Leaving after halftime, a self-fulfilling prophecy

How fans leaving Blugold football games after half-time is hurting the team and their reputation

More stories from Parker Reed


Photo by Kelsey Smith

UW-Eau Claire students and fans often leave home football games after half-time.

Leaving after the Blugold Marching Band (BMB) plays during half-time at UW-Eau Claire football games at Carson Park has become the norm for students and casual fans alike.

For most individuals, it isn’t intended to be a slight toward the team, but rather a way to save an additional hour and a half of their Saturday. It may seem harmless on the surface, but it is detrimental to the program in many ways.

Decreasing morale

Blugold football players endure grinding weeks of preparation from the time summer starts to wind down all the way through mid-November. Lifting, running, watching film and preparing the game plan for their next matchup is a taxing process that requires physical and mental toughness.

After all of that work has been put in off the field, to see fans leave in droves before the game has ended (no matter the score), makes it hard for players to stay motivated and play hard when they don’t feel their fans will care either way.

To put it into perspective, if half of the audience walked out of your speech at the midway point, what would motivate you to carry on?

Showing a lack of support

A structure is only as strong as the support it has. The same is true for any program or organization.

To leave during half-time in a defeated manner, it creates a self-fulfilling prophecy and an expectation that the team has no chance of winning. This expectation spreads like a weed through all facets of the atmosphere of the game until it has been engrained in the fan’s and the player’s psyches.

In order for the football team to prosper, a platform of support needs to be shown from people outside of the program (especially at games).

Just think of the football program like a house of cards. Without a solid base, the entire thing is going to come crashing down.

Commanding no respect

In order to gain respect from other programs, a program has to be respected by its fan base first.

When people leave during half-time, visiting programs assume Eau Claire football fans can see the outcome of the game and don’t respect their own team. When other programs see Blugolds fans don’t have confidence in their own team, it is no wonder the other teams don’t respect Eau Claire.

When there is not a lot of respect for the program, it adds to the problem area of recruiting for the team.

During the offseason, when the coaching staff is trying to recruit new talent to join the roster, it is a hard sell to a talented player when Eau Claire’s reputation has become somewhat nonexistent; when these prospective players hear about the early exit from games, it is clear to see how it is hard for the team to grow.  

Decreasing revenue

What is the thing that keeps a program running? Cold hard cash.

A commonly overlooked aspect of fans leaving Carson Park early is that it gives the program less time to earn revenue. There isn’t as much time to sell merchandise, concessions or tickets; like most universities, football games are the most attended and profitable annual sport.

To provide the program with half the time to try and recoup enough money to keep the program afloat, and to expect that to work, is an unrealistic expectation.

All of these points add up to the fact that if fans want the football program to turn itself around in the coming years, it all starts with the fans. Leaving right after the marching band plays is a disservice to the football players and their coaching staff.

Yes, the BMB is very entertaining; yes, a football game can sometimes last for an extended period of time; and yes, the team is aware that you have other responsibilities besides attentively watching the football games every week. But, if you are going to go out of your way to attend a game, why exit early when it leaves a negative impression on the program?

If you are a fan of Eau Claire football and are wondering who is to blame for the team’s lack of success, I want you to do just one thing: Look in the mirror. Without fan support, the Blugold football program will not prosper any time soon.