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Handyman
03-27-2011, 02:58 PM
16 out of 58 (28%)

What screwy system is hoops using these days - 68 teams? If we apply that percentage to hockey, you get 11-odd teams. Round up generously to . . . . . 12 teams.

Sure, it necessitates byes. But those are awarded on merit. Much like proposals to award regionals to the campus sites at the top 4 seeds. And history tells us that you can operate a 6 team regional a lot more successfully than a 4 team one. And you don't have to sacrifice that NCAA tournament feel to achieve excitement and ticket sales.

There is no reason to keep 16 teams at this point. None. You hit the nail on the head.

Federal League
03-27-2011, 03:17 PM
Now, some numbers:

There are 8 "game days" in the regionals. Each day has 1 attendance figure--the first day fans see both games. Here are the day one and day two attendance numbers for the regionals last year, courtesy of ultra-reliable wikipedia:

Fort Wayne
4133
3204

Albany
4073
3737

Worcester
6572
6054

St. Paul
7281
7182

Total regional attendance: 42,236

Here's what we have for this year so far:

Bridgeport
7671
7816

St. Louis
5024
Can't find yesterday's anywhere

Green Bay
4355

Manchester
7608

I can't speak to the Western venues (other than to say St. Louis is a bad idea in every way), but Manchester, Worcester and Bridgeport are actually doing pretty well in the Northeast. I've been to the last three Northeast regionals and they've all been about as good an atmosphere as you could reasonably expect for a regional, and I imagine the East regional in Bridgeport is the same way. Albany obviously not so much. I'd say Manchester is definitely better than Worcester in pretty much every way. Better attendance, better atmosphere, better building. Worcester certainly isn't bad by any means, but given the choice, I'd take Manchester.

Ideally, I'd like to just see the Northeast regional in Manchester every year and the East regional in Bridgeport every year until it stops working. So I guess you could consider me a proponent of the "permanent" sites. Although if it stops working, I'd obviously like to see a change. The problem, of course, is whether or not UNH and Yale should be hosts every year and be guaranteed a spot at those sites if they make the tourney. In the interest of fairness, I say no. In the interest of attendance, I say yes.

I think what I'd like to see would be Hockey East host the Manchester regional and ECAC host the Bridgeport regional. Then you try and get UNH and Yale at those sites if it's possible, but it's not a requirement that you get them there. This year, for instance, you would just say, "Sorry UNH, but BC deserves to be in Manchester more than you do." I think more often than not, you'd be able to have UNH and Yale there no problem. But by having the leagues host instead of the schools, you don't have to make sure they're there when there is a problem like this year.

To the person who suggested Agganis, it's a nice building that's obviously in a convenient location, but it's on campus and even if you sell it out, you're still getting 1300 less than what you're getting in Manchester.

Priceless
03-27-2011, 03:20 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

I looked at going to the Manchester regional. I don't drive because of the tumor so I would have to take the bus. Two buses from Portland have a layover in Boston before going to Manchester. Those would have cost $75-80 round trip. Greyhound goes straight to Manchester from Portland but would be $95. Then I would have to stay overnight not once, but twice because of the insane 8pm start of the final. That's another $200. The tickets would be $87 for the three games. Now we're closing in on $400 and I still haven't eaten for three days, have no souvenirs and I haven't figured out how to get from my house to the bus and back. Not to mention that if I fall or pass out again, it's a medical nightmare.

So I humbly suggest that maybe it isn't my fault. :)

gopheritall
03-27-2011, 03:22 PM
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.

The Yale regional would have had 4300 fewer tickets per game. How is that better for the NCAA? The NCAA wants more tickets sold not a higher % of seats filled. Anyone complaining about empty seats when they are within driving distance to the regional has no argument in my opinion. It is ok for other to disagree but that will not change my mind. I am headed to the F4 even though the Gophers didn't even make the tournament. I plan to go to all 3 games.

If the field is reduced to 12 teams then changing the format will make sense. Right now on-site at campuses with small arenas is not the answer. That would limit it to a few campuses with large arenas. Minnesota is one of them so I'm ok if we want it at Minnesota every other year (or more frequently). I doubt others are. The answer needs to equal more revenue.

Priceless
03-27-2011, 03:26 PM
The Yale regional would have had 4300 fewer tickets per game. How is that better for the NCAA? The NCAA wants more tickets sold not a higher % of seats filled. Anyone complaining about empty seats when they are within driving distance to the regional has no argument in my opinion. It is ok for other to disagree but that will not change my mind. I am headed to the F4 even though the Gophers didn't even make the tournament. I plan to go to all 3 games.

If the field is reduced to 12 teams then changing the format will make sense. Right now on-site at campuses with small arenas is not the answer. That would limit it to a few campuses with large arenas. Minnesota is one of them so I'm ok if we want it at Minnesota every other year (or more frequently). I doubt others are. The answer needs to equal more revenue.

Going to the Frozen Four /= Going to a regional

gopheritall
03-27-2011, 03:27 PM
I looked at going to the Manchester regional. I don't drive because of the tumor so I would have to take the bus. Two buses from Portland have a layover in Boston before going to Manchester. Those would have cost $75-80 round trip. Greyhound goes straight to Manchester from Portland but would be $95. Then I would have to stay overnight not once, but twice because of the insane 8pm start of the final. That's another $200. The tickets would be $87 for the three games. Now we're closing in on $400 and I still haven't eaten for three days, have no souvenirs and I haven't figured out how to get from my house to the bus and back. Not to mention that if I fall or pass out again, it's a medical nightmare.

So I humbly suggest that maybe it isn't my fault. :)

Everybody but you. ;)

amherstblackbear
03-27-2011, 03:51 PM
The Yale regional would have had 4300 fewer tickets per game. How is that better for the NCAA?

Yale hosting a regional is pretty close to a worst-case scenario. And even with those "lost" ticket sales at Yale, I think North Dakota's regional would be enough of an improvement over St. Louis to make up the difference.

And you'd actually be showcasing "college hockey" instead of televising televising random hockey games in half-empty (at BEST) buildings with all the atmosphere of a coat closet.

UMDBulldogHockeyIsKing
03-27-2011, 03:58 PM
Perhaps someone can explain St. Louis to me. Did the CCHA put in a general bid for St. Louis, or did St. Louis bid on its own behalf? It just makes no sense to me to have a regional in a city with no programs within any semblance of proximity. This may have been mentioned earlier in the thread, but I simply don't feel like looking.

freak
03-27-2011, 04:12 PM
but as I wrote before, look at the numbers for Hockey East's 2-of-3 Quarterfinal round held at campus sites over the last decade or thereabouts.

There are other circumstances which contribute to this, however. In the case of UNH, since 2003-2004, the Hockey East tournament was pushed back by a week. This ensured that UNH is always on Spring Break during the quarterfinals.

In 2001-2002 (vs Merrimack) and 2002-2003 (vs Lowell), however, the attendance was very good. In those years, the Hockey East Semis/Finals were during Spring Break, but the effect was less noticeable because UNH has never had a large student presence at the Fleece Center. But now, with the Spring Break absence of students, along with a general lessening of interest in the program overall, it has impacted the attendance greatly.

IMO, an NCAA campus round would do well at UNH, especially if tickets were affordable for students.

dutchbrowncoat
03-27-2011, 04:15 PM
Albany obviously not so much.

yes i am biased because i live in the area, but i think albany is actually a really good location. tickets are too expensive, but it is about a four hour drive (or less) for literally half of the teams in d1 hockey. attendance was low in albany last year because rit/unh don't have huge followings, the number 1 seed was denver, and cornell was still playing in the basketball tourney that weekend.

Patman
03-27-2011, 07:37 PM
I looked at going to the Manchester regional....

So I humbly suggest that maybe it isn't my fault. :)

Buy an extra ticket and offer to split the gas... there must be somebody up there that'd drive to a hockey game. ;)

Priceless
03-27-2011, 10:05 PM
Attendance at Manchester tonight is 5906. Sad.

amherstblackbear
03-27-2011, 10:22 PM
Is that paid or actual?

If it's actual, then I can understand. The Merrimack and Miami folks didn't come back. That's one of the problems when there's only one game on day 2.

If it's paid - shame on the UNH faithful(?)

Jim
03-28-2011, 12:23 PM
I think what makes sense is going to super-regional format as they use in a number of other sports, notably baseball, but also going back to an East-West system. And play the games in hockey regions and in reasonable sized arenas, in the 8500 to 10,000 seat range. Playing in a 20,000 seat arena in an area that has no college teams simply invites disaster. I'd also prefer making the East a true East and the West a true West, at least as much as possible. Don't obsess about getting the seeding right. You probably won't anyway. And of course from time to time you need to move a team just to make the numbers work, but that should be done intellegently, too by trying to get teams geographically close ot home rather than by ranking. And while we're on that, can we please stop automatically seeding the AHA Champ as #16. It has been years since the AHA representative has been a questionable representative.

The fact is that if fans have to travel too far they just won't do it for a first round game. That is true of hockey, but its also true of most sports. Look at the various conference football championships. Outside the SEC, they tend to not draw all that well becuase the fans know that if their team wins, they'll be travelling again in a couple of weeks. It is also why the NCAA uses its "pod" system for the first weekend of the basketball tournament. UCONN, for example, a "west" seed, played the first weekend in Washington DC. We need to be thinking along those line, too. Even if you want to put BC in the mid-west, have them play in Manchester. Even if you want to put Minnesota-Deluth in the East, play the first round in Minneapolis.

joecct
03-28-2011, 12:42 PM
I THINK the NCAA is exploring going to a 2 out of 3 first round at the 8 higher seeded schools with the 8 survivors advancing to two neutral site sooper regionals for a one night twin bill to get to the Frozen Four the following weekend. This would "protect" the higher seeded teams.

I don't know how they would schedule around the Final Fours (Friday and Saturday??), but it is something to think about.

chickod
03-28-2011, 01:21 PM
can we please stop automatically seeding the AHA Champ as #16. It has been years since the AHA representative has been a questionable

I'm not sure if you don't understand the system or what, but they are not being "automatically" seeded #16. The seedings are done according to the Pairwise Rankings (PWR). If you HAD taken the top 16 teams, Air Force would not even be included. They were ranked T22. As it was, they had to be "jumped" over six teams just to get them in. So, OK, let's just take the top 16 then, OK? You wouldn't even HAVE an AHA team without the autobid. Be happy they're there at all!

chickod
03-28-2011, 01:24 PM
I think what makes sense is going to super-regional format as they use in a number of other sports, notably baseball, but also going back to an East-West system. And play the games in hockey regions and in reasonable sized arenas, in the 8500 to 10,000 seat range. Playing in a 20,000 seat arena in an area that has no college teams simply invites disaster. I'd also prefer making the East a true East and the West a true West, at least as much as possible. Don't obsess about getting the seeding right. You probably won't anyway. And of course from time to time you need to move a team just to make the numbers work, but that should be done intellegently, too by trying to get teams geographically close ot home rather than by ranking. And while we're on that, can we please stop automatically seeding the AHA Champ as #16. It has been years since the AHA representative has been a questionable representative.

The fact is that if fans have to travel too far they just won't do it for a first round game. That is true of hockey, but its also true of most sports. Look at the various conference football championships. Outside the SEC, they tend to not draw all that well becuase the fans know that if their team wins, they'll be travelling again in a couple of weeks. It is also why the NCAA uses its "pod" system for the first weekend of the basketball tournament. UCONN, for example, a "west" seed, played the first weekend in Washington DC. We need to be thinking along those line, too. Even if you want to put BC in the mid-west, have them play in Manchester. Even if you want to put Minnesota-Deluth in the East, play the first round in Minneapolis.


Perhaps the most sensible and concise synopsis I have seen yet......

Priceless
03-28-2011, 01:41 PM
And while we're on that, can we please stop automatically seeding the AHA Champ as #16. It has been years since the AHA representative has been a questionable representative.


If they earn a higher seed they will get it, like Air Force did in 2009.

Rover
03-28-2011, 01:42 PM
I think people are way overreacting to the St. Louis debacle. Obviously you should not schedule regionals in an NHL sized arena. Why this was done I'm not sure, but I'm not aware of this happening before so maybe its a unique circumstance.

However, all of these so-called remedies people are proposing are worse than the symptoms they're trying to cure. For example:

1) Put regionals in home team arenas = disaster. Unfair advantage and what happens if the arena holds 2000 people or something like that? Not to mention TV coverage if you're playing in a barn. Do all arenas in college hockey have the ability to do video reviews if necessary for example.

2) Make two super regionals and downsize tournament to 12 teams. Don't like it. First you're downsizing the sport which makes no sense at a time when its adding a conference. Then you're essentually having an equivalent of a Frozen Four two weeks before the actual event. Finally, you'd still have the problem of empty seats as fans who's team lost would leave and we'd be back to square one.

3) Get rid of bye week. This is the worst idea of all. Force fans to make travel arrangements a week before the event so they can get reamed where the sun don't shine on air fare and hotels? Yikes, are we trying to benefit the sport or kill it?

Look, I don't question the motivations of people pushing these ideas as I'm sure you like the sport as much as I do. However, a few tweaks will solve a lot of problems. Regionals should be held in arenas within a certain capacity (say 8000-12000). They also should be held in centrally located areas where there is some connection with the sport. This is far easier in the East, where Manchester, Providence, Worcester, Bridgeport, and Albany all fit the bill. Its more difficult in the West but I would think a Michigan, Minnesota or Colorado location could do the trick (are there any 10K arenas around Chicago?). Next they need to get a better handle on the host team concept. UNH hosting that regional should not have forced BC west. Not only was that unfair, but it probably cost thousands of tickets being sold. Who is going to draw for their regional should factor into where teams get sent. If Wisconsin makes the tourament but isn't hosting a regional in Madison, under no circumstances should they be sent elsewhere. Yes you're rewarding teams that draw well, but I don't consider that a bad thing.

Lastly, it drives me nuts when people start the same old crap about hockey being irrelevant except for a few hard core fans. I don't think lacrosse, badminton or underwater basket weaving could draw 100K for an outdoor game, nor bring 35K to crime riddled dump Detroit for a national championship. Furthermore, here in Mass I could catch all of the regionals on TV and during the season I can catch college hockey on cable on 5 different networks (ESPN, NESN, Comcast, FSN, and local channels). If the NCAA's are forcing all of these stations to show the sport, they sure care about college hockey a lot more than I've been giving them credit for. One has to wonder why they aren't showing similar love for tennis, wrestling ,etc - the other "niche" sports of equal irrelevance?

The bottom line is, the days of holding the national tournament in a barn out in Colorado where 300 people paid a nickel to watch the championship and everybody was on a first name basis are over. In the 20 years I've been watching hockey, we've gone from having it in 12K seating Providence twice in 5 years to filling up non college hockey Washington DC and bringing 35K to the aforementioned Detroit. People, that's growth. Its on TV more than ever. Nobody realistically expects to generate the interest of hoops or football, any more than the professional league isn't as popular as the NBA or NFL. However, to suggest its backsliding is ridiculous. People are paying attention. Might it be the slowdown in regional attendance is the function of 1) location, 2) teams assigned to play at those locations, and 3) a really really down economy?

Craig P.
03-28-2011, 01:54 PM
16 out of 58 (28%)

What screwy system is hoops using these days - 68 teams? If we apply that percentage to hockey, you get 11-odd teams. Round up generously to . . . . . 12 teams.

You're comparing apples and oranges. Basketball is about 1/3 power teams and 2/3 happy-to-be-theres. Hockey is about 80% power teams and 20% happy-to-be-theres. If you look at the number of at-large bids compared to the teams that would generally be competitive for them assuming a good season, I think the ratios right now are about right for both basketball and hockey. Dropping the hockey tournament back to twelve would be a terrible idea.