Thursday, January 27, 2011

Georgia Tech Basketball Attendance Watch: AJC's Mark Bradley Takes My Idea To The Big Stage

Mark Bradley takes a page out of the book I have been writing since the loss to UGA by bringing up why the empty seats at Alexander Memorial Coliseum is what is hurting Paul Hewitt's employment stability the most.
(Bradley's article)

The man not on Hewitt's Christmas card list continues...
"But D-Rad isn’t stupid, nor is he blind. He has to see that interest in Tech basketball is at a low not seen since the few folks who deigned to grace Alexander Memorial Coliseum in the final days of Dwane Morrison wore bags on their heads."

Just for the record, the announced attendance at the Virginia Tech game was 5,794. With 3,397 unsold seats at roughly $35 a pop, $118,895 was lost in ticket sales alone.

More from Bradley...
"This mounting apathy comes at a perilous time. In April, Tech will begin a $45 million renovation of Alexander. Next year’s Jackets will play 10 games at Philips Arena and the rest in the Arena at Gwinnett. How many among a diminishing number of Tech patrons will be willing to make the trek to unfamiliar buildings? And how, if interest doesn’t pick up by November 2012, will it be to unveil a refurbished coliseum that few care to visit?"

This is why Tech will not make a decision on Hewitt until after next season. No matter how this season ends up, Tech will not bring in a new coach to play a dead home schedule that will not be well attended either way.

More from Bradley...
"Granted, $7 million is a lot of money, but Radakovich must weigh that outlay against the price of standing pat. Down the road, how much more than $7 million would it cost Tech to keep an unpopular coach whose teams can’t be said to have overachieved since the golden run of 2004? At what point must an AD, hat in hand, call on donors and ask, “Can you spare a million to help us make a fresh start?”

I doubt Radakovich will go the donor route again after getting burned by those big donors who said they would buy out Chan Gailey.

All in all, the win over Virginia Tech was a very impressive one considering how Tech played in their last game, who Va. Tech has beaten, and how well Iman Shumpert played (which give Mark credit as he also writes about here).  The 800 lb elephant in the room is winning a road game (or two) for Hewitt.

Running total of lost ticket sales revenue:
UGA $86,310 lost without a full arena
Sav. St $24,195 lost without 75% full arena
Mercer $15,980 lost without 75% full arena
Charlotte $22,500 lost without 75% full arena
UNC $37,310 lost without a full arena
Wake Forest $109,515 lost without a full arena
Va Tech $118,895 lost without a full arena
TOTAL $414,705 in ticket sales alone

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