Last fall, for the first time in 30 years, the Bradley men’s basketball team played a game on campus. With a sold out arena, it was largest attended sporting event in the arena since its opening in 2010. With 1,500 tickets sold to students, only standing room tickets were left available.
The game was exciting, fast-paced and engaging for fans. With members of the band, cheerleading squad and the Red Sea leading cheers throughout the game, the arena was loud and full of energy.
These traits are ordinary for basketball games at other larger universities, but for Bradley, this was a unique experience.
But Bradley students now have a chance to experience that event again. On Monday, the men’s basketball team will play against the Texas-Pan American Broncos in hopes of a true home court advantage.
Student tickets for the game are $1 and each ticket holder receives a free t-shirt. A total of 1,500 tickets will be held for student pre-sale and in order to ensure that students interested in attending have the opportunity to buy tickets, this particular game was not included in the season ticket holder package.
Hosting men’s basketball games in downtown Peoria at the Civic Center’s Carver Arena has resulted in a disconnection between the students and the team. It seems that many current students are apathetic towards Bradley basketball and part of that could be attributed to the fact that the Braves don’t really play at “home.” While traveling to Carver Arena isn’t that difficult, many students find it inconvenient and often times never make it to the game.
Because Carver’s location off-campus is not ideal, hosting a men’s basketball game on campus could possibly be the first step to closing the gap between the students and team. Having a game on campus gives students the opportunity to get excited about Bradley basketball and may encourage higher attendance for the following season.
More student excitement and support for not just basketball, but Bradley athletics as a whole, is one way to build a greater sense of Bradley pride, something many feel is lacking on campus. Even though the athletic department is pursuing the search for a university mascot, it takes more than a campus icon to instill Bradley pride in students. Students need to go out and attend campus events and be the change they want to see. Get out and attend Monday’s game with pride – let’s cheer the Braves to a win.