Location, location, location. It is a term heard most often when someone is trying to get the most out of their business, complex or any other structure. While less considered, location also plays a big part in the fan attendance of a sporting event, especially at Oswego State.
Only a few years ago, all of the Oswego State athletic event were held on the other side of campus in either Laker Hall, Romney Field House or outside, near the facilities. Once the Campus Center was completed in 2006, the Laker hockey teams were brought to the center of campus with the state-of-the-art ice arena built inside it.
Instead of having to make the roughly half-mile walk or car ride, students can make the reasonable trip from their dorms to the Campus Center and watch Oswego State’s most popular athletic program play. Each game attracts, on average, more that 2,500 people. “Whiteout Weekend” consistently sells out, with the line to get in to the SUNY Plattsburgh game stretching from the entrance of the arena to Poucher Hall.
But, out of all of Oswego State’s athletic programs, hockey is the only one that gets this kind of attendance. Some may argue that it is due to the performance of the teams, or the sport in general, but the location is part of the issue as well. It is common to hear students say, “I would attend that game, but I don’t want to walk over to Laker.” There are shuttles that can take students over there and plenty of parking for anyone that feels like driving. Even the walk over is not that bad for people that do not mind walking, but, for the events that take place when it gets colder, that small population dies off.
With the hockey rink in the Campus Center, those cold walks are tolerable and much more convenient for the students that live on campus. It also helps the media organizations to have the hockey rink in the same building to improve their coverage.
All athletic programs get their share of coverage at times, but by being on the other side of Route 104 they can be forgotten more easily. By bringing more sports to main campus, they will all benefit. It will bring more attention to each sport and in return hopefully bigger crowds.
The Oswego State men’s basketball team is probably the next largest team in popularity and, being located in Laker Hall, is able to attract a decent-sized crowd, but not nearly the size they are capable of attracting. Coming off a terrific season last year, the basketball team would be a great athletic program to experiment with bringing to main campus. During the men’s basketball exhibition game against Queens University on Nov. 2, about half of the stands were filled, but many left after the first half. Having the games located on main campus not only would retain the audience at Laker Hall, but significantly increase it.
The hockey rink is 200 foot by 85 foot, while the basketball court is 94 foot by 50 foot. If the rink can be altered for an Oswego State version of “The Hunger Games,” then there is no reason not to try out a basketball game in the rink as well.
Oswego State has shown it isn’t afraid to make renovations or build new buildings. With the renovation of Romney Field House, students could be interested to see the facility and check out more sporting events, but it probably would not hurt to look into bringing more athletic programs to main campus as they did with the hockey programs.
-Published in The Play Maker