Danny White's first couple of years at UB have, at times, split the fan base. Whether it's the "New York' logo on the floor at Alumni Arena or the team passing up a bid to the CBI or CIT tournaments. Often times you have divisions among fans.
Those kind of issues, however, exist in every fan base. I may disagree with my U-Brother who hates the idea of "The New York Bulls" but their blood is just as blue as mine. So long as we keep coming back to that we will be ok.
But the lesson for you aspiring captains of industry is that as a chief executive of anything there is one truth that will always haunt you.
You can't please all of the people all of the time.
Still, for all the times Danny White may have ruffled your feathers there is one thing we can all agree on. Danny White means business when it comes to putting UB out there as one of the must do events for sports fans in Buffalo.
The tail gate series, the ticket giveaways to local businesses, and the deal with the Fan on radio have all been aimed at raising awareness of UB Athletics.
Had UB hosted a CIT or CBI game they might lose money on it but you can be damn sure that White would have spent the last two days putting Bobby Hurley in front of every TV camera in Buffalo and had him shaking hands with each warm body walking through the student union. The entire focus of every employee in UB Athletics would have been making sure that Alumni Arena was as full as possible given the timeline.
I suspect that caffeine patches would have been in every candy bowl in the department, perhaps even with a "UB" logo on them.
There would have been promotional give aways, ticket bundle deals, and the small business already partnering with UB would have had a hand full for their employees. Maybe the reason White turned down the CIT is because he seems to detest doing anything small.
After watching EMU's game today I am more grateful for White's "shoot for the stars" mentality then ever before.
The result of doing something small was on display in Ypsi as the Eagles hosted a CIT game, their first post season game in 16 years. Poor execution by the front office at EMU had a big hand in the attendance.
Let me start by saying I have always kind of identified with EMU. I feel like the Eagles get a bum rap considering they face some structural problems that few MAC schools can understand. I also appreciate that despite some long term struggles in football and hoops EMU has been a solid school in about every other MAC sport.
Though losing in the quarterfinals sucked, and boy did it suck, I was glad for EMU that they had that moment.
You would think with the kind of attendance problems they have EMU's athletic department would go all out trying to get butts in the seats for this game. Instead they took a completely lackadaisical approach in the way they "promoted" this game.
Here was the twitter announcement
Eastern Michigan Hosts Norfolk State for First Round of the CIT #EMUHoops #EaglesUnite http://t.co/W6oWvBRCRC— EMU Athletics (@emuathletics) March 17, 2014
And this was the only article on their site I could find..
The closest thing to an awareness campaignput out by EMU athletics is a canned email. Here was the promotion to students from our friends over at Hustle Belt
That's it! Are freaking kidding me?
This memo reads worse than the note they pass around at work about "taco Tuesdays". Seriously the last note I got about changes in the bathroom cleaning schedule were more compelling than this turd sandwich EMU Athletics sent out. It's a shameful dereliction of duty by the folks over at EMU Athletics.
UB did more than this to promote games back when they were a DIAA program in the 90's. Heck UB has already put more into promoting their 2014 football game against Norfolk state more than EMU did to put out the word on their post season game against Norfolk.
Let's break down this finely crafted email..
Subject: To EMU Students, faculty and staff:
I'm no expert in promotions but if I was to craft this email the subject would have read "Eastern Michigan Basketball Breaks into the Post Season, will host Norfolk on Tuesday". Or maybe I would have went with "Come out to watch EMU Battle Norfolk in the first round ot the CIT tournament this Tuesday".
The letter goes on:
For the first time in 16 years the Eastern Michigan University will be playing in a post season tournament .....
Yea nothing will excite an apathetic fan base like reminding them why they are apathetic!
Who cares if Bill Clinton was the president the last time EMU played in the post season. The gap in your post season history not at all relevant to this mail and only serves to reenforce the struggles that, lord willing, are in your past.
This years EMU team had a damn impressive season and they sent my Beloved Bulls home after paling two games in three days, focus on the now! For several years EMU has been building their program. A good coaching hire, some good transfers and boom! 20 win season.
I would have went with this..
"After a MAC Championship torment run which went from Ypsi straight through to the conference Semi Finals, *YOUR* Eastern Michigan Men's basketball team will be hosting Norfolk State in the first round of the College Insiders Post Season tournament".
EMU Athletics then get's into the worst idea since "New Coke"
Tickets for the first round contest will be $10 for adults and $5 for students with a valid EMU ID card and Children under 12. In addition floor seats will be sold for $30 per ticket.
Wait what ?!?! This can't be right, can it?
You're charging students and kids under 12? Being in the shadow of Ann Arbor does not mean you get away with soaking students and kids.... One of the Holy grails of good mid major attendance is that students are *always free*.
This should have read:
"Admission is free for anyone with a student ID and one guest under the age of 25. All Children under 12 are also free. Because the seniors have been here for four years for this game only EMU will admit any Alumni who graduated after 2010 for free with proof of their graduation date.
Regular tickets will be 5$ for general seating and 15$ for the floor."
You were going to lose money on this game regardless of your ticket pricing setup. You would have had to sell 1,000 floor seats for you to come close to breaking even. You host these games to reward students and hopefully build up the fan base a little bit, not to make money.
Finally we get to the last paragraph.
Nobody cares about the old NIT model. If you want to put anything after the first two paragraphs it should recognition of the Seniors who might be playing their last game in EMU Green.
After seeing this memo, and the total lack of publicity that I have heard about from some EMU faithful I would say the players need to turn their anger away from the students and aim it right at their administration. The coaching staff and players at EMU have worked their tails off all year long. The least the administration could have done is put in two solid days.