Sport seems to have forgotten who the most important people in the game are.
No it is not the multi-billionaire owners, the managers, the greedy agents or even the players themselves. It is infact the fans. without them there would be no clubs, no wages and no big money transfers or scandals. Yet increased wages and transfers for players has lead to a sharp increase in prices for fans and resulted many of them turning away from the clubs they run.
This is not just true of football. Rugby Union is also seeing a large decrease in attendances, with the Aviva Premiership attracting 12% less fans this season than it was by Christmas last year.
So if the clubs are going to price their fans out of their stadiums then where should they turn to find their weekly fix of passion and adrenaline?
Why not University sport? After all it works in America. The NCAA college level football league attracts average attendance’s of over 45,000 and brought in more than 37 million fans in 2008.
If we attracted even a hundredth of these numbers to a university game I can ensure that these players would not sell out for a higher pay cheque. They would simply enjoy the pleasure of finally getting to showcase their skills to a larger audience than the usual one passer by and his dog.
And why not attend. Some of these players have just as much talent as many high level players. And the passion and rivalries are just as intense – if you don’t believe it go down to watch your local varsity match -. Its also free, surely if it is the sport that you are really interested in then this has to be the best possible invitation to attend.
In fact many players from these games end up playing at the highest level anyway and you’d have to remortage your house just to watch them play.
So why is no one turning up?
I can’t understand how a sport mad student is more than happy to travel down to Bournemouth to watch Sheffield Wednesday but thinks the 10 minute trip to the university playing fields is too difficult.
Understandably there are clashes with seminars and lectures, and the sport is incredibly under advertised but if you can make the effort to turn up I can guarantee you that you will witness some thrilling sport. And the players will actually appreciate you turning up.
Colan Leung the sports Officer from Sheffield Hallam University believes the public and the students should get behind their local university.
“University has just as big rivalries and players as professional sport. At Hallam we have dozens of players who represent National sides playing week in week out in front of no one. The public are welcome to come down and get involved. we’d love their support.”