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AFHockeyFan
03-27-2011, 09:41 AM
To me the problem is that you're essentially recreating the ECAC, Hockey East, CCHA, and WCHA tournament, with a "guest" in three of the regions. I don't see the point in that. These teams play each other several times a year, and have played each other the week before in the conference tournament. The conference tournaments are traditional and teams and fans take them seriously and, importantly for the sake of this discussion, attend them well, or at least better than the regionals

One of the things I like about the current setup is that I get to see teams that I don't see all the time. Also, from your previous comment, I'd think one thing you'd want to provide is certainty where you're going. So if you're and AFA fan, you might plan on a trip to Kansas City but get shipped to Chicago.

I'd almost say if you're going to do that, why not just do away with the regionals and have the a playoff with the conference champions, solving the "regionals problem" by doing away with them. That would raise the stakes of the Conference Tourneys which could be a good thing (not that teams do, but you'd never have a team even being suspected of coasting through a conference tournament if they're in the national tournament already). Find a home for UAH, and have FF (you could keep the acronym, but “F” would be “Five”) like the WCHA used to. When there are six conferences, have some six team format (You could still keep the acronym, like the WCHA did this year).

I could buy the concept of permanent sites for regionals. Worcester works OK, but I'm not sure how well Syracuse, Chicago, and Kansas City would work out, since as far as I know, they've never been tried. But the change I'd make is that only the top seed gets to stay there. Send the others where their seeding places them, and do away with the rule against intraconference matchups in the first round.

I agree this duplicates the existing conference tournaments to some degree, but those are about to change anyway. Michigan could play Minnesota for the BTHC championship one weekend, but they'd be in different regionals the next. And shouldn't the NCAAs be more important than a conference tournament? Plus, I'd rather have a few rivals facing off than teams that don't really care about each other. The rivals would sell more tickets.

Omaha didn't have much history with college baseball, but now that city and the College World Series are synonymous.

nmupiccdiva
03-27-2011, 09:42 AM
At the D2 Women's Basketball Elite 8, each team was given a middle school class. The teams talked to the kids during the week, and then at the games the kids acted as a cheering section for "their" team. This might be an idea to play with for these neutral sites. Middle schoolers can't drive, so their parents end up coming along as well. It'll get people who otherwise wouldn't see the games through the doors and in the seats.

CHFAN222
03-27-2011, 09:56 AM
Two sites that should be considered.

BU's Agganis Arena. While not the biggest it is a state of the art arena that is capable of putting together top notch events. It is in a very accessible location by train or car.

Dunkin Center in Providence. Seriously this one should be a no brainer. This is an even easier site to get to for fans in Boston than Worcester.

IrishHockeyFan
03-27-2011, 09:58 AM
Omaha didn't have much history with college baseball, but now that city and the College World Series are synonymous.

It isn't like this happened in one or two years. Rosenblatt Stadium hosted the thing for 60 years I believe, and even though last year was the last time, it's still going to be in Omaha. No matter what we do in college hockey, we'll never build that kind of a relationship because no one has the patience anymore to let it grow.

AFHockeyFan
03-27-2011, 11:00 AM
I think you'll do a better job building local support by holding an event at a specific location (especially when it makes geographical sense) rather than bouncing it all over the country. The WCHA's Final Five in St. Paul is very well attended (although that league may consider moving their tournament once realignment is completed) and the AHA is building the same relationship (somewhat less successfully) in Rochester. The Big-12 Bouncyball Tournament in Kansas City has huge local support. If you dangled the prospect of an NHL franchise (even if the two are totally unrelated) in front of civic leaders, you would probably get some strong community support and local sponsorship. If you can get local community buy-in, you can do much better in the long run than you can by dropping in as a novelty once every five-ten years. And, if it's accessbile to fans of the teams participating, (and they know pretty far in advance that their team will be there) then local attendance becomes less important.

Let's face it, most fans aren't going to regionals to experience "something new;" they're there to watch a game or two. Knowing where they're going in advance, and finding a few local eateries/attractions they don't mind visiting once a year is better than trekking all over the country trying to keep up with their team. (Sometimes people want something familiar. McDonald's has made a few trillion on that concept.) Besides, you're still getting the "variety" by moving the Frozen Four around every year, but that event already has its own very loyal following and isn't suffering any attendance issues, and the moves affect a smaller segment of the hockey community. (those same few teams that make the Frozen Four every year) A Regional is a different animal, because it doesn't have the notoriety of a championship and because you're dealing with a few teams who probably aren't regular participants.

As one poster already mentioned, there are no Regional sites announced beyond 2012, and two of those are repeats from 2011. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the NCAA is headed in this direction.

amherstblackbear
03-27-2011, 11:05 AM
The other thing that makes planning easier is to have 2x6 regionals. With the pairwise expertise these days, there will be absolutely no doubt where most teams are going.

I know, I know. The back-to-12 argument is getting no traction. I can see that, so I'll drop it. I'm just practicing being a grumpy old man.

The Freds
03-27-2011, 11:22 AM
:eek:As to the argument of building familiarity by returning to the same location, I am so familiar with that dump in Worcester that I hope to never visit it again before it is imploded.

CLS
03-27-2011, 11:50 AM
I agree this duplicates the existing conference tournaments to some degree, but those are about to change anyway. Michigan could play Minnesota for the BTHC championship one weekend, but they'd be in different regionals the next. And shouldn't the NCAAs be more important than a conference tournament? Plus, I'd rather have a few rivals facing off than teams that don't really care about each other. The rivals would sell more tickets.

Omaha didn't have much history with college baseball, but now that city and the College World Series are synonymous.Very unlikely that Hockey East or ECAC will change significantly (though ECAC has its problems with location).

The regionals should be more important, but one of the reasons that this string exists at all is that they aren't. I guarantee you that the crowd watching the DU-North Dakota game today will be smaller than the crowd that watched them last week. Of course part of that could be remedied by your suggestion that the regional be held in permanent location, but almost by definition, that location will be less convenient to fans than the location of the conference finals.

I don't think Omaha is a good example, because the nature of the tournament is different (it's not single game elimination and takes place over a longer period of time). It's also the finals. The regionals and super-regionals are, as far as I know, held at predetermined on-campus locations.

JF_Gophers
03-27-2011, 11:58 AM
The B1G will fix all problems with college hockey. Just wait and see.

Kick Save
03-27-2011, 12:06 PM
4 Regions
4 Top Seeds host the Regional Tournament (instant built in crowds)

And as a #1 seed you get a reward, you get to play at home.

Instead of being the #4 seed and getting to host a regional.

Take a week off after the selection show/conference championship so NCAA can get into the arenas with 10 plus days to prepare whatever they do at the arenas.

AFHockeyFan
03-27-2011, 12:08 PM
If all the DU and UND fans had known for months in advance (as they did for the Final Five) that the teams would be playing in Green Bay today, I'm sure many of them would have made the trip. And I think both fanbases would rather have a win today than the one last Saturday. But putting the game in Green Bay (which isn't really convenient for either) on a week's notice didn't help.

For the baseball tournament, the Regionals and Super-Regionals are held at campus sites with a week's notice--and usually of the highest seeded (or largest capacity) team, which guarantees the NCAA more money. LSU, which averages over 10,000/game, will almost always host a regional and Super-Regional, if they qualify which is great for LSU fans (of which I am one) and the NCAA's bottom line, but not necessarily fair for the rest of the field. Hosting the hockey regionals on campus (which has been proposed several times in this thread) will only ensure that teams that can fill a large barn will have an even greater competitive advantage.

And this isn't just a hockey problem. Lots of the first and second-round basketball games were played in front of sparse crowds. Maybe we just notice it more now because fewer fans have the time off and the money to attend games.

kingdobbs
03-27-2011, 12:18 PM
As one poster already mentioned, there are no Regional sites announced beyond 2012, and two of those are repeats from 2011. It wouldn't surprise me at all if the NCAA is headed in this direction.

Personally, though, I think they're headed towards a model similar to lacrosse, which from a small amount of observation seems to work for men's Division I lacrosse, which is a similar sport in size of membership (although moving on a stronger growth vector than ice hockey), geographic compactness, and patterns of fan interaction (i.e. few "any game, any day" fans, but a significantly larger who will go "any game, any day, as long as it's my boys").

The first round features 8 games at one of eight sites, each at the highest seed. Advantages to this: Better guarantee of a fan presence, since they're home games for the highest seeds (who, due to a similar level of "have vs. have not" disparity, are frequently the traditional powers - Maryland, Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, Virginia, Princeton, UNC, Duke and Cornell). Disadvantages: If a non-traditional power makes the field as a high seed, of course, that game might be pretty poorly attended.

The second round features 4 games split between two sites. Teams are bracketed according to bracket integrity, but the results of their first-round games will feed into two different sites depending upon where the best place is for them attendance-wise. For example, in the 2010 edition, the quarterfinals were, assuming high seed advances: #1 Virginia-#8 Stony Brook, and #2 Syracuse-#7 Cornell, who would be placed at "Northern Regional" bid winner Stony Brook, and #3 Maryland-#6 Princeton, #4 North Carolina-#5 Duke at "Southern Regional" bidder Princeton. The winners would continue on through to the Final Four as bracketed. Advantages to this plan: Does not hurt bracket integrity, easier for people to plan day trips, generally puts together two great games attendance wise. Disadvantages: requires a third weekend of games, attendance will suffer if one of the high seeds gets knocked off (as Syracuse and Princeton did), and the low seed is not as big a draw.

As far as what the NCAA should do, the facts are right here:
1) The Frozen Four is a license to print money in almost any place it goes, as long as said place is an interesting draw (i.e. a traditional city, a city with a great local hockey fan base, or a city that has an independent draw apart from hockey, like DC was or Tampa will be).
2) It is clear, after ten or so years of 4x4 regionals, that attendance depends strongly on a local or local-ish team being in attendance, and that team advancing to the quarters. Fans are showing that they won't watch games that don't involve their own team.
3) The NCAA would like to maximize attendance at as many games as possible. Under the current system, this is only guaranteed for the three Frozen Four games, and four games at regional sites (although this could be for as many as eight).

I'd say this points them in the direction of the lacrosse arrangement.

Priceless
03-27-2011, 12:57 PM
A few things.

The NCAA makes money off the bids by "neutral" sites. Ticket prices are then set by the host school/arena. Complain to them about the incredibly high ticket prices.
The bidding process and a desire for "fairness" is why the games are awarded to neutral sites. The NCAA should never have gone away from the model which allowed on-campus, best of three regionals.
If we go back to 12 teams, then the AHA loses the autobid. Part of the agreement to get the 16-team format was adding autobids for the CHA and AHA. The CHA is already gone. The BTHC will take an autobid. The power conferences are not going to allow the AHA to take 1/12 of the championship field.

This is another reason hockey should be looking at smaller conferences, not larger. If we had 8 conferences we could have 8 autobids and 8 at-large bids to compose a 16-team field. The intra-conference rule would be rendered almost moot because there would be so many conferences. I already proposed such a format. (http://board.uscho.com/showthread.php?91362-Big-Ten-Hockey-Conference-Pt-II-The-Exodus&p=5088909&viewfull=1#post5088909) Obviously some tweaking can be done (Air Force doesn't really fit in the WCHA) but it could be used as a framework.

Under this scenario, this year's calendar could have looked like this:

Conference playoffs March 4-6 and March 11&12.
NCAA First Round: March 18-20
NCAA Second Round: March 26&27
Frozen Four: April 7&9 (or 8&10)

Based on the results of conference playoffs and seeding:

Autobid At-Large
NEH UNH
HEA BC Merrimack
Ivy Yale Dartmouth
ECAC Union RPI

CHL Miami ND
GL UMD WMU
BTHC Michigan
WCHA UND Denver, UNO, CC


First round: (Best 2 of 3, on campus site of autobids)
#15 RPI @ #1 Yale
#9 Merrimack @ #8 New Hampshire

#14 Colorado College @ #4 Miami
#13 UNO @ #5 Michigan

#12 Notre Dame @ #3 North Dakota
#11 Western Michigan @ #6 Union

#16 Dartmouth @ #2 Boston College
#10 Denver @ #7 Minnesota-Duluth

Second round: (Best 2 of 3, on campus site of higher seed)

Frozen Four: 1 v 4, 2 v 3

I don't expect any of this will actually happen. It's more likely we'll have 4 super-conferences of 10-12 teams and the BTHC, and contraction of 8-12 programs. That will reduce our field to 12 teams whether we like it or not.

chickod
03-27-2011, 01:23 PM
I agree this duplicates the existing conference tournaments to some degree, but those are about to change anyway. Michigan could play Minnesota for the BTHC championship one weekend, but they'd be in different regionals the next. And shouldn't the NCAAs be more important than a conference tournament? Plus, I'd rather have a few rivals facing off than teams that don't really care about each other. The rivals would sell more tickets.

Omaha didn't have much history with college baseball, but now that city and the College World Series are synonymous.

Several good ideas here; however, I'm not sure I agree about the "permanent site" thing. And I don't think the NCAA would do that anyway. The idea that we would get to see "teams that we don't see much" is a good theory, AS LONG AS you put the regional in a location that is close to two or three of the teams so that you at least get the attendance "draw." Otherwise, you have St. Louis all over again. But I still go back to what I said yesterday. This is not basketball - the game does not have "universal" (or even widespread) appeal. The games have to be in HOCKEY AREAS. Period.

moose97
03-27-2011, 01:32 PM
... the facts are right here:
1) The Frozen Four is a license to print money in almost any place it goes, as long as said place is an interesting draw (i.e. a traditional city, a city with a great local hockey fan base, or a city that has an independent draw apart from hockey, like DC was or Tampa will be).

I know we are talking regionals here, but I think it is important to point out that just 10 years ago the Frozen Four was still being held in Albany (14,000) and Providence (12,000) and just 12 years ago, had the debacle that was Anaheim (1999) and we are just 15 years removed from Cincy (1996).

This, "the FF can do no wrong," attitude can turn around quickly if it is done poorly a couple years in a row...

CLS
03-27-2011, 02:01 PM
I know we are talking regionals here, but I think it is important to point out that just 10 years ago the Frozen Four was still being held in Albany (14,000) and Providence (12,000) and just 12 years ago, had the debacle that was Anaheim (1999) and we are just 15 years removed from Cincy (1996).

This, "the FF can do no wrong," attitude can turn around quickly if it is done poorly a couple years in a row...Note that he did include a number of qualifications; one I would add is "in a hockey rink." And in support of your point, lottery winners were given the opportunity to buy more tickets a few weeks ago, there were reports of tickets being bought by the general public through the box office, and unscientifically there didn't seem to be a lot of lottery "losers". Also seating seems to have improved dramatically. It used to be the low priority folks would get nosebleeds, middle/high priority like me were in the upper bowl. This year, it seems like there are even low priority folks in the lower bowl. We'll have better information when pgb-ohio does his usual seating analysis. If all that's true, that should be concerning, given that it's probably in the best possible geographic location.

moose97
03-27-2011, 02:17 PM
Note that he did include a number of qualifications; one I would add is "in a hockey rink." And in support of your point, lottery winners were given the opportunity to buy more tickets a few weeks ago, there were reports of tickets being bought by the general public through the box office, and unscientifically there didn't seem to be a lot of lottery "losers". Also seating seems to have improved dramatically. It used to be the low priority folks would get nosebleeds, middle/high priority like me were in the upper bowl. This year, it seems like there are even low priority folks in the lower bowl. We'll have better information when pgb-ohio does his usual seating analysis. If all that's true, that should be concerning, given that it's probably in the best possible geographic location.

That supports the theory that one bad FF (Detroit may have brought fans, but apparently ****ed off the season-ticket holders) can be made up for (especially if travel isn't a concern - say, with Michigan and 2 WCHA schools in the tourney), but two in a row could be potentially catastrophic.

steve66
03-27-2011, 02:44 PM
A few things.

The NCAA makes money off the bids by "neutral" sites. Ticket prices are then set by the host school/arena. Complain to them about the incredibly high ticket prices.
The bidding process and a desire for "fairness" is why the games are awarded to neutral sites. The NCAA should never have gone away from the model which allowed on-campus, best of three regionals.
If we go back to 12 teams, then the AHA loses the autobid. Part of the agreement to get the 16-team format was adding autobids for the CHA and AHA. The CHA is already gone. The BTHC will take an autobid. The power conferences are not going to allow the AHA to take 1/12 of the championship field.

This is another reason hockey should be looking at smaller conferences, not larger. If we had 8 conferences we could have 8 autobids and 8 at-large bids to compose a 16-team field. The intra-conference rule would be rendered almost moot because there would be so many conferences. I already proposed such a format. (http://board.uscho.com/showthread.php?91362-Big-Ten-Hockey-Conference-Pt-II-The-Exodus&p=5088909&viewfull=1#post5088909) Obviously some tweaking can be done (Air Force doesn't really fit in the WCHA) but it could be used as a framework.

Under this scenario, this year's calendar could have looked like this:

Conference playoffs March 4-6 and March 11&12.
NCAA First Round: March 18-20
NCAA Second Round: March 26&27
Frozen Four: April 7&9 (or 8&10)

Based on the results of conference playoffs and seeding:

Autobid At-Large
NEH UNH
HEA BC Merrimack
Ivy Yale Dartmouth
ECAC Union RPI

CHL Miami ND
GL UMD WMU
BTHC Michigan
WCHA UND Denver, UNO, CC


First round: (Best 2 of 3, on campus site of autobids)
#15 RPI @ #1 Yale
#9 Merrimack @ #8 New Hampshire

#14 Colorado College @ #4 Miami
#13 UNO @ #5 Michigan

#12 Notre Dame @ #3 North Dakota
#11 Western Michigan @ #6 Union

#16 Dartmouth @ #2 Boston College
#10 Denver @ #7 Minnesota-Duluth

Second round: (Best 2 of 3, on campus site of higher seed)

Frozen Four: 1 v 4, 2 v 3

I don't expect any of this will actually happen. It's more likely we'll have 4 super-conferences of 10-12 teams and the BTHC, and contraction of 8-12 programs. That will reduce our field to 12 teams whether we like it or not.

This is the format that they used to have.

gopheritall
03-27-2011, 02:45 PM
Has anyone pointed out that the problem with the regionals is college hockey fans? If you have a regional within driving distance and you don't go then you are the problem.

How does the NCAA fix attendance problems by going to smaller, host schools? They want money. They need bigger arenas. Sure they could let Yale host at their 3500 seat arena and fill the seats for the Yale games. However, they give up 4300 tickets per game. It doesn't take a finance major to see that is a bad choice.

What happens if Yale loses that firs game to Air Force? How many Yale fans will attend the other games? If they were going to attend they would be at the regionals. I attended regionals at Minnesota. The non-Minnesota games were very poorly attended.

The bottom line is that college hockey fans want a guarantee that their team will advance or they aren't going. They want someone else to pony for the regionals. If you want college hockey to grow then go to the games. If you want a regional near you then talk to your school about hosting. If a school was guaranteed to make money because their fans would sell out no matter who was there they would host. It still falls back on the fans not attending.

Anyone that is within 2 hours driving distance to a regional and is not at the games is to blame for that regional not selling out. If you sell out the arenas close to you then the NCAA will stop sending them to places like St Louis because it will not make financial sense.

/rant

amherstblackbear
03-27-2011, 02:56 PM
Has anyone pointed out that the problem with the regionals is college hockey fans? If you have a regional within driving distance and you don't go then you are the problem.

How does the NCAA fix attendance problems by going to smaller, host schools? They want money. They need bigger arenas. Sure they could let Yale host at their 3500 seat arena and fill the seats for the Yale games. However, they give up 4300 tickets per game. It doesn't take a finance major to see that is a bad choice.

What happens if Yale loses that firs game to Air Force? How many Yale fans will attend the other games? If they were going to attend they would be at the regionals. I attended regionals at Minnesota. The non-Minnesota games were very poorly attended.

The bottom line is that college hockey fans want a guarantee that their team will advance or they aren't going. They want someone else to pony for the regionals. If you want college hockey to grow then go to the games. If you want a regional near you then talk to your school about hosting. If a school was guaranteed to make money because their fans would sell out no matter who was there they would host. It still falls back on the fans not attending.

Anyone that is within 2 hours driving distance to a regional and is not at the games is to blame for that regional not selling out. If you sell out the arenas close to you then the NCAA will stop sending them to places like St Louis because it will not make financial sense.

/rant

It doesn't make any sense to berate fans for not attending regionals. The customer is always right. We've had tremendous variation in regional sites and tournament seedings over the past decade. If attendance at 4-team regionals has stunk for 10 years, then it's probably time to listen to the customers and admit that maybe the idea of a 3-game, 4-team regional is a pretty bad one to begin with.

Want better attendance? Go back to having larger regionals and a smaller field, losing some of the more marginal programs that round out a 16-team field. If we absolutely must have 16 teams, and we must have no more than 4 teams per site, then I don't see any alternative to campus sites.