The NJCAA is looking to make some tournament changes in Hutchinson and Salina for March 2013. The proposal? Change the current 16 team double elimination tournament into a 24 team single elimination tournament. The tournament would also start on Monday, as opposed to Tuesday.

What a great idea! We can increase the fan base by 50%! Ticket sales will go up! People will be here an extra day! How wonderful!

Not so fast.

Let’s outline what the tournament status is. Recently, HCC and the American Legion won the contract for the tournament for another 10 years, I believe. Salina, I believe, has a similar agreement. That’s the good news. The bad news is that ticket sales are declining. Especially in Salina (No respect for women’s basketball, perhaps? They fight hard, America!), but Hutch isn’t immune, either. These events are about the students, sure. But they need fans in the stands to make it happen. So, we must look at it in the perspective of getting more fans, and by proxy, more money. I see a few problems with the change.

First, the number of teams would increase by 50%. While this looks like a winner out of the box, that doesn’t guarantee 50% more fans, but you do have more people to come to Hutch. Isn’t necessarily going to increase ticket sales.

Second, to get more teams fit in, it must be a single elimination tournament. With the current format, the first team goes home on Wednesday, with 3 more on Thursday. That means on Friday morning, there are still 11 teams here, 7 of which are still in the “Championship” side of the bracket. Under the new rules, There would only be 4. For the number of fans on a weekend (where attendance is highest), this is a 63.6% reduction in the number of teams, which would limit the number of fans to potentially draw from. Championship day would reduce the 8 remaining teams to 4 teams, a 50% drop. How does this get more fans in the stands, again?

Third, Would more fans come to see their team if they only played 1 game as opposed to 2?

So there are 3 main problem areas with the new plan that, while it looks good on paper, doesn’t look like it will increase the number of fans.

Categories: OpinionRandom