Contact CU Independent General Assignment Editor Andrew Haubner at email@example.com
Much has been written and discussed regarding the attendance struggles in the Coors Events Center during the University of Colorado men’s basketball season so far. Coming into Saturday night’s game against BYU, the highest attendance at “The Keg” was 7,783 for the home opener against the University of Portland. But things changed the night before finals began, and, for the first time this season, CU center Josh Scott felt the atmosphere of college basketball.
“It’s about time,” said Scott in the postgame press conference. “I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed especially when we got on a roll before CSU but it was really cool to see all those people show out especially during finals with the snow. We’re really appreciative.”
While there was a sizable contingent of BYU fans, normal fans and students brought the presence that made Coors one of the best places to play in the country in years past. Matt Klasco, the de facto Czar of the C-Unit, Colorado’s students section, was pleased with the turnout of students given that finals at the university begin early tomorrow morning.
“I think this turnout is a little more indicative of how this season is gonna go,” Klasco explained after the game. “I was so worried that kids weren’t gonna show up and that it was gonna be another week of dealing with twitter saying ‘where’s the C-Unit?’ So it’s great to see people out here and to feel the energy when people are just having a great time.”
During the Buffaloes’ many runs in the first half against the Cougars, the atmosphere in Coors was as electric as it has been all season. But bringing the attendance over 10,000 remains a tough prospect, especially with Christmas break coming in the next week. And with roughly 37 percent of CU students being out of state and most likely headed home, attendance might dip again before Pac-12 play begins in January. Colorado head coach Tad Boyle believes that keeping up attendance numbers is attainable but will only come if there is a concerted effort from the program as a whole to get people in the door.
“The energy in the building was good, but any time there is an empty seat in the Coors Events Center we’ve got room for improvement,” Boyle said. “Our organization, and I’m talking about marketing to students to coaches to players, you name it, we’ve got work to do when we don’t sell out a BYU team that has been to the NCAA tournament eight of the last nine years.”
Luckily for Boyle, Klasco and those select few writers with too much time on their hands, CU will spend the majority of break away from the hardwood of the Events Center, as they compete in Las Vegas for the Vegas Classic and then take a road trip to open Pac-12 play. The first two games of the Classic, against Nicholls and Hampton will be in Boulder, and will most likely be the two toughest games to draw at over break. After their road trips, CU will play their Pac-12 home opener on Jan. 8, only four days away from the start of the spring semester. If the Buffaloes continue to play the way they have in these past couple of weeks, Klasco is confident that the debate will be over for the year.
“Pac-12 play, this conversation won’t be remembered,” Klasco said. “We’ll be talking about wins and the most raucous home environment come conference play.”
If tonight is any indication, the fans’ early season malaise might be over and be paving the way for the Coors Events Center that is talked about across the Pac-12.