This month, the University of Washington proposed re-starting their annual basketball game against the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The two teams have not played in recent years, since UW backed out of the home and home series ( no doubt due in large part to UW’s 1-8 record over GU in the previous 9 meetings). UW has apparently altered its position, however, as they have now proposed the two teams meet annually in Seattle’s Key Arena, with the ticket allocation to be 50/50 for each school.
Gonzaga’s response to UW: Go fuck yourself. We aren’t going to do anything we don’t want to.
As a UW alum and tyee member, my personal request at this point to UW athletic director Scott Woodward is to withdraw the proposal entirely and resume our status as “ducking” Gonzaga each year. It’s fine with me. I don’t see the need to play those guys. UW plays in the Pac-10. It plays 20+ games a year against opponents from BCS conferences. UW does not need this in state rivalry game to build a NCAA tournament resume.
Gonzaga plays in the West Coast Conference. They have 7 games scheduled against BCS conference teams this season, with the possibility of an 8th depending on who they play in the 3rd game of the Maui invitational. Of the 7 games that are currently scheduled against BCS teams, 3 are in Spokane and 1 is in Seattle. If Gonzaga is too good for another game in Seattle, with equal ticket allocation for its fanbase, then it’s fine with me. I guess their program is just that big. They are going to win the WCC every year anyways to get into the NCAA tournament, so maybe they don’t need another game for their resume.
However, playing this series in Key Arena would mean that every 2 years, over 34,000 people could attend the game. In the alternative, playing the game at UW one year and Gonzaga the next allows for approximately 16,000 people to attend. So obviously the money factor in this game is huge. It would more than double the gate revenue that the schools would share. Further, with an even split of the ticket allocation (including student sections) it could lead to one of the coolest atmosphere’s in any college basketball rivalry. I mean, if you’re interested in that kind of thing. ESPN might cover it or something. I dunno.
If only there were 2 schools who hated one another but played an annul rivalry game on a neutral site that could be used as an example of how awesome this game could be. If only. Oh well.
(in fairness to GU fans, I should explain that this sport pictured above is called “foot-ball.” Some Universities play this sport as a way to pass the time in between basketball seasons).
Bottom line: the annual neutral site game at Key Arena would make more money for each school and would set the rivalry apart from every other rivalry in college basketball. Yes- it is 4.5 hours away from Spokane’s campus and 4.5 miles away from UW, but is any GU fan going to argue that GU wouldn’t use every single one of the tickets that it is allocated? That they won’t be able to get 8,500 GU fans to Key Arena for this game? No chance.
Gonzaga’s response in shooting down UW’s proposal is about one thing and one thing only: ego. We’re badass Gonzaga. We mocked you when you cancelled our series originally, and now that you have proposed restarting it we aren’t going to do anything unless it’s on our terms.
That being the case – I say, game off. Enjoy your game against Davidson this year at the Key.