This time instead of criticizing, Auriemma has a solution for future attendance issue
Last year at this time, the UConn Huskies were hosting the first and second round of the NCAA tournament on their home court at Gampel Pavilion. It was the last home game in the storied career of Maya Moore, and “only” 5,729 people came out for the game.
Auriemma chose the occasion to lash out at the Connecticut fan base.
“I guess we need to win more. Everybody loves a winner, you know.,” he said, “Maybe we should offer free parking, more giveaways. We should let some of the fans coach the team, maybe a guest coach every quarter.
We have a spoiled group of fans who assume we are going to win, who assumed we would be in Philadelphia [for the regionals] and be at the Final Four We had the season, the Big East in Hartford and now the NCAA tournament. You are asking them to do a lot. So I think we don’t bid on [hosting the NCAA first round] for five years.”
So, with attendance of today’s game in Bridgeport, Connecticut against Prairie View A&M even lower, when Associated Press writer Doug Feinberg asked his opinion about today’s attendance of 4,563, how would Auriemma handle it?
He smiled and chuckled, determined not to get himself in trouble again, but still ready with his usual acerbic wit, but toned down a few notches:
“It is what it is., as they say. Last year I made a comment, and people took some exception with what I said. I do think the tickets are expensive, relative to everywhere else in the country. Just check the numbers. We’re $20 more expensive than the next highest, so that’s a lot. I saw a parking lot outside, it was $15, that’s a lot. Saturday afternoon, the weather is nice, supposedly, I haven’t been outside so, I don’t know.”
“The old 52-inch TV story, so everybody is sitting at home watching it. We should go pay per view. You let everyone in the building free, or for five bucks, and we charge everyone to stay at home and watch it on TV. I think that’s going to be the next gig. Come to the game, you get in for five bucks. Stay home and watch it on the 52-inch TV, pay per view. You have to pay to watch it.
Again, it’s what we talked about last year. We’ve got two basketball programs in the state at UConn. Each play 18 home games or something, that’s 36 games, even though it’s not exactly the same crowd. We have the Big East tournament, the first and second round, and the regionals are an hour away. It’s a lot, when you’re asking the same people all the time to do that.
So we should be happy we got 4,500 but I think anybody that is running this building and running this tournament, would tell you that they are disappointed. If they don’t they’re lying.”