April 1, 2010
This is the latest installment of our monthly feature called, "Ask the AD." If you have questions for Saluki Director of Athletics Mario Moccia, feel free to submit them by e-mail.
I just saw the kickoff times for football and was wondering why we don't play more football games at night? Wouldn't that improve attendance and possibly get SIU more TV exposure?
We try to consider all factors when setting kickoff times for football. We gather our marketing, media relations, game operations, finance people and, of course, Dale Lennon, to hear opinions and review the data from previous years on how game times affect overall attendance. Since the home opener will be played on a Thursday, it needs to be a night game. Also, the Sept. 18 game vs. SEMO will be a night game, since the potential exists for very hot temperatures in the daytime. The next two games are Homecoming, which the University strongly advises us to play in the afternoon, and Family Weekend, which also includes many activities during the day and night. We determined that afternoon kickoffs were best for those two games. The final two games are on Nov. 13 and Nov. 20, and colder weather and early darkness come into play. It seems our attendance historically dwindles later in the season, and colder weather is a main factor, so an afternoon game time was chosen, based on our historical data.
Have you decided on how the Stadium seating selection will be done, and what is the start date for selecting Arena seating?
The football seat selection will be done at the exact same time as the basketball seat selection. Selection times for the 2,014+ individuals who indicated their interest in choosing seats have been mailed out, and the first day of seat selection is Tuesday, April 13, and will go through mid-June. Selection will take place in the athletic offices in Lingle Hall. Oversize seating manifests will be available in the waiting area, so individuals can familiarize themselves with what is available, and then the exact same maps will be available to view in the actual selection room.
Coach Lowery often said this year's team was lacking leadership, but with essentially the same team returning next year, who among the current group can provide the leadership to pull his mates out of a slump?
Well, I would suggest as certain players mature and grow more confident in their abilities, they take on more of a natural leadership role. I do believe to an extent that some leaders are just born that way (or socialized). I know that Coach Lowery is placing a renewed emphasis on toughness, grit and basketball smarts in this current recruiting class, which in turn should provide us with the proper on-court leadership to return us to our successful ways.
If money is an issue at the University, why don't we schedule guarantee games with BCS teams in basketball? And why do we pay guarantees to smaller schools to play at our place?
This is a possibility, but the Weber, Painter, Lowery blueprint has traditionally been to not play the "one and done's" or the "two for ones" that might make a little bit of money, but really hurt us from a competitive standpoint. Rather, we are seeking home and homes with the traditional regional opponents with good RPI/SOS -- teams such as SLU, Western Kentucky, Murray State, etc. Historically, we have paid the smallest amount in "buy" games in the entire Missouri Valley Conference, based upon league surveys. We had two last season, and we are aiming for zero this upcoming season. It is standard practice for teams to be paid to come if there is no return game, and some programs subsidize their athletic departments by mandating a certain number of these "buy" games. We have chosen an alternate route and place a great emphasis on selling tickets for our home games to boost revenue. In the same vein, some football programs at our level play two FBS opponents, where we historically have chosen to play one.
I find it odd that it is free to attend a baseball game in person, but you have to pay to listen to the games on the internet. Can you please explain that rationale?
I consulted with Will Patterson, the General Manager of Saluki Sports Properties, who controls the content on www.siusalukis.com. As we are broadcasting more baseball games on the radio than we have since the early 1980s, charging helps defray costs. Costs include travel expenses for the talent, the equipment, which is provided by Saluki Sports Properties, and the cost of the bandwidth to do the internet stream. In the future, we would love to make some substantial upgrades to Abe Martin Field, which would include a fence around the stadium and begin charging for admission, like every other Missouri Valley Conference school. But for now, entrance to Saluki baseball will remain free of charge, and there are not many of those things left in this world, as I am sure you will attest to. It is a great bonus made available to our fans, and we appreciate your support.