Johnson City Press Sunday, April 20, 2014
Opinion

Faculty fans

December 9th, 2013 9:15 am by DAVID CHAMPOUILLON

Faculty fans

A different fan’s point of view: I am a realist. The glass is neither half full nor half empty.
There are significant problems with Freedom Hall as a venue for East Tennessee State University basketball. Some have been addressed and some haven’t. One of the most important parts of any fan’s experience will always be his or her seat. The present configuration at Freedom Hall does not address this for many fans — particularly the faculty.
At the Mini-Dome, the faculty is privileged to sit courtside. Not so at Freedom Hall. We now sit halfway up in seats that are narrower, smaller and provide less leg room. It feels like flying coach after the seats have been made even smaller and less comfortable while watching the “beautiful people” continue to get the first-class seat with concierge service.
A significant portion of fans sitting behind the benches in the Dome are also up high now. Yes, the sightlines are better, but so, too, is the view out of the plane in coach while the seat is rather restrictive. Many of us chose to sit in the faculty bleachers as we do not have to trek up the stairs, have better views and substantially more legroom. This has been removed and even ignored. One only has to look at the attendance at a recent game, not the announced attendance, but actual attendance.
Once again many stayed home to watch University of Tennessee football on television — a losing, non-bowl-bound team. Keep the games at Freedom Hall with the seat problems and I will be asking for a refund and will not renew my seats — as many already do every year.
Having to sit in handicapped seating behind the baskets in order to be able to walk after the game doesn’t cut it. ETSU can’t afford to lose 15 percent of the fan base.
DAVID CHAMPOUILLON
Johnson City

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