Baylor athletics is in the midst of the best multi-year stretch in program history. Not only has football won two Big 12 Championships, but men’s basketball has reached multiple Sweet 16s, women’s basketball won a national championship, softball made the Women’s College World Series, both tennis teams have won multiple Big 12 titles and even equestrian sits at No. 1 in the nation.
There are few better ways to market an institution than through athletics. From a public relations perspective, sports bring a level of intrinsic positivity unmatched by virtually any other field. When Baylor men’s basketball beat Creighton, or when the women went 40-0 to win a national championship, the nation took notice. The success has also brought in excess funding for the athletic department and university as a whole through both merchandising and donors.
However, support from Baylor Nation has not followed. While the football team has posted record attendance numbers over the past two seasons, other sports posted underwhelming attendance numbers. It’s time for Baylor fans to step up attendance at Baylor athletic events across the board.
Over the past two seasons, Baylor football’s attendance has gone through a renaissance. The Bears sold out the first year’s worth of games at McLane Stadium, averaging more than 46,000 fans per game. Students waited with baited breath to see whether they would receive a ticket each Sunday before the games.
But when it comes to equally, if not more successful programs, the results are not there. Men’s basketball is averaging only 80 percent capacity during conference season, and just 60 percent on the year. Women’s basketball sits under 70 percent during Big 12 play.
Some think that football is the only sport that brings attention, which is not true. Track star Trayvon Bromell was on the front page of every professional sports site in May 2014 after breaking the junior world record in the 100-meter-dash en route to winning the NCAA National Championship. Brittney Griner is a household name among sports fans. Isaiah Austin grabbed headlines on the news page after losing his career to Marfan’s Syndrome in June 2014. Winning a Heisman Trophy is not the only way to bring attention to an elite athletic department.
Football games happened once a week, which can’t necessarily be said of other sporting events. However, attendance isn’t necessarily required for every game. For football games, the athletic department hoped to get in the neighborhood of 10,000 students in the stadium. Based on historic attendance trends, basketball needs only in the neighborhood of 2,000 a night; softball or baseball would be thrilled with 1,000. Every student in attendance counts. Being a student at Baylor is the perfect opportunity to explore different sports, as tickets are included in tuition.
Don’t be put off by the idea that you traditionally don’t like sports; there are many options. If you like horses, see if you care to watch our No. 1 equestrian team. If your passion is dance or gymnastics, check out the acrobatics and tumbling team. If you played tennis in high school, you may enjoy watching either one of Baylor’s top-10 and Big 12 champion tennis teams.
When students give support to the athletics teams, it increases school spirit across the board, and rewards athletes for representing
A full athletics schedule can be found at baylorbears.com/scoreboard.