The tough times for the UCLA basketball team has had a dire effect on their support. Attendance has sharply dropped since their season opener and as a low-point, several screen shots from their game against San Diego State show an empty student section and fans scattered throughout the arena.
The good folks at Bruins Nation posted several links of folks complaining about the lack of attendance on Saturday. I did some more digging and the attendance numbers so far are nothing short of disappointing despite the high attraction of the nation’s No. 1 recruiting class.
November 9 – Pauley Pavilion’s reopening attracted 13,513, a near sellout.
Nov. 12 – 7,254 saw the Bruins go to overtime against UC Irvine and barely get a win.
Nov. 15 – 7,554
Nov. 25 vs. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo – 8,317 witnessed the team’s shocking loss
Nov. 28 vs. Cal State Northridge – 5,751. That’s a 58% drop from the season opener.
Part of it can be expected since this is the pre-conference schedule and it compares to how low the attendance was in 2010-11. Yet it’s still emblematic of how this season has gone from high hopes to fans barely making the presence known at the tournament named for John Wooden. And it’s even sadder that a renovated Pauley Pavilion isn’t even attracting more folks.
Fans in Los Angeles want to see excitement. Sure they are loyal but they want to spend money knowing they’re going to be entertained and watch high-quality entertainment at that. It’s bleak that a proud program that should be one of the most elite in the country has trouble attracting fans.
I don’t blame the fans for not going and one can only look over at the football program to see how a top-notch product and dedication to reinventing the culture has invigorated the fan base. Case in point, it’s going to be a cold winter in Westwood unless something changes. The basketball program deserves far better and the fans not showing up know it too.