The Rutgers men had three home games over the holiday break. They averaged 4,567 per game for the trio. That's just over 57% capacity at the RAC. It included the season's second largest crowd - 6,002 - for the Big Ten opener against Indiana. Considering that students were heading home, the numbers really weren't all that bad. Though the truth is, Rutgers simply doesn't have that much to offer to draw fans in.
The 8-7 Cornhuskers come to Piscataway on Saturday for a 5 pm contest. Nebrasketball isn't the draw that Indiana or Michigan State are. Add to that the fact that classes don't resume until January 19 and your guess is as good as mine as to how many will be watching live.
The women played only one game in that time at home, a 66-55 win over Minnesota on New Year's Eve. And they drew the third largest crowd of the year with 2,057 in the building. The women are averaging just over 1,900 per game through the first seven contests. Last season, they averaged 2,409 per game over 15 games. With eight Big Ten games coming up, the women aren't doing badly.
Marketing and the students
At the Cagers Club (WBB boosters) meeting before the holidays, Pat Hobbs heard something that surprised and concerned him. A student commented that the bus schedule on the weekends was not conducive to getting students to the RAC. In other words, if the kids can't get there, they understandably ain't coming. Hobbs appeared concerned enough about that issue that he may look into making it a priority. How difficult could it be to get a few extra buses running on the weekend before and after games? Oh, wait. This is Rutgers. But it is also a serious issue. You can't expect anyone, let alone students, to attend games if you make it difficult to do so. Seriously, just set up a queue of buses at the student centers of each campus for the sole purpose of taking students to the games. No routes to other places; a RAC Express. Period. And then give them a ride back afterward. Damn the cost, it's important!
Rutgers returns home after a very successful Midlands Tournament. This Friday, the 10-2 (B1G 1-1) Knights host their second Big Ten contest of the season against Michigan State.
Against Nebraska, Rutgers drew over 2,600 to the RAC on December 12. Coach Scott Goodale would love to see that number eclipsed on Friday as the Knights open 2016. The team will also be honoring a special wrestling group that night.
At Friday's dual vs. Michigan State, the program will honor members of the NJ Wrestling Hall of Fame. More info TBA today. #RUWR— Rutgers Wrestling (@RUWrestling) January 4, 2016
How the other half lives...or draws crowds
Seton Hall basketball has been doing far better on the court than Rutgers (are you listening, Pat?) Playing in the 18,500 seat Prudential Center - which, ironically, Pat Hobbs helped get started - the Pirates are drawing an average of just under 6,000 per game (5,995) through eight games. Admittedly, one of those games was at Walsh Gym on campus. Take out that game against Wagner in South Orange and they are drawing 6,594 at The Rock. Or about 36% capacity. By comparison, fellow Big East member Georgetown is averaging 8,240 at home. But that average was boosted by a crowd of over 18,000 at the Verizon Center in a game against Syracuse. The old days are sorely missed in D.C.