We start with the idea of enabling – which, by all intents and purposes is being done at the University of Washington.
The school is enabling some members of its fan base to look like embarrassments by opening “The Zone” during halftime.
For those unfamiliar, “The Zone” is really a fantastic spot, right next to Husky Stadium, where fans can tailgate before games, providing activities and (most importantly to some) alcoholic beverages for purchase. Yes – alcohol that is not available in most areas of the rest of the stadium.
The problem is – “The Zone” is also open at halftime.
And because of that – scenes like this take place, a picture taken with more than NINE minutes left in the first half in last night’s game against Oregon: Patrons, it seem, that care more about socializing – and most likely purchasing booze – than watching the game itself and cheering on their team.
What it’s become is a terrible look for those fans – and in turn, the university as a whole. And it can be remedied by simply closing “The Zone” during halftime – an uncomplicated solution, made complicated by the revenue brought in during that time, and the money that outside businesses are likely spending to be there in the first place.
We reached out to the school to clarify revenue details, and its stance toward opening “The Zone” at halftime, and we’re still awaiting their response.
But to me – the school is just as culpable as the fans, for keeping “The Zone” open at halftime for what seems like monetary reasons – and in turn, enabling the fans to have a reason to get out of their seats early, and get back to their seats well into the third quarter.
If revenue is that important to the school, then there’s always the option of opening the entire stadium up to the sale of beer.
In fact, according to one USA Today article, beer sales brought in half a million dollars per year at West Virginia, where there were actually fewer incidents of rowdy fan behavior related to binge-drinking outside the stadium.
Listen, Husky Stadium has always been known for its noise and its intimidation factor. And you’d think the school would want to give its team the biggest advantage to win by keeping people in their seats. Right now, they’re sacrificing a portion of that – and it looks like money is the biggest factor.
Stop giving fans a reason to leave. Close “The Zone” at halftime. And stop enabling embarrassing moments like this.