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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 1, 2006

Are fans fed up with UH football?

 •  The burning questions of 2006

By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer

UH football fans stayed away in large numbers this season, blaming the rising cost of tickets, heightened security rules, the loss of traditions, and pay-per-view television.

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Are fans fed up with UH football?

Heightened security rules, uniform changes, piped-in music, escalating ticket prices, pay-per-view and now a possible alcohol ban in the Aloha Stadium parking lot. What's next, a prohibition on fun?

What to do if you're a University of Hawai'i football fan?

Judging from the dwindling attendance, the answer might be: Not attend.

Last season, UH averaged 28,136 fans per home game, the smallest turnstile average in coach June Jones' seven-year tenure at the 50,000-seat Halawa facility. The 22,456 crowd against Utah State in November was the smallest gathering under Jones. Even a home game against perennial conference power Boise State drew only 25,000.

UH football is poised to be a hot issue in 2006, and seeing attendance fall again won't bode well for a program that is counted on to carry the multisport UH athletic department.

Some fans lamented the loss of traditions, notably the "Hawai'i Five-0" theme song, since Jones came aboard, and the introduction of pre-recorded music, the new Warrior name and silver helmets with white-and-silver uniforms.

Other loyal fans say it's not the team, but the ticket prices and the way the premium seating plan was implemented that drove them away.

In February, UH took back from fans 660 seats in the loge area and repackaged them for high-end seats at a premium price, an amount charged in addition to the face value of a ticket. Premium prices were as high as $15,000 in 2005 and could go as high as $20,000 by 2007.

Furthermore, pay-per-view telecasts now give UH fans an option of avoiding the stadium altogether and watching the game at home among friends.

Now there is a proposed alcohol ban, which could be the last straw for fans who say it would ruin the fun of tailgating.

With all these forces working against UH fans, 2006 will be a year that bears watching. Stay tuned.

Reach Brandon Masuoka at bmasuoka@honoluluadvertiser.com.