Rhyan Henson | Multimedia Editor
Although it is the heart of basketball season, the Butler women’s team is having trouble filling the seats.
The highest attendance figure this season was 624 on Dec. 15 versus Northern Kentucky.
The announced attendance for Saturday’s game versus Creighton was 402. Those who attended the men’s game earlier in the day were admitted to the women’s game for free.
Junior center Liz Stratman said there is a substantial difference to the energy when the team plays home games compared to when it is on the road.
“We love to play on the road because all the other schools have marketed their teams really well,” Stratman said. “As a team, we have talked so many times about how we wish Butler would spend more time working on getting our attendance up so we enjoy playing at Hinkle.”
According to Butlersports.com, the women’s team has promotions for each of it’s seven remaining home game this season.
A representative from Butler sports marketing and promotions office was unavailable for comment.
Some promotions include a father/daughter day on Jan. 25, a breast cancer awareness night on Feb. 15, and several staff nights—where staff and faculty are admitted free with their ID.
The athletics department tries to encourage students who attend men’s games to attend women’s games as well, said Brian Weitz, former Butler sports promotion intern.
One of the ways the department pushes this idea is through the Dawg Pound.
“There is a lot of communication through Dawg Pound,” Weitz said. “(Specifically by) making people that are in Dawg Pound aware of the games by including information about women’s games with men’s games, especially with ticket information.”
Weitz said this season has shown promising signs of improvement, but the team still has a long way to go.
“It’s a tough thing to keep people interested in just because there are so many alternatives,” Weitz said. “People have a finite amount of time, and when you have a men’s basketball team where you are able to not only sell the sport, but also the experience, it’s tough.”
Stratman suggests Butler should try new strategies.
“I think that our school should try to target different groups of people,” Stratman said. “When we go to these other schools most of the audience is older people. At our games, it’s legit(imately) just our parents.”
Weitz women’s basketball is tough to market because men’s basketball reaps much larger rewards.
“You can sell a men’s ticket for half the work and twice the money,” Weitz said. “The incentive to sell men’s tickets far outweighs the incentive to sell women’s tickets.”
Weitz said the women’s basketball team tries to forge a connection with the Butler community. However, this puts strain on members of the team.
“These girls dedicate 30 hours a week to basketball, and then on top of that there’s schoolwork,” Weitz said. “To generate that type of connection that asks them to spend even more of their time, they’re humans too.”
Weitz said he hopes the Butler community will gradually become more aware of the team. The greater the awareness, the more likely people will attend games.
“It’s a really fun group of girls, and a really charismatic group of girls,” Weitz said. “I think it definitely could be done.”
The team’s next home contest is this Saturday versus DePaul. Tip-off is at noon.