The one fly in the ointment of Iowa's remarkable rise to #4 in the nation in men's basketball has been the sight of the southern end of Carver-Hawkeye Arena at home games. Even in the best games, patches of empty seats stare out at one of the most thrilling basketball teams to grace Iowa City in the past 30 years. Which raises the question: Just what would it take for Iowa to sell out its games?
To answer this question, our top men at BHGP Labs have crunched the numbers, examined every possible factor that could be motivating potential fans — team success, ticket price, weather, political upheaval, local drink specials/Thirsty Thursday celebrations, possible conflicts with Must See TV™ broadcast events — and produced a variety of detailed visual simulations.
SCENARIO #1: PRICE OF ADMISSION LOWERED TO $1
Apparently money is not the issue. Many empty seats remain.
SCENARIO #2: IOWA WINS AGAINST INDIANA TOMORROW
Attendance is decent, but in this scenario, there are still noticeable patches of empty seats, even close to the basket.
SCENARIO #3: IOWA ALSO BEATS MINNESOTA AND PENN STATE
A few more seats are filled in, but the stadium is far from full capacity.
SCENARIO #4: IOWA WINS ALL GAMES UNTIL SENIOR NIGHT AGAINST INDIANA
Again, incremental improvement, but the large empty patches in the rear remain.
SCENARIO #5: SPECIAL PROMOTION OFFERED WHEREBY FRAN MCCAFFERY WILL PERSONALLY DESTROY ANY CHAIR SET BEFORE HIM
Surprisingly meager response to this amazing offer.
SCENARIO #6: ATTENDANCE COUNTS AS EXTRA CREDIT IN THAT THEATER CLASS YOU SIGNED UP FOR BY MISTAKE
Even this would get many students out of going to see Equus, attendance still remains low.
SCENARIO #7: #1 IN THE NATION IOWA HOSTS GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS IN UNPRECEDENTED PRO-AM TO RAISE MONEY FOR SICK KIDS
A few more of the rear seats are filled in, but tickets are still available to see Peter Jok and Steph Curry's epic game of HORSE.
SCENARIO #8: THE MON-STARS COME BACK TO EARTH AND THE ONLY TEAM THAT CAN DEFEAT THEM IS THE 2015-16 IOWA HAWKEYES COACHED BY BILL MURRAY
It's starting to seem full, but if you really look, you can see plenty of empty seats, even though a loss means that Jarrod Uthoff has to go to Moron Mountain and serve as an attraction for the evil Mr. Swackhammer.
SCENARIO #9: TWO ADDITIONAL ICE CREAM STANDS ARE SET UP AND PRICE OF A CONE IS LOWERED BY 25 CENTS
SCENARIO #10: WADE LOOKINGBILL BOBBLEHEAD NIGHT
Our estimates indicate that this offer would induce such massive crowds that every cubic inch of air Carver-Hawkeye Arena would be filled with human bodies, all clawing for one of the 300 precious items of Lookingbilliana. The death totals would be staggering: we estimate that the bodies of almost five million "Wadeheads" would be pulled from the wreckage.* DO NOT, WE REPEAT, DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS SCENARIO IN REAL LIFE.
* This is going on the assumption that Carver-Hawkeye Arena is roughly an ellipse 400 ft. wide by 350 ft. long with a height of 150 foot, which gives a volume of 16,485,000 cubic feet. Subtract from that the area under the stands, which we can imagine as a triangular solid 100 feet high x 100 feet long and 1000 feet in circumference, and you get roughly 11,000,000 cubic feet. The human body has an average volume of 2.345 cubic feet according to Wolfram Alpha, and 11,000,000/2.345 = 4.7 million. Without more detailed schematics of CHA, we can't be more precise with our estimates.
The answer is clear: it is possible to motivate fans to fill up Carver-Hawkeye Arena, but winning basketball is only a part of the equation. The remainder of that equation is delicious soft-serve dairy products served with minimal waiting and at reasonable prices.