There's been chatter of the Arizona baseball team moving some, if not all, of its games to Hi Corbett Field, the current semi-home to the Tucson Toros. After telling Pat Finley of the Arizona Daily Star that no agreement had been reached two weeks ago, Arizona AD Greg Byrne announced in his Wildcat Wednesday newsletter that the athletic department is indeed believing that such possibilities are "worth seriously considering."
In fact, Byrne said he's already been in discussion with former and current players, along with head coach Andy Lopez and his staff. From Byrne's weekly newsletter:
You often hear me talk about the importance of facilities and the impact they make on our program. As much as you want to believe that someone will want to attend our wonderful University because it’s the great place that we know it is, we also have to understand the importance the training and playing environments will have on decision-making during the recruiting process.
There's no easy answers to what the move would mean for attendance. Having the games on the university campus is one thing, but how important is it when the fanbase that attends isn't composed necessarily from students? According to the AD:
You then have to balance the training and playing environments with the need to have a good environment that will attract and retain fans and put the program in the best financial position possible.
Maybe it's the hopeful college student in me that's reading this the wrong way, but I do believe that the "best financial position possible" might have something to do with beer. Seriously.The university isn't setting booze on campus; it's not going to happen. But moving collegiate athletics out of the university's jurisdiction means that Hi Corbett's famous cheap boozing prices, ones that brought out pretty solid crowds to Toros games in the past, could do the same for NCAA baseball. Hell, I'm guessing that even though it's off campus a little bit, Hi Corbett has the potential to attract more Arizona students simply because of the ability to sell alcohol there.
And it makes sense for recruiting. Fill stands with fans there for the beer. Those beers turn into a little more passion for a fanbase that hovered around 1,000 attendees per home game, plus the Tucsonans and students that show up simply for an inexpensive night out to watch baseball. Then you get some rowdiness going on.
When recruits come in, they'll feel the difference. Sure, Byrne can't outright say it, but the ability to booze might indeed be a critical factor in gaining attendance outside of Frank Sancet Stadium. Tie in some marketing deals and the program is off to making even more money off food and beverage sales. Add that to the increased number of tickets sold, and you're in good shape.
Maybe I'm completely wrong about the process and the priorities of the importance of alcohol sales for college baseball, but the vote here is that a few beers can go a long way. Per Byrne's newsletter:
After spending a number of months evaluating the possibility we have not made any final decisions, however we still believe that baseball at Hi-Corbett is worth seriously considering.
So yeah, I'm not sure about the whole process of making this happen. I'm sure it's very complicated. There's probably a negative aspect to selling alcohol at a college baseball game, too (though I'm not of the perspective that could see any such thing). But the point is that Byrne is looking for ways to make more money, get more fans and build up a baseball program that receives half the crowd that its fellow softball team can pull.
At the very least, it's worth talking about.
DO YOU THINK THE BASEBALL TEAM SHOULD PLAY SOME OR ALL OF ITS GAMES AT HI CORBETT FIELD?
Editor's note: The story originally read that "After denying the discussions to Pat Finley of the Arizona Daily Star," regarding the Hi Corbett, the story was changed to read, "After telling Pat Finley of the Arizona Daily Star that no agreement had been reached two weeks ago."