In today’s day and age, nothing is free. When someone comes across something free, he or she must take advantage of it.
One place that continues to give away free things despite the harsh economic times is the Bren Events Center. Free shirts. Free Chipotle. Free In-n-Out. Free foam fingers. Free Gina’s Pizza. UC Irvine’s sports marketing department gives all these things away in order to boost attendance at homes games.
Despite the fact that these things are given away on a regular basis, a lot of students fail to show up. Even though every home game is free, students still don’t care to come. When any UCI team makes it into postseason contention, athletics tries to get students into the games for free by purchasing a selected number of tickets. And still, many students do not take advantage of this opportunity.
The UCI student body is notorious for complaining that there is nothing to do in Irvine. Yet many students stay home and do nothing, despite the fact that almost every weekend features some form of sports or another: basketball, volleyball, soccer, water polo or baseball games. It is understandable for those who cannot make it out to the Bren Events Center, Anteater Stadium and Cicerone Field because of work and school related matters.
Times are rough, the economy is in shambles and public education continues to take hit after hit. If Governor Jerry Brown’s $500 million budget cuts do not put things into context, then what will?
It is surprising that despite so many tuition hikes, fee increases and budget cuts that the marketing team is still able to give away so many things. Sooner or later the budget cuts will affect everyone and every department at UCI. The budget cuts are too steep to be avoided by anyone. This includes athletics.
Do not be surprised if the free giveaways that marketing puts on home game after home game begin to dwindle down or even disappear. Although things like the Chipotle burritos are sponsored giveaways, other events like the Rally Alley and free food from UCI Dining are more in danger. Then students will have no incentive to go to home games.
I am not saying it is going to happen in the near future, but it is not impossible. What if the budget cuts affect UCI’s athletics department in such a way that UCI must cut the basketball, volleyball, water polo, soccer and even baseball programs. Then what? Students would not only complain that UCI lacks a football team but also complain that the school lacks any of the aforementioned teams. However, unlike football, students would not have the right to complain about the removal of basketball, baseball or volleyball teams because when students had the opportunity to show their support, they failed to do so.
One way athletics could alleviate the effects of the budget cuts is by shifting giveaways from students to the Irvine community. One thing is for certain, students will fail to show up to home games despite all the free things that are offered. Offer free shirts, free lanyards and free In-n-Out to all those who do not receive free tickets. After all, those who make up the Irvine community are the ones that are willingly paying for their tickets. More people from the Irvine community attending games means more tickets being sold. More tickets being sold means more profit. And with more people attending games it means that using the Bren is actually worth it.
As the saying goes: you do not know what you have until you lose it. Do not wait until it is too late. Take advantage of the free things athletics offers. Take advantage of every free home game that is available. We need to take advantage of the things we have, because one day we could all wake and have no athletic programs (knock on wood).
Just ask the athletes of swimming and diving, sailing and crew, and their devoted fans. Two years ago, they had their programs ripped away because of the economic crisis of 2009.
Antourage and ’Eater Nation, show your support and prove to administration and everyone that UCI’s athletic programs really do matter.