Yes, because it again came to light in the recent personnel moves with Weir and his supporters (screw Weir) saying he was going to a place where people supported basketball, and Mario again said it was a concern.
Obviously, NMSU is going to have to continue to address this issue. It's not only about improving the Pan Am's game atmosphere, it's about increasing revenues so that NMSU can improve the pay package for current and future coaches.
Mario lauded the fact that NMSU had increased ticket revenues this past season, and that's a good sign, but obviously there is lots of work to be done. I will point out again that the big glory crowds of season's past were a house of cards in many ways. Why?
- Yes, there were more season tickets sold, but not at face value. NMSU faculty/staff can purchase seasons tickets at 50% off. Many faculty/staff did not keep those tickets for themselves, but bought them for others. Also, many of those tickets were located in quality locations and when NMSU wanted to add a premium charge to those tickets, many faculty/staff bolted and have not come back.
- The old booster club (ASA, ASN, or whatever they call it now) would market season tickets as part of membership. Back in the day the top package, which was $5,000, included eight men's basketball season tickets with premium seating, eight football season tickets with premium seating, reserved parking, and hospitality room privileges (free food). Think about it. The average price for a quality season ticket to both basketball and football was $312.50.
- NMSU students would turn out in droves---around 4,000---for the premium games (not all the games, but certainly against UNM, UTEP and UNLV). NMSU athletics receives student fees, but students do not have to pay to enter sporting events, meaning no additional game day ticket revenue from students.
- Bench seats (there were 4,000 of them), where the upper-tier "tombstone" seats are/were, cost $5 each; $8 for the premium games.
Back in the day there were close to 5,000 season tickets sold. Add 4,000 students and 4,000 single game tickets, many of them general admission tickets, and you had a full house of 13,000. Attendance was excellent, but ticket revenue wasn't robust. Dr. Boston tried to increase revenues by adding premium seating, etc., not to mention moving season ticket holders around, and there was a drop off in season ticket sales. I'm the first to agree that the way Dr. Boston and his crew did it was clumsy, but he desperately was trying to increase revenues.
The bottom line is that the Las Cruces community as a whole, and that includes the limited corporations and individuals, have not shown a willingness to support the basketball program. Unless NMSU can encourage more sales, NMSU will be mired in ho-hum attendance and stagnant revenues.