This basketball season, the women’s team has been far superior in terms of points, but there has been one statistic that the men have consistently bested them at: crowd attendance.
Coming off the back of three consecutive losses, and on Valentine’s night none-the-less, HUMBB had a packed Mack witness their 57-71 defeat to Delaware, whilst HUWBB could not even match this number on their Sunday afternoon senior day, when under half that amount turned up to see them beat UNC Wilmington 66-55.
“I think some of it has to do with when the games are, but the main crowd contrast is that men’s basketball has more season ticket holders than women’s, so the ‘regulars’ that come to men’s do not equally come to women’s.” explains Isaac Neal, graduate assistant for the Hofstra ticket department.
It is fair to say that the basketball gods have not been too kind to Mo Cassara’s squad in terms of injuries this year, and though the patience and loyalty of the HUMBB fans is something to be celebrated, it still seems nonsensical that Hofstra basketball fans would neglect the abundant talent of the women’s program.
Some students cited the problem of poor marketing for their unawareness, but Neal begs to differ: “Everyone in my department works extremely hard to get people to come down for games. But the turnout is still what it is, said the 24-year-old. “I’ve seen every strategy possible and still seen a small outcome.”
Despite being in the 21st century, some people suggest this is just a classic example of sexism in sport, and one of those people is Joe Pantorno, Hofstra Chronicle Sports Editor. “In my opinion it’s an issue of stereotype,” Pantorno said. “I’ve asked people why they do not go to the games and the responses usually are something like, ‘Come on. They’re women,’ or something like that which really bothers me.”
Indeed, the pattern of male-favoring audiences in sport is ubiquitous, and may therefore be an issue far greater than a college team can hope to compete with, but Pantorno believes there is one thing that could help. “If the team keeps improving and can possibly make an NCAA berth, people might show up for the sheer fact that they want to see a winning team,” he said.
Whether this will be a solution remains to be seen, but HUWBB are keen to try it out. “It’s been a little disheartening when we’ve been to other CAA schools that manage to pull a bigger crowd,” said HUWBB Junior Courtney Breen. “But we’re taught to just focus on the game itself no matter what the situation, and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing.”
As the team prepares for finals weekend, the question still lingers as to how HUWBB would have benefitted from the sixth man of a sold out Lion’s den; but fortunately, if this season is anything to go by, they have been coping just fine without him.