Since I graduated, there has only been one year that I have not purchased season tickets and that was the year right after I graduated, when I could buy tickets off of friends still at school. Since then I have spent about $160 on season tickets each year. Usually, I drive to and from Chestnut Hill for football games, which costs about $100 round trip in gas. Add to this cost concessions at the game and maybe a trip to the bookstore or souvenir stand and you're looking at about $350 per weekend for me to see a football game. I know many people spend just as much, sometimes more, sometimes less, to see BC play football each weekend. We go because we are fans of the team and can't imagine spending a Saturday afternoon any other way, even when the team is on a 1-5 skid and the program's worst start since 1991. This is why I, and many other fans, were so incensed at Gene DeFilippo's tweet this weekend prior to kickoff of the Clemson game:
"Very impressive to see ALL Clemson fans in their seats 10 minutes before kickoff, in time for the National Anthem."
The comment was a thinly veiled, not-so-subtle dig at BC fans and our notorious problem of not being in the stands in time for kick off. Whether Gene is right or not, at a time when he is under such severe scrutiny for his mismanagement of the program and the abilities of his handpicked head coach who's seat gets hotter each day, this was neither the time nor place for a comment like this.
Let me state that I don't disagree with Gene that BC fans have a problem getting to the stands for kickoff. It is well known among BC fans that attendance is an issue at football games. It is often difficult to sell out Alumni Stadium unless the opponent is Notre Dame. Furthermore, most fans do not even show up until midway through the first quarter. The last game I was at, Duke, the student section was not even close to being filled by kickoff, much less by the end of the first quarter, but neither was the rest of the stadium. Part of this is due to the product on the field, there just isn't any buzz around the program right now. However even when Matt Ryan was on campus, BC still had similar attendance issues. But not all of this is the fault of the fans. For a long time, BC fans have made suggestions to make the gameday experience at BC more fun and welcoming. Much has been made about "Gestapo policing" by Boston Police and BCPD in tailgating areas prior to game time. Furthermore, tailgating is strictly regulated to just two hours before and two hours after a game. This severly limits time for people to enjoy socializing before kickoff. As many people said in response to Gene's tweet "BC fans would be in their seats by kickoff too if they had seven hours to tailgate."
From my experience, tailgating before the game is not necessarily spent drinking to extremes. Rather, it is spent having a drink at one tailgate with friends, before running to a different tailgate to see other friends. Many people I know have the same sort of schedule prior to kickoff at BC: running from tailgate to tailgate to meet up with old friends and classmates. Most games I've gone to since graduating, I am trying to make it to two, three, sometimes four tailgates. Some people just aren't ready to go into the game by the time kickoff rolls around.
For years now, Gene and the BC administration have ignored suggestions to improve the gameday experience for fans. Fans are there to watch the game, yes, that's what they bought tickets for and so should do their best to be in their seats by kickoff. But the game is part of the greater game day experience that includes tailgating, seeing friends and being back on campus again and, perhaps, just reliving a little bit of the glory days. Gene needs to realize this and slighting his fans, his customers, on Twitter is not the way to get people into their seats.