AM
I have a feeling the NCAA might be getting the ice for free at some of these venues..

Yeah, the "ice" in Bridgeport looked like it must have been free...

HockeyMan2000
03-26-2011, 11:54 AM
The problem is not that fans are saying, "I would go, but there just aren't enough teams playing."

Who are you speaking for? lol. I don't go because I don't think it's worth my time and money as it currently is constituted. Looks like I'm not alone in that sentiment -- 2 regionals was a more attractive product than how they're doing it now. Going to 8 regionals is never going to happen.

amherstblackbear
03-26-2011, 11:54 AM
One reason I have no problem with the superregionals is that I have absolutely no problem with a 12-team field. But even if it stays at 16, there's no reason why it automatically follows that all tickets are for the entire weekend.

Granted, you wouldn't do this if ticket sales were strong, but they're not. Obviously. So why not offer a discounted package deal (say 75-80% of face) for the entire superregional, to cater to the fans who do want to go to a college hockey event. Then starting a week or so before the event, start selling daily passes. Maybe $99 for the superregional, or $37.50 for a daily pass. Adjust as necessary to maximize revenue.

eta: If you want to sell college hockey to new fans, that means selling the product to people watching on TV (at first). One way to do that is to sell the traditions, rivalries, crazy fans, etc. At a good Frozen Four, college hockey almost sells itself. When I watched the BC-CC game last night on ESPNU, my God . . . I'm not sure what I'm supposed to take away from that telecast if I'm not an Eagle or Tiger fan. Yawn. No noise, no energy, poorly mic-ed pep band, empty blue plastic seats as far as the eye can see. Bleh.

cg_siouxfan
03-26-2011, 11:55 AM
I agree with this one million percent! Let me ask most of you why you like hockey in the first place. I am willing to bet it is because you grew up in an area where you could PLAY - I mean outdoors, not by paying $100 to go to some "organized" program in a rink. .

This may have been true 20-25 years ago, but I played inside before I ever played outdoors. I love playing outside, but it's not how kids are introduced to hockey anymore.

People usually play hockey because a parent played the game, or because it's part of the culture where they live.

chickod
03-26-2011, 11:56 AM
Yes, 8 regionals, each at the higher seeded team. The problem is not that fans are saying, "I would go, but there just aren't enough teams playing." They are saying, "I can't drive 9 hours and spend 2 nights in a hotel room just to see my team play 1 or 2 games." Reducing the number of regionals increases the amount of travel, and travel is what is keeping fans away right now.

Let's have 16 regionals with one team each... :rolleyes:

chickod
03-26-2011, 11:59 AM
People usually play hockey because a parent played the game, or because it's part of the culture where they live.

But that's my point. It's not "part of the culture" when only a tiny percentage of the population actually plays it. Maybe YOU had the money to play indoors, but in order for a sport to "latch on," it has to be available to EVERYONE. I know you're not being "elitist," but that's almost what it would sound like to some poor kid who doesn't have the means to play. How many NBA or soccer players grew up wealthy? If you don't have the numbers, it will never get into the mainstream. It's part of the CULTURE where they live because EVERYONE CAN PLAY!!!

johnk
03-26-2011, 12:00 PM
Yes, 8 regionals, each at the higher seeded team. The problem is not that fans are saying, "I would go, but there just aren't enough teams playing." They are saying, "I can't drive 9 hours and spend 2 nights in a hotel room just to see my team play 1 or 2 games." Reducing the number of regionals increases the amount of travel, and travel is what is keeping fans away right now.


Absolutely disagree with this whole premise. 2 sites with 8 teams is the way to go. More fans with less cost and you can keep it to major college hockey sites unlike St. Louis every year. The finals at each region with 4 teams vying for 2 Frozen Four slots would be very exciting and you would feel you ae getting your moneys worth. If I'm going to travel I want more games not less.

Alton
03-26-2011, 12:01 PM
Who are you speaking for? lol. I don't go because I don't think it's worth my time and money as it currently is constituted. Looks like I'm not alone in that sentiment -- 2 regionals was a more attractive product than how they're doing it now. Going to 8 regionals is never going to happen.

I am speaking for the 30,000 fans of Michigan, UNO, Colorado College and Boston College who could have filled the seats in St. Louis twice over but didn't.

Why won't 8 regionals happen? I guess calling them "regionals" is confusing people--I am talking about a first round best-of-3 series at the higher seed to go from 16 teams to 8, followed by a quarterfinal round the next weekend to go from 8 teams to 4. If a change is made, this is the change that will be made.

An 8-team regional is logistically impossible (ice time for participating teams could not be accommodated). The travel is too much with 4 regionals, the answer is not taking the number down to 2.

Khryx
03-26-2011, 12:02 PM
The issue is the places bidding for the regionals and frozen four. It isn't just the NCAA deciding. The locations have to bid for them. If they don't bid the NCAA either has to go with one of the bidders or solicit one to bid (which I don't know if they are allowed to do). Are there times when optimal locations are bidding and are not chosen I am sure but I don't think this happens too much. I say this because of how often some of the regionals turn up at the same places. I think a lot of the problem here is the better locations aren't bidding.

As for the frozen four, I think the non-traditional sites have actually helped the exposure of college hockey but only slightly. The Big Ten conference is going to be another step, in the right or wrong direction still remains to be seen and I know this can be debated at length (see other boards for it, please don't get into this here).

As for changing the structure, I agree that one vital element that has to remain is keeping the off week for travel plans. The biggest expense / deterrent for fans attending is the cost (both time off and money). Travel/hotel tends to trump the tickets so having additional time is vital for attendance. I didn't attend a regional this year despite having attend 4 of the last 10. The reason? Expense and I don't think much of St. Louis as a city based upon my one trip there. It looks like others felt the same way.

amherstblackbear
03-26-2011, 12:06 PM
I am speaking for the 30,000 fans of Michigan, UNO, Colorado College and Boston College who could have filled the seats in St. Louis twice over but didn't.

Why won't 8 regionals happen? I guess calling them "regionals" is confusing people--I am talking about a first round best-of-3 series at the higher seed to go from 16 teams to 8, followed by a quarterfinal round the next weekend to go from 8 teams to 4. If a change is made, this is the change that will be made.

An 8-team regional is logistically impossible (ice time for participating teams could not be accommodated). The travel is too much with 4 regionals, the answer is not taking the number down to 2.

It is if you realize that a 16-team field is a failure. :)

edit:

insert mandatory "it isn't good like it used to be" "get off my lawn" old man grumble.

Alton
03-26-2011, 12:12 PM
Absolutely disagree with this whole premise. 2 sites with 8 teams is the way to go. More fans with less cost and you can keep it to major college hockey sites unlike St. Louis every year. The finals at each region with 4 teams vying for 2 Frozen Four slots would be very exciting and you would feel you ae getting your moneys worth. If I'm going to travel I want more games not less.

You are not a typical fan. I guarantee that nobody on this board is a typical fan. People who follow their team are following their team, and are indifferent or mildly interested in the other games. They don't want to buy a ticket to 6 games, spend 2-3 nights in a hotel room, and buy a plane ticket or drive 9 hours to watch their team lose game 1 when there isn't even a champion crowned at the end of the weekend. Picture this--
ST. LOUIS REGIONAL
Friday--Michigan v Nebraska-Omaha, Boston College v Colorado College
Saturday--North Dakota v Rensselaer, Denver v Western Michigan
Sunday--Friday winners, Saturday winners

Now...of the 7,000 or so Michigan fans who watched a majority of the team's games this year, how many do you think would have showed up to St. Louis for this format? I think the answer is obviously, "not as many the 2,000 or so Michigan fans that were there for the actual St. Louis Regional yesterday." How many of those Michigan fans show up for the games Saturday? Sorry, this doesn't fly. How does this format increase attendance? It reduces attendance! I would be much more interested, but everybody I know whose lives don't revolve around college hockey for 5 months a year would be much less interested.