Attendance for men’s basketball games is more than quadruple what women’s basketball games are.
Men’s basketball for the 2022-2023 season has brought in over 18,000 people while women’s basketball for the same season has brought in just over 4,000 people.
The disparity between attendance is apparent when comparing the highest-attended game for women’s basketball to the lowest-attended game for men’s basketball. The women’s highest-attended home game totaled 850 people while the men’s lowest-attended home game totaled 1,143 people.
The women’s basketball team is on a 13-game winning streak leading the conference with a (20-7) overall record and (15-2) in Big West matchups. The win streak dates back to Jan. 12 and is the longest streak since the 1986-87 season. Students at Long Beach State however have not shown out to support the team’s success.
“I don’t think a lot of people know or are paying attention,” said redshirt senior guard Ma’Qhi Berry. “We need to figure out a way to get them to pay attention.”
The responsibility for the turnout has fallen onto the players, they are the ones that promote the games to their friends, families and the community.
“A few weeks ago we went to a school and told them to come to our game. And we actually ended up getting a lot of kids to come just based on just us telling them to come,” said Berry. “It’s just us telling our friends or our classmates to come to our game.”
The promotions are not the same in comparison to men’s basketball and are less frequent. There are not as many emails being sent out about the team’s major wins and accomplishments.
“The energy is not as high at women’s games compared to men’s in terms of games [for audience members],” said Kendra Burke, captain of the Long Beach State Spirit Team. “The women’s games don’t have an MC that the men’s games do and the women’s games don’t have the Sandpit.”
Men’s basketball games are often filled with many different activities for students to experience along with fun themes and giveaways. These marketing tactics are often not used during women’s games.
The low attendance of women’s basketball has been so normalized that the players do not get their hopes up anymore for a major turn-up. The only times they know that the stadium will be filled more than usual is when the school runs promotions such as kid’s night.
“If it’s a normal night or even a special cause, we know that besides a kid’s night that there are not going to be many people there,” said Berry. “We pretty much know what we are going to be expecting as far as the crowd.”
A large majority of students have been to many men’s basketball or men’s volleyball games in the pyramid, but fail to attend the women’s basketball games.
When talking to her classmates, Berry finds it “disappointing” that her peers have never been to a women’s basketball game. She feels that she and her teammates need to work harder to make students want to show up and support the team.
Berry and Burke are both optimistic about the future attendance of women’s basketball, but acknowledge that things need to progress in marketing and in students’ attitudes toward the sport.
“I do think eventually things are going to change,” said Berry. “We just have to figure out a way to make that change.”