Monitor OKC attendance at Big 12 Tournament
Oklahoma City is on the spot at the Big 12 Tournament. OKC has been hit with a double whammy in hosting its second Big 12 Tournament: a new format that has the men starting on Wednesday, plus the recession.
Big 12 associate commissioner Tim Allen said he understands the new format, which cuts men’s teams a break: it gives the NCAA committee time to truly study a full resume’ and it gives the teams more rest before next week’s NCAA Tournament. In many years, the Big 12 title game has concluded about 4:15 p.m. Sunday, with the NCAA selections announced at 5 p.m. Sunday.
The new format, with a Saturday night final, is much more committee-friendly.
However, it makes it tougher on the fans. Visiting fans — or heck, even locals as far as the matinee sessions are concerned — have to take off an extra day of work. Many fans will still make a vacation of it, but not all fans can do that, plus there’s the recession.
Allen said one thing he’s always been proud of is first-day attendance at the tournament: 6,000; 7,000; 8,000 fans for Texas Tech-Nebraska or Colorado-Missouri. The arena isn’t full, but it’s got bodies in it, and the coliseum mostly fills up for the quarterfinals on Friday.
Now, with those first-round games on Wednesday, it could change. How many people will be in the seats for Nebraska-Baylor at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday? Then Colorado-Texas at 2 p.m.? Tonight should be rocking with OSU-Iowa State, but spotty attendance will cause all kinds of discussion for the schools.
Already, there is movement to make Kansas City a permanent host. It’s likely Oklahoma City would not be completely shut out of being in the tournament rotation, but poor attendance certainly would hurt OKC’s cause.
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