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Knighthawks Fans Bring Passion to Arena

Discussion in 'Rochester Knighthawks Forum' started by pwndabear, Oct 19, 2010.

  1. pwndabear

    pwndabear New Member

    Here's an article posted on knighthawks.net on 10/18/2010:


    (Rochester, October 18)… With the sell out at The Blue Cross Arena Saturday night by the RIT Tigers hockey team, many local sports fans learned something that was common knowledge to the fans of the Rochester Knighthawks.

    It was that the last time the building was completely sold out was for the March 27th National Lacrosse League game between the Knighthawks and the rival Buffalo Bandits. The K-Hawks game joined the ranks of the sold out NHL game between the Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils on Nov. 13, 2003, and the NCAA basketball game between Syracuse and St. Bonaventure on Dec. 3, 2003.

    “If you were anywhere near downtown Rochester that evening, you knew there was a Knighthawks game that night and our opponent was Buffalo. The Bandits Brigade brought a very healthy contingent to town and you could see them everywhere from the surrounding restaurants to the hotels downtown,” said Knighthawks Krew President Tim Knab. “There was a buzz even before the opening faceoff when the main atrium of the arena was packed shoulder to shoulder with fans trying to get into the hottest event in town that night. The Rochester Community War Memorial at The Blue Cross Arena almost seemed to have a pulse of its own that night as the rivalry between Rochester and Buffalo always seems to up the ante of excitement and commitment by both teams and their fans to prove they are the best in Western NY.

    “If any fan in the Barn Down by the River was experiencing the Rochester Knighthawks for the first time that night, they surely were at the front office the next day trying to buy season tickets to the hottest game on turf,” added Knab.

    That evening, Rochester fell to their archrivals, despite the efforts of Shawn Williams and Shawn Evans, who each knotted five points on the night. Williams tallied three goals and two assists, while Evans had five assists. The contest also featured Rochester goaltender Pat O’Toole becoming the NLL’s all-time leader in saves. The veteran broke the barrier by adding his 6,357th career-save in the first quarter of play.

    “The Knighthawks Krew and the rest of the Rochester faithful were voted the second most diehard fan base in all of lacrosse in a 2010 vote in Inside Lacrosse. This community, as a whole, is lacrosse from the grade school level up to college and obviously at the pro ranks proudly supporting the Knighthawks, former MLL team the Rattlers and the Can-Am League Greywolves. You regularly see lacrosse nets in backyards and kids carrying lacrosse sticks down every Main Street in the area. Tournaments and Pick Up leagues are prevalent around town year round,” said Knab. “Rochester has hosted some of the best names in lacrosse over the years. The Flower City’s lacrosse history dates back to the 1930s with teams such as the Iroquois and the Chiefs donning Rochester jerseys.”

    The Knighthawks will open the home portion of their schedule on Saturday, January 15th against the Toronto Rock at 7:35 p.m. at The Blue Cross Arena at the Rochester War Memorial. Fans can purchase tickets by calling the Amerks office at (585) 454-5335, stopping by The Blue Cross Arena Box Office, calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or online at Ticketmaster.com or knighthawks.net. Knab, who has been a season ticket holder since the team’s first season in 1995, has some advice for local sports fans.

    “Rochester is rich with pro sports teams from basketball to hockey to baseball, but none of these teams represent the best players in the World at their sport competing on a nightly basis like the Rochester Knighthawks,” said Knab. “We are blessed to be able to watch the absolute top players in their sport compete week in and week out with the Army of Purple and Teal rooting them on inside one of the best arenas to experience in the NLL. When the Barn is packed to the rafters there is no other atmosphere in the NLL that comes close to Rochester, Saturday Nights are Lacrosse Night in Rochester, NY!”
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2010
  2. 6nations

    6nations New Member

    Well then I guess it was no ones first time since attendance fell to all time lows
  3. pwndabear

    pwndabear New Member

    you know, this article sparks something in me that i've held for a while now but just haven't ever said anything about or acted upon it.

    In Rochester, it seems to me that our Knighthawks are like good acquaintances to the city; most denizens of our fine city know of the knighthawks and appreciate them being around if said denizen has nothing else to do on a saturday night, but for the most part, when I try to explain my undying, insane, and sometimes just plain wrong love for my only hometown professional sport, I get weird looks. I've gotten, "knighthawks who?" and, "well, I've been before but that was awhile ago, " or even the daunting, "who cares."

    With all of the speculation of a possible lost franchise on our hands here, I have gotten a little worried. It seems to me that with all of the people talking about a full move of the team to somewhere else, even if it is completely unfounded and indeed only speculation, there has to be some truth behind it, even if it only in the sense of a speculation.

    No, I personally do not believe that this is the last year of the KHawks. This could be my teal and purple blinders on or it could be my thinking with my head on straight. Regardless, if things do not change, this horrid speculation could turn into horrid reality.

    The Amerks are a Rochester tradition founded in 1956 playing farm for the NHL. The Redwings, first starting at the Broncos, started in 1899 and have played farm for the MLB. Both of these teams are also the longest running teams in each of their respective sports. Let's face it, neither of these teams are ever going to go anywhere unless Rochester is bombed off the face of this earth.

    In comparison, our KHawks, founded in 1995, are just fledglings. There are a handful of other minor league teams here in Rochester, some formed at around the same time as the Hawks and some much more recently, my point being that any one of these teams has the grounds for leavings as they do not have the history of the previously mentions two power-teams of Rochester. Things is, the KHawks are the only MAJOR league team here in Rochester; there should be a farm team for us...

    However, this is specifically about the KHawks with respects to not only keeping them here in Rochester but making sure they are sustained on the continuously growing crowds that every time we play, find their new favorite sport after watching such a fast, action-packed game.

    And for that, I have posed the question to myself numerous times: How do I personally go about doing that? To that, I have answered by scrounging for buyone-getone coupons to try to get as many people as I can to go to as many games as I can. I use my 2 extra tickets that come with my seasons on people that have never gone to a game before. I try and get my friends to buy season tickets to get our numbers up. I have purchased jerseys, horns, hats, facepaint, beads, noise-makers, etc as gifts for my friends to really get them into the spirit of this game. I get people to watch away games online or even come out to the bar to watch. I have found a passion for this game and have tried to share it with as many people as I am possibly able to.

    But as an individual, I don't believe it is enough. Even if every single one of us HawkHeads does all of the things mentioned that I do, to me it seems the most we will get is, "thanks for the tickets, I'll go next time if you have another free one," when in all reality, we shouldnt have to go to such extents to try and get people to go to the games. Yeah, it helps that we do and its something that I love to do; getting a group of friends together to go out for drinks and plates and then to the game is a past-time of mine, but there needs to be more..... involvement.

    I will probably get flamed by my own and praised by the enemy, but to get completely real, the Buffalo Bandits are doing something right. Whenever I am in Buffalo, I see bandits shirts all over the place, either being worn or in actual department stores at the Galleria (or wherever else you can buy sports apparel in buffalo). They sell out when they are doing great, they sell out when they are playing less than good, but more importantly, they sell out a venue meant for the NHL. What is it Buffalo is doing? Are they advertising more? Are they holding weekly conferences with free food and drink to try and entice their fanbase? I honestly thinks that it has to do with some form of deal with Satan himself, but thats probably just my own conclusion as I am a die-hard HawkHead. I honestly do not know the difference. Our die-hards are just as dead-hardy as their, if not moreso; extreme fans on both sides are crazyface idiots who facepaint and chant and wear silly hats and the whole shibang. WHAT IS DIFFERENT THERE? This question actually makes me despise the Bandits even more (again, thats just me. I really do respect them but it is out of pure hatred).

    There are some things that need to be changed around here, I believe, starting with the KnightHawks organization itself. First and foremost, there needs to be more advertising. I do not believe that having a once a week talk show on AM radio during the season only is enough and clearly advertising only in the BCA during events isn't doing it. Yea, I saw a commercial occasionally when I still had TimeWarner Cable but those were few and far between. There needs to be more of an external presence; there should be a billboard, or signs, or more radio spots, or our horrible newspaper needs to give an article of more than 100 characters to describe what happened in the game or what is happening in the off season. At player meet and greets, they need to be at a pertinent time like 10-midnight at a happening bar downtown instead of at 2pm on a Tuesday at TC Hooligans in Webster. There needs to be a BETTER ANNOUNCER. You sometimes need to SPEND money to make it and styres needs to figure that out and FAST. Hell, I know a TON of us would love to be paid to run around the arena handing stuff out or announcing, etc.

    There needs to be more fan interaction. There needs to be more give-aways, or special ticket deals, or food and drink deals at games. The organization needs to stop being greedy with the tshirts and jerseys and apparel only being sold at the team store and sell it out to places throughout Rochester so anyone can purchase it without having to go downtown. There needs to be more give aways of loud purple and teal items at gametime or at designated places throughout rochester. Surveys and questions, votes and "make our new chant" contests. More TICKET DEALS. Things of that nature that get people involved on a more daily basis

    Lastly, I think that there indeed needs to be more fan interaction BUT on more of a group/street team/fan level. Yes, we have the Krew. I am a member of the Krew, albiet not as active as I would wish. Thing is, I dont think that the Krew is as active with the actual team organization as it could be and I do not hold this over Knabber or the Krew or anyone in the krew. Instead, I want to say that the organization should take the tool of the Krew and use it to the best their ability to boost numbers and fanbase be it by paid means or by asking for volunteers. After all, people like to do things as a group. If you have one idiot in the stands (ie. me) screaming like a lunatic with his face painted and blowing on his horn when we score, most people treat me as such; an idiot. However, when I get my friends involved in my taunting and cheering and all of us blowing on our horns at the same time so it eclipses the score buzzer, i am looked at an an idiot in a group and suddenly, it becomes marginally ok. Now, what if that entire section was acting foolish and when we score, we dont even need a buzzer since those horns that I was talking about were given out at the beginning of every game to everyone who does not have one? What happens is the team makes money and grows and sells out it's arena and we all get to act like idiots. That's what were going for, right? If the whole of the diehards get together and organize, maybe pitch the idea to the khawks organization, who knows, maybe we'll get somewhere with this idea. Maybe during a game, we will have a box of horns (btw, Tim, you know exactly which horn I am talking about) to give away to the rowdiest fans or coupons to give out for a free drink and hotdog, or have a kids night where kids get in for $5. There are SO many things that we can pitch/do/act upon that will help this organization and team while satisfying our needs to act like the kids from Lord of the Flies...

    Lacrosse is one of the fastest growing professional sports. Though I dont think the Rochester KnightHawks are going anywhere anytime soon, something needs to be done in order ensure that...

    Btw, i wrote this on the fly so if my thoughts are jumbled, I apologize. At least I used p,roper' puncu-ation.! I'll be editing when i get home from work...
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2010
  4. BfloGeno

    BfloGeno Guest

    ^^ nice post above, well written and insightful.

    A guy I met at the bar after the Hawks/Bandits game last April made a great point about the lack of attendance/interest...

    Obviously most of you know what a strong youth sports market you have there in the Rochester area.

    He surmised that a lot of the adults and family's that would be die-hard Khawks fans just can't make it to all of the games because of the huge commitment they make to their kids sports (both financially and time wise).

    I think it's a major factor as well.
  5. pwndabear

    pwndabear New Member

    If that is indeed one of the things keeping people away on a saturday night, then the organization needs an approach to bring those people in. If monetarily these families with kids in sports are too far into their wallet, then there needs to be a special discount for student athletes of rochester and surrounding area highschools. Student ID's get a discount maybe or wear your school colors etc. If you think about it, what is worse: an empty arena but charging fullprice for tickets or a packed arena giving deals on entrance?

    I'm sure that an actual sporting event would not inhibit said families from going to the KHawks game as I doubt there are going to be many (if any) highschool games playing on a saturday night. But if there is, then that family is right in missing the Hawks play.

    But there you go, if there's an issue, there is a solution. It just seems to me that all of the issues that have arisen with our attendance, or lack thereof, and fandom have never been solved or even looked at at a basic level. Instead, the organization just sits back and waits for the fans to come to them when in all reality, more needs to be done.
  6. RockStar

    RockStar Well-Known Member

    Slippery slope.

    If cut rate tickets is the only way you can get folks in, you'll have a helluva time ever getting them to pay full price.

    Also, the market is what it is.

    In my recollection, the best they were able to do when there were truckloads of free tickets available was typically 80% capacity or less and occasionally nudging towards a sellout when Buffalo was in town.

    Half price team tickets ain't going to draw better than that!

    "Secrets" to getting a town excited about lacrosse:

    -Winning team,

    -Advertising in newspapers and radio

    -games on TV

    -Actively marketing season tickets to sports fans and athletes

    -actively marketing group sales to any group that will hear your pitch.

    Oh, and starting games on time and keeping frigging halftime to less than 18 minutes might help! Haven't been to Rochester in a few years, but that always used to drive me nuttier than the phantom assists creditted to Grant!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 19, 2010
  7. Hollywood42

    Hollywood42 Well-Known Member

    big ?
    how many hawks home games are on times warner

    because i know if the Wings had regular home games on Comcast Sportsnet
    my butt isnt driving 180 miles round trip to see a game
  8. 1sttimelongtime

    1sttimelongtime Active Member

    Have some of the players visit schools. Schedule schools to sing before the game and tykes at halftime. Kept us alive the past few years. The holy grail is getting mentioned in the sports news. I havn't met anyone from Roch. who has heard of the team. Damn shame since there isn't much competing for the sports dollars so far there.

    A winning team is not as easy to do but more effective once you get people in there.

    I did enjoy the native dance before the game, however I believe that most folks would find it too long. The idea is to get people pumped up not mellow before a game.
  9. pwndabear

    pwndabear New Member

    I Have to use the online thing which is horrible. I used to have TimeWarner but dropped them because they are ridiculously overpriced. Also, I have a personal vendetta against them and try to give them as little of my money as possible.

    The ticket deals, i agree, wont be the thing to pull most people in. Most people will come in due to atmosphere of the game, the fun of it, and because it is a Rochester tradition.

    But right now, they do things all wrong at the arena. The ring dance IS cool, and i don't mind the tradition of it; i see the significance and respect it, but in all honestly, when they have it go on for 10 minutes straight every game, it gets to be too much. There needs to be something more: audience involvement (say, a part where all the audience says something), more upbeat music, idk, something.

    They need to learn when to cut something off as well. Does anyone remember last year when they introduced R-Thunder and he ran around the arena like an moron for about 5 minutes? It was too much. People get bored easily and don't want to stare at a clown in an eagle suit (yes, btw, he is an eagle and not a hawk) for too long. If they had introduced him and went right to something else, it would have been fine, but they need to research into it more.

    They also need better voice talent. Currently, our announcer, Dave Shaw, does a decent job announcing, but when it comes to chants and crowd pumps, he just doesn't have it. Sometimes "Let's Go Hawks" comes out of him slower than a group of elderly mall-walkers and just as offbeat. On top of that, last year they tried these two interns or something that were godawful. They couldn't get the crowd pumped to save their lives let alone remember what they were supposed to say.

    If they make our KnightHawks games more succinct group efforts, I really think that alone could help turn things around.

    But that brings me to my original point up there. We can talk about it all we want but when it comes time to do something about it, what are we going to do? Are we going to continue our singular plans and try to bring in as many people on our own as we can and hope for the best? I know I am, but there needs to be a group that does the same thing.

    Tim, the Krew is your gig man. What say you call a Krew meeting and we discuss over some nectar of the gods (beer) what we can do or ideas we can pitch to the KnightHawks organization? I know I would be up for this BIGtime.... anyone else?
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2010
  10. KhawkProud

    KhawkProud Member

    Just about all of them on the local Time Warner Sports Channel.
  11. KhawkProud

    KhawkProud Member

    It's not just high school sports of which there a lot of Saturday night games. You also need to consider all the lacrosse leagues at TSE on Saturday nights, hockey at ESL, and various indoor soccer leagues. All cities I am sure have this problem however.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2010
  12. DKhawks

    DKhawks New Member

    Another factor in the poor attendance last year was (and I hate to say this but) the product was well beneath the standard they set in previous years. The play on the field stunk at times; hopefully (and probably) that will be fixed this year.

    And some of the "other entertainment" at games last year needs to be fixed too. I think they finally found the right mix and timing for the Native American ceremony, but those 2 "hosts" that talked to the crowd were utterly embarrassing. No offense to them personally, but I can't believe how cheesy their shtick was week after week. Their act is not even worthy of JV high school event. C'mon, at least try.
  13. BfloGeno

    BfloGeno Guest

    Great point.

    The Bandits have found a way to ingrain themselves into the culture of Buffalo and that is why they draw well.

    also, keep in mind the underlying reason that those of us from buffalo are even here talking about this is because we care about the future of your team, we don't want them to move.

    I personally hope the leadership of your team is reading this stuff and that it motivates you all to go out and do what you can to improve the situation.

    Most of you understand this, there's just a few of you who are so hypersensitive about the topic, that you fail to see it.
  14. pwndabear

    pwndabear New Member

    Thing is here, you're absolutely right. As i said before, if you walk around buffalo, you see 3 teams mainly. The Bills, Sabres, and Bandits. In Buffalo, the Bandits are on the same page as the NFL and NHL which really is fantastic. This is why HSBC Arena is packed full regardless of how the team is playing: a group awareness of the team and good advertising. If Rochester made it more of a ROCHESTER thing (ie. "engraining" as geno says), turn out would be better.

    This is true, some on here are pretty sensitive about this. Anyone looking to leave an inflamatory comment back to geno about this, forget it. Geno is adding pertinent info about how to keep our team alive and going strong. I know I would never want the Bandits to go anywhere either; it's a "love to hate" kind of deal :D.Keep this thread on track about what we can do to help our Hawks. No digressions or flaming plox.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2010
  15. RockStar

    RockStar Well-Known Member

    Not to nitpick, but fact is in tier-2 pro sports, nobody loves a loser.

    A healthy part of the reason that Buffalo is packed is that they have a lengthy playoff streak going.

    Before Kilgour took over the team, Bandits had missed the playoffs about 3 or 4 years in a row.

    Towards the end of that period, I was at more than one game where I don't even think there were 6,000 fans in the HSBC. 10,000 only happened if the Rock were in town and brought 2,000 of their closest friends.
  16. BfloGeno

    BfloGeno Guest

    That is history, and it represented a short period of time in the Bandits history.

    I promise you that IF the Bandits happen to go through a rough couple of seasons that attendance will not drop off dramatically.

    Reason? because so much of the crowd is tweens, teens and young adults who are there for the party as much as the game.

    it's the same reason the Bills are able to draw despite a ridiculously bad on the field product.

    It all goes back to the way the organization is run, in this day and age, it's not just about the game, but it's also about the "in arena experience" and the Bandits have that down to a science.
  17. Bandits37

    Bandits37 Member

    In a weird way i think it helps that the games AREN'T on tv here at all. They get advertised during every Sabres game but the only way to actually see them is to go down to the arena and buy a ticket. Could be something for the Hawks to consider
  18. chuckster

    chuckster Well-Known Member

    The Bandits did 2 fundamental things right -- they started winning and they marketed better. They went to the high schools, got them in the door and created a fun atmosphere for them. Plus, they added Mark Steenhuis who the high school kids seemed to relate to.

    They also kept ticket prices low and affordable......I used to sit 1st row in the ends for $10 a game on a season ticket. As the team got more popular, they didn't jack up the prices either which kept it affordable.
  19. k-hawksfan33

    k-hawksfan33 Well-Known Member

    I think the reason you guys do so well attendance wise is because your'e team is always exciting to watch. Both buffalo and Rochester struggled last year, however when I watched bandits games on the computer, they were still exciting to watch. even if they were getting crushed; big hits, fighting, and awesome goals. In ROC last year it didn't seem like we were trying half of the time. We didn't have a fight once last year and all we did was take outside shots as the clock expired. Not a very exciting product
  20. pwndabear

    pwndabear New Member

    i hate to admit it, but the buff announcer has it down pat as well.

    sooooo... does knabber come on these boards anymore?

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