By Alex Ancira
Last Wednesday night, I headed off to Kitty Magee Arena hoping to catch some hoops. The Pioneers faced the Texas A&M- Commerce Lions, and I had not been to as many games this season as I had hoped. I was reminded at the front desk that attendance was free for any TWU student, a nice benefit of attending a Pioneer home game.
However, as I took my seat in the stands and the game drew closer to tip off, I noticed that there weren’t all too many people in the stands — it turned out from the box score, 400 people altogether to be exact.
Bearing in mind that the university does not get much buzz from new students for having especially revered athletics, this type of attendance is still miniscule within itself. Taken from TWU’s website, the university currently has 14,221 students enrolled across three campuses.
Now, remember that at the last basketball game, only 400 students attended. 400 out of 14,221, in case anyone is wondering, is nearly three percent of TWU’s population.
Kitty Magee Arena, the home court for the Pioneers, houses 1,800 alone, and can be increased to hold a crowd of 2,700 attendees. For comparison, 2,700 attendees is about 20 percent of the students from TWU .
The home side of the stands rarely even gets filled, notwithstanding Pack the House or Pack the House II. Both of those events brought in more than 1,000 students easily, with Pack the House having a TWU Athletics-record 1,373 in attendance.
While the Pioneers basketball teamhasbeenonabitofaskid at times this season, the team definitely should garner more attention around campus. Gaining spectators should not require the promise of scholarships and door prizes.
Each home game is free, and I can promise that if students wanted, they could pack the house every night the team’s in town. No matter the luck of the team or how inconsistent it has been all season, this group of women needs the support of a solid fan base. Without said support, it can be rough to perform in a tightly-contested contest.
Sadly, no one sport at TWU is supported exceptionally well. The attendance for Soccer (361 per contest) and Volleyball games (approximately 399 per game) are far below what each team deserves.
Students should attend due in part to school pride and due to the quality of the teams as well. All things considered, the teams have played well enough to deserve more than the roughly 400 students they pull in currently. The problem then lies with the students’ motivation and drive to go to games. I’m not advocating for all of TWU’s students to run in droves towards Kitty Magee or Pioneer Field every night of the week, but surely any given home game can attract a decent 800 students.
Hopefully, moving forward Pioneer games can garner a bigger crowd, but it would appear that no matter how successful the team is, the attendance remains static.
Sports attendance and participation remain great ways for students to get involved on campus, and the sad fact is that students are not utilizing this opportunity enough at TWU.
Either way, you can catch me at a Pioneer sporting event if I have the time. I implore any student to go as often as she or he can as well.