HONOLULU (KHON2) — The University of Hawaii (UH) men’s volleyball team is just two matches away from the school’s first team sport national title since 2002, which was eventually vacated by the NCAA.
It has been a strange year where fans have been separated from the team and that means both the athletic department and the university itself are missing out on some much-needed money.
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Ticket sales, concessions, parking and merchandise are among the missing items from UH’s bottom line. There is hope that the buzz around a national title run will create a spike in revenue.
The bookstore on the UH Manoa campus has been closed to the public during the pandemic, it is open only to students, staff and faculty.
“We are ultimately just like any other retail business suffering from the pandemic but I can say that from March to April sales went down over 60%,” said UH Bookstores assistant director Staci Yoshihara.
They are releasing two new shirt designs for the Rainbow Warriors tourney run, something they hope can help dig them out of the financial losses. The bookstore website is offering 20% off with the promo code “Warrior Ball” for one one item.
“Hawaii has a really strong fan base locally right, so even though they aren’t able to come to the bookstore to purchase it in person, our website sales have been blowing up,” Yoshihara added.
The fan base is so strong that local residents, even one that moved to Las Vegas years ago, are making the trip Columbus, Ohio to support the team.
“Obviously 175 Hawaii fans in Colombus isn’t going to equate out to 10,300 in the Stan Sheriff Center but we hope to make a little bit of noise and show the boys some love and be there. Any fans will be good this year so we’re very excited for that and we hope they feel our support,” UH supporter Fuchsia Yamashiro said.
UH does not yet have a special marketing campaign for the tourney, but fellow supporter Kealii Torco thinks that will take care of itself.
“Once the week starts I think people will be glued to their televisions and stuff to support and everything. My flags are out already outside on our house too. The neighborhood knows something must be going on with UH,”
The top-seeded ‘Bows begin their NCAA tournament against the winner of UC Santa Barbara and Pepperdine on Thursday, May 6.