Where Do All the Alabama Fans Go After Football Season?
There’s a saying that after every football season fans take off their Alabama football hats and put on their Kentucky basketball hats. It’s funny…and a little sad, but true. Especially here in Nashville, the SEC melting pot of a city that’s located just a few hours away from both Lexington and Tuscaloosa.
I love my city, don’t get me wrong, but without an extensive, rich sports history of its own, it tends to default to the bandwagons. The Music City is home to Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers fans. The Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, and Chicago Cubs are well represented during baseball season. There seemed to be an influx of Miami Heat fans during 2010, and don’t even get me started on Chicago Blackhawks fans.
Being the destination city it is, the SEC allegiances lie all across the board – Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Georgia, Florida, Auburn, Ole Miss…I mean, really…do I need to list all 14 SEC teams to get my point across?
When it comes to college sports, I don’t see how one can root for different schools in football and basketball. It seems like an odd dynamic. Unlike pro sports, when you’re a fan of a college team, you feel like you’re supporting something greater. Higher learning, betterment of the future, supporting our youth, whatever, if you will.
Plus, tons of people prefer college football to the NFL, citing “these guys are playing more for the love of the game.” I think that’s faulty thinking and completely disagree, but that’s not my point today.
My point is that when you root for a college team, this sort of basking in reflective glory as its known should translate across all sports.
And, even if you don’t like basketball, don’t you have some sort of brand loyalty? Don’t you at least keep up and try to make it to a game every now and then?
That’s outside the state of Alabama, though. This is all stuff I’ve observed from all my Nashville Alabama fan brethren not named Poppa Bear. What about in the state?
I don’t know whether I’m out of line to call out Tuscaloosa for not attending basketball games or not. In fairness, I don’t know that football season ever truly ends down there.
But, we can look at attendance numbers for each sport. The Crimson Tide football team sold out 101,821 seats every game last season. The basketball arena has a capacity of 15,383. HUGE difference. While there are rumblings of a new basketball complex/facility, this is what the university has now, so that’s what we’re rolling with.
During SEC play, attendance at Tide basketball games averaged out to just 85% (Or, 13,075 fans per game). They boasted just four sellouts – Auburn (of course), Mississippi State, Kentucky, and LSU. Still, that averages out to a couple thousand seats open for each game, and this is SEC play no less! This is one of the most competitive athletic conferences in all of college sports.
So, you’re telling me that out of the 88,745 people who go to football games during the fall, there aren’t ~2,300 of y’all that feel like coming to basketball games? I mean, that is around 2% of the people that go to football games but not basketball games. I don’t feel like it’s a huge ask to sell out every Alabama game. I don’t feel like it would really take much effort at all to make Tuscaloosa more of a basketball town.
Literally, the math is there – it would be just 2% more work.
And, of course, I know I’m typing all of this and you’re just thinking, “But, Stoney – Richmond bounced ’em in the first round of the NIT. Why do we care?”
It’s about pride and consistency, people. I don’t really think it’s stable to bounce allegiances around like this. You people are like the sports fan equivalent of Eugene on The Walking Dead.
Though, really, I get it – Alabama’s not a “basketball school.” We could still all start trying a little harder to be more present and show these kids the support we show the football players.
There’s still plenty to be excited about – Avery Johnson is a stud coach and he has the program heading in the right direction. The team is no longer laughable. Hell, they beat South Carolina in the SEC Tournament. You know where South Carolina is right now? IN THE FINAL FOUR.
If you support a university, then support the damn university.
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