Rainbows hotter at gate than on field
By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer
While the University of Hawai'i baseball team's record hovers around the .500 mark, it has been a booming success at the box office.
With a three-date (four-game) homestand remaining, the 23-22 Rainbows have already surpassed $300,000 in ticket revenue for the first time in at least eight seasons, according to UH figures.
The 'Bows, who are idle this week, complete their home season with a Western Athletic Conference series against first-place New Mexico State beginning May 13.
UH has already taken in $306,638 despite the cancellation of one game against then-ranked Oregon due to the tsunami warning and is averaging 1,998 per game through the turnstiles and 3,164 in tickets distributed per game.
"(Coach) Mike Trapasso has played a great non-conference schedule and I think you combine that with the fact that we lowered concession and ticket prices and people see it as a value proposition," said athletic director Jim Donovan. "The bottom line is it has been affordable and fun."
UH said it took in $294,963 in home ticket revenue and averaged 1,925 fans through the turnstiles in 2009.
"We had great fan support last year and it just carried over to this year," Trapasso said. "I thought we've had tremendous crowds, whether they were 4,000 or 1,400, they've been energized and very vocal and supportive. We've struggled our last couple of home series, yet they have still been there supporting us. I think they will be an important part of us getting over the hump against New Mexico State."
Meanwhile, men's volleyball took in $276,348 in ticket revenue this season, its highest figure in three years.
"(Coach) Charlie Wade and the team had a very good year and the crowds were getting bigger and bigger," Donovan said. "I call it his 'show-me' season and I think with the job they've done the number of fans will continue to grow next season."
Not since 2007, when it took in $308,217, have the Warriors had a higher ticket revenue.
UH drew 5,391, its largest crowd since 2006, for the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation playoff victory over Pepperdine. The revenue from that match did not count in UH's statement because proceeds went to the MPSF.