Both the men’s and women’s basketball programs at Youngstown State University experienced success on the hardwood this year. The men captured 18 victories and made it to the second round of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, while the women grabbed 23 victories and reached the second round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament.
Rick Love, associate director of YSU athletics, said he is hoping the success will boost future season ticket sales and single game ticket sales.
“Our history and our data here in the athletic department shows that after a postseason tournament appearance, that typically we’ll get somewhere around 5 to 10 percent increase from the previous year because of the excitement that was generated,” Love said. “People like to attach themselves to a winner.”
This season, the men’s and women’s basketball teams brought in a little more than $90,000 in season ticket sales. Approximately 750 season tickets were sold, which Love said has been the average over the last four seasons.
The money that is raised from ticket sales goes back into the general athletic department budget, first and foremost paying for scholarships.
NCAA rules allow the men to give out 13 scholarships, while the women are allowed 15. Any money left after balancing the budgets can be used for capital improvements, such as new equipment or new uniforms.
Love said there are three main groups of season ticket holders: the normal season ticket holders who like basketball, the Penguin Club members and the corporate sponsors. The first two groups make up the majority, while the corporate sponsors often pass out their tickets.
Love added that YSU is hoping to increase the number of younger families who come to games, although he realizes that weekdays can be hectic, and season tickets are a big commitment.
“Between the men and women, you’re talking over 30 home games — it’s not like football where you’re only coming to six Saturdays,” Love said. “Basketball goes from November all the way until the end of March.”
The postseason tournament games played at Beeghly Center brought in above-average crowds. The men’s first CIT game saw almost 3,100 people in attendance, while the second game brought in almost 2,600 people. In comparison, the men’s postseason game that Kent State University hosted against Loyola University Maryland brought in only 740 people.
Meanwhile, the women’s NIT game drew more than 1,800 fans.
While the goal every year is to increase attendance slowly, Love said he believes that a few more years of success — such as this past season — will help the Beeghly Center fill.
“It is really a neat facility; you’re close to all the action,” Love said. “It’s not one of those real big arenas where you’re far away.”
The arena seats around 6,000, and while wanting to fill the nearly 1,100 red chair back seats with season ticket holders is a goal, having the arena halfway full makes for a good setting.
“We want to get to the point where on weeknights we’re able to average maybe 2,500 fans a game, and on weekends we can start approaching four to 5,000,” Love said.