Students needed to revitalize N-Zone


NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, NY – The stands are packed, fans are screaming, and the thunderous sound of stomping feet fills the Gallagher Center and Dwyer Arena as Niagara University students cheer on their sports teams.

This is the potential that the N-Zone has to offer, but for many years that kind of atmosphere has only been created at one or two sporting events a year. In a joint effort between Dr. Patrick Tutka of the College of Hospitality and Tourism and members of Niagara University’s Sports Management Association (SMA), this is something that they hope can be changed.

“We’ve seen pictures of what the N-Zone used to be, and we just want to bring that excitement back to Niagara University sports,” said SMA Vice President Daren Dunnewold.

“Every year the basketball game at home versus Canisius draws a huge crowd and has a ton of energy, but we want that feeling at every home game.”

Every year there is a small fee to join the N-Zone, and that usually will get students who sign up a free t-shirt to wear to the games. This year, however, there are several more incentives being offered to the students who pay the ten-dollar fee.

 Plans are still tentative, but incentives may include (via myNU):

  • Exclusive winter hat
  • First rights to student tickets for every home basketball and hockey game
  • An incentive program in which the more games you attend the greater your chances are at prizes
  • Free giveaways including trips and NU gear

One thought on “Students needed to revitalize N-Zone

  1. Revitalizing the N-Zone is a promising idea. However, it will never reach full potential until NU Athletics take the requisite steps to offer winning teams against quality opponents, something we have not done in a long, long time. We need coaches who engages with the fans, students, media and alums on a regular basis, are actively involved with the media in promoting NU athletics….and wins against quality teams. When I was at NU to gain admission to an 8 o’clock game you had to be in Gallagher by 5:30 or you weren’t getting in. The games were packed, we played often in the Buffalo Aud (15K and sold out regularly). Our coaches and the team’s performance did the talking, and NU was always on TV and led TV sportscasts and headlined newspapers. Gone forever? Hardly, we simply need a new and winning attitude for both basketball and hockey.
    What happened? Basketball/hockey and the need to connect with fans hasn’t changed, it’s the attitude than has changed, evaporated, while the need for a “can do” mentality and the sense of an invigorated mission remain constant. The Key Bank Center in Buffalo is the exact same distance from NU as the Aud and if NU could fill the Aud the same is true for KBC, we simply have to offer a sports entertainment package that the sophisticated fans in Buffalo and western NY will buy and invest in. Buffalo fans will not buy into mediocrity, no one will, anywhere, and Niagara, of all schools in the US, is best positioned to grow exponentially from a geographic perspective. Consider:
    • The Buffalo-Niagara Falls Metropolitan Statistical Area, encompassing two counties, Erie and Niagara, has a population (2010 census) of 1,135,509 and to the east is Rochester (Monroe County) with a MSA population of 1,054,323, for a combined western NYS demographic of 2.2 million people.
    • A stone’s throw away from the Falls (NY) is Ontario, Canada with a population of 13,000,000 and Toronto, a city of nearly 6,000,000, is within 1.5 hours drive from Niagara Falls, NY. As important, the Ontario Ministry of Finance projects the Ontario Golden Horseshoe to grow over the next 23 years, rising 34.4 per cent, to 17.7 million by 2036.
    • Niagara Falls, NY has 8.4 million visitors a year and only about 2 miles from NU. This year NU is open
    I wish new hockey coach Lammers much success and anxiously await a new winning attitude to develop that will permeate the University. Only a short time ago NU was a top-ten hockey school with a National Championship within reach…still is, just gotta get back to the illusive “winning attitude”.
    I am concerned about basketball. Coach Casey and his 32-96 record (.250 over four seasons) without one upset win and against weak opponents. Fact is, Niagara has not had an upset in basketball in decades, many decades, and that is a major reason why the Niagara athletic brand and reputation has suffered. We need a big season; if not, we need big changes.
    Niagara University is great university with more potential than any other US school. Marshal our resources, develop an aggressive marketing/promotional plan and improve communications, and the sky will be the limit, and recruiting for the N-Zone will no longer be necessary. Three steps are necessary:
    1) return to winning ways in both basketball and hockey,
    2) play better teams that fans will come out to see and win thus creating a “stir” with new conference opportunities,
    3) play 4-6 basketball games in Buffalo a the KBC under a DH format to reinvigorate the college game in both hockey and b-ball against quality teams. Do the above and both basketball and hockey will become sought after tenants for a new arena which will be built in Niagara Falls within the next six years, thus solving NU’s facility challenges for 0-cost.

    Liked by 1 person

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