Why doesn’t anyone care about UMaine football?

Saturday nights game was billed as the “biggest regular season game in the history of UMaine football.” It was the first time in the 127 years of the Black Bears that two nationally ranked, top 10 teams met in Orono. #7 Maine hosting #8 Towson. To me that is a must see matchup. Guess I was wrong. Not many people in the Pine Tree State gave a rats butt.

UMaine listed the attendance at 6256, which is a number faker than a $7 bill. Most athletic events count attendance as tickets distributed, not butts in seats. And there were not 6256 souls on board for that one last night.

Even if that figure is 100% correct, that still makes it the second smallest regular season turnout since UMaine played Stony Brook on a cold windy day in October of 2015.

“An embarrassing effort by the UMaine sports fan base. A disappointing turnout,” ripped long time Maine play by play guy Rich Kimball on the radio broadcast Saturday night.

Agreed.

Sure, the game didn’t go well. The Black Bears were humbled on their own field 45-23.
But the crowd didn’t know that going in and should have been in the stands supporting a program that went to the national semifinals last fall. By the way this is the 16th straight week UMaine has been ranked, the longest stretch for the program since 2003.

The Black Bears had won six games in a row at home, their longest streak since 2013.

But nobody cares. There should have been 8500 people there last night. Maybe more. I don’t get it.

Did people stay home to avoid a 58’ evening? There was some drizzle and that can mess up certain hairstyles for sure. But I hate to think that’s the case. Mainers endure 10 months of winter so we should not be so Charmin soft that a little mist keeps us home.

Maybe since the marketing effort put forth by UMaine athletics is so poor, it’s possible the average person didn’t know there was a home game, or was unaware of some of the facts I listed above.

“What in the world were sports fans doing tonight if they are not here for the biggest regular season game in program history?” blasted a clearly annoyed Rich Kimball on the radio broadcast.

I guess about anything else.

Personally I swear UMaine athletics still thinks they are living twenty years in the past when they were literally the only game in town. That’s obviously not the case as concert season just wrapped up on the Bangor Waterfront and comedy legends Steve Martin and Martin Short were at the packed Cross Center Saturday night.

Maine needs to compete with these entertainment options but doesn’t have the marketing budget to spend money during Patriots games on WABI TV 5 or other NFL or college games. They should advertise on 92.9FM the Ticket, the sports page of the Bangor Daily News or even in Maine’s only sports e mail blast, the Sports Chowdah. We all reach sports fans who just might spend a few bucks to come to a game.

UMaine is now 1-2. They don’t play at home again for a month. Perhaps absence will make the heart grow fonder and some fans will actually show up in Orono to support the Black Bears on October 12th. But I wouldn’t bet a $7 bill on it.

Jeff Solari

About Jeff Solari

Jeff Solari is the president and founder of the Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports e mail newsletter. Recently, the Mount Desert Island native was the co-host of "The Drive" on 92.9 FM in Bangor.