February 11, 2022 | SPORTS | By Michael Braithwaite | Photo by Anil Jergens
Anyone who attended a Colorado College hockey game on campus in the last month would have noticed that Ed Robson Arena was only filled to roughly half its capacity. If the same people went gone to a game before Winter Break, they would have noticed comparatively far more fans in attendance.
David Bailey, the assistant director of marketing for Colorado College athletics, shed some light on the recent low attendance numbers. Bailey illustrated that the reason for the decline hasn’t been the underwhelming play of the hockey team but rather CC’s new COVID-19 policies.
“We have had some struggles with the policies, and that includes food and beverage and the KN95 masks,” Bailey said. “I’ve gotten quite a big pushback [about the policies], especially from our community fans and season ticket holders.”
Ed Robson Arena follows the same COVID-19 policies as the rest of CC’s campus, including a KN95 mask mandate indoors. Moreover, fans are required to have either tested negative for COVID-19 less than 72 hours before the game or be fully vaccinated to enter the arena.
Until President L. Song Richardson announced that indoor dining would resume on Jan. 28, CC was not serving concessions during hockey games. This decision, according to Bailey, severely brought down the attendance numbers and deflated the atmosphere within the stadium.
Bailey said that as soon as the college reinstituted food and drink on a limited basis for the game on Jan. 29, CC sold almost all of its available game-day tickets. However, even with the hike in ticket sales since concessions were re-instituted, Ed Robson Arena remains at less than full capacity on game days due to the other COVID-19 restrictions in place.
While the COVID-19 policies certainly have a large impact on the number of fans that decide to attend CC hockey games, they have had little to no impact on how full the Mike Slade Student Section has been at the events.
When highlighting this discrepancy, Bailey discussed how CC students have to deal with the COVID-19 policies every day, and so those sorts of restrictions aren’t going to deter them from coming to games.
Students are going to be much more inclined to show up to games based on the play of the team: if the team is playing well, the student section will be at capacity. However, if the team isn’t playing well, the student section will be less occupied.
Many general fans, however, are going to show up to games no matter the quality of play that CC displays on the ice. Some residents of Colorado Springs have been following Tiger Hockey for decades, and, according to Bailey, many don’t care about how well the team is performing if they’re having a good time at the game.
Although some members of CC’s general fanbase have been less than accepting of the college’s new COVID-19 policies, Bailey says that they have generally received positive feedback about the new arena.
“People have been very excited about [Ed Robson Arena] and have had great experiences [at games],” Bailey said. “If it was a full building, it could be a really cool place.”