Posts of the Week
Each week, we will highlight a few entertaining and/or informative posts from the previous week. Please keep in mind that it is hard to keep track/prioritize all posts so we would welcome input from all Booties. You can make a "Bootie Selection" post as a response to any post that you deem worthy or you can email a link (to the nominated post) to me at email@example.com.
We can only hope that making this list will become the yardstick on how each poster is measured!
Below is the inaugural Posts of the Week list:
Stanford's home attendance in 2000 increased about 9% over the last comparable year.
In looking at attendance, we need to look at two-year cycles. In odd-numbered years, Stanford's two biggest gate attractions (Notre Dame and Cal) play at Stanford, while in even-numbered years those games are on the road. So attendance is substantially higher in odd-numbered years.
Last year (2000) was a "down" year in the attendance cycle, with Notre Dame and Cal on the road. Attendance last year was lower than the previous year (1999), when we played Notre Dame and Cal at Stanford. But in my view, the proper point of comparison for last year's attendance would be previous even-numbered years. Compared to 1996 and 1998, Stanford's average attendance last year actually increased:
1996 -- 35,783
1998 -- 34,776
2000 -- 37,980
The disparity between even-numbered years and odd-numbered years is a recent thing. Historically, USC was a huge gate attraction, drawing over 80,000 in the late 1970s. We play USC at home in even-numbered years, which used to balance out the effect of playing Cal at home in odd-numbered years. But attendance for the USC game has fallen off quite a bit (maybe 45,000 per game over the last several years). So Stanford has no big gate attraction in even-numbered years. (This provides yet more evidence of the demise of the USC program: people don't come out to see them any more.)
Overall, if you look at multi-year averages, Stanford's average attendance has declined from about 55,000 to 45,000 over the last 20 years. Much of that decline can be attributed to the USC and San Jose State games. In both cases, the decline in the success of the opponent's program seems to be an important factor in attendance.
Last year, Stanford had an increase in attendance for both USC and San Jose State. USC drew 43,250 in 1998 and 50,125 last year. San Jose State drew 36,396 in '98, 38,261 in '99 and 41,525 last year. That is promising, but it's not clear whether it's a trend or a one-time up-tick. . . .
Poster: Genuine Realist
Subject: USC v. Stanford
I have sort of led the league around here in anti-elitism. Stanford has plenty to offer without overdoing it. HOWEVER, in response to some of the posts comparing USC and Stanford. . . there is no comparison.
Once upon a time, there was. In the 20's and 30's, they were both located in attractive suburban areas, with reasonable academics, comparable athletics (Fred MaCMurray in the 1942 Billy Wilkder movie hears the name Stanford, grunts, and says `Good football school', a serious line, which in recent years has usually been good for an unintentional laugh.)
But, alas, after WWII, they went in totally different directions, and poor USC got creamed in almost every aspect. Stanford went the high road academically; USC was swamped by the iniital post-war migration and became an atheltic icon. The once lovely area was destroyed by the ugliest kind of urban blight. Palo Alto was spared that for nearly thirty years. (Alas, it is catching up.) USC grads rallied around the football team, which beginning in the mid-Sixties became an academic disgrace. When the Presdient's Council beceame effective int he mid-80's - the bes thing that happened to college atheletics since Teddy Roosevelt - the football team could no longer dominate. Paging Russell White and Napoleon Kaufman.
These days there is no comparison. Now, if you enroll at USC, you enroll in a private university that isn't any more diversified than Stanford, but considerably less prestigious. You spend your best years in some of the ugliest urban landscapes on the West Coast. And you get to play football for the likes of Paul Hackett or some second-rate NMFL reject. (If any USC alum would have believed in the 60's that a day would come when the school couldn't lure a coach on the make out of Corvallis, they wouldn't have believed it.)
Tucson ? 15 minutes and you're in unexplored desert country, fascinating. Berkeley? Not my cup of tea, but there are those who love it. UCLA probably offers the second best combinationof athletics and academics on the West Coast in a diversified campus, and Westwood is first rate. Washington and Eugene are lovely places with moderate cool climates. OSU has the coach USC wanted. And Pullman is fascinating if you really want to explore the ends of the earth.
But USC ? Finishes second to Stanford on EVERY scale these days, except on those scales where it finishes worse than second
Subject:What is wrong with attendance, how to fix...
So attendance used to average 55,000 per game and it has dwindled to 45,000. What to do, what to do, what to do...?
I've been attending Stanford football games since about 1969, and my family has attended them since the 1920s, so I'll offer a few comments:
1. The alcohol ban stopped both student and non-student fans from attending. Part of the fun is, let's just say it, carrying in booze and continuing the tailgating inside the stadium. Even granddad (Stanford '42) used to carry a ton of it in. I remember this lesson sank in when he asked me to pass him a large 7 up bottle. I started to remove it from the cooler when he said "not that one, the other one." Oh. Even a 7 year old gets that little lesson. So let's allow beer back in the stadium.
2. Quality of the team. After 20+ non-losing seasons, attendance was huge by the mid-1970s. I think, at one point, even SJSU drew over 70,000 people…after SJSU had won a few games in a row. The quality is improving I think.
3. Offering alums free tickets is a good idea. I like the idea
of giving away free tickets to season ticket holders, to use with
their best judgment as Stan4Hoops and others have suggested.
That's a terrific idea. Heck, don't offer...just send the
Catch: Must wear red and white.
4. Same with large corporations. I would send buckets of free tickets to those businesses that advertise in the stadium or who advertise other Stanford sports. Paging Mr. McNealy. How about a "Sun MicroSystems" Day? Remove the tarp and put every one of their employees' butts in the North end zone. Intel Day. Apple Day. HP Day. Local, City, County, State and Government employee Day (against SJSU). Catch: must wear red and white.
5. Heck, pass out 200,000 coupons "Dress in Red and White and get in free!!". Use them as prizes for contests, bonuses for dot-com employees or insert them in the parole envelope along with the $56.12