The midweek game in the annual Carolina Challenge Cup is traditionally the least-attended. But throw in a rainy day and actual attendance can really plummet.
So if you’re on the fence about attending tonight, consider this. The hourly forecast calls for rain this afternoon, but predicts precipitation will begin lifting around the time the early match between Seattle and Houston kicks off (5 p.m.).
There’s only a 20 percent chance of rain by the time the Battery kick off against D.C. United at 7:15.
Yeah, it’s going to be humid. And that humidity will make temps in the mid-40s feel chillier. But let’s not be babies. Bring a towel to wipe off your seat before you sit down, put on a sweater under your raincoat, wear a warm cap, and carry a travel umbrella.
Besides, do you really want to miss the next installment in the saga of the Coffee Pot Cup — that great (and weird) tradition between Charleston and D.C. United? I think not.
GAME DAY OPS UPDATE
Here’s a thought that didn’t occur to me before Battery President Andrew Bell mentioned it. When you sell out well in advance of kickoff, you don’t have to open your box office. Which means you can focus on other things to improve the fan experience.
“Despite that, there were so many people coming into the stadium that there were some lines at the ticket scanners,” Bell said. “But I think overall, logistically, that side of it worked quite well.”
Parking? Bell called Saturday night’s performance “decent,” and said the club was talking with the parking crew about ways to get fans into the lot quicker.
Game day programs were hard to come by Saturday, and there were none being offered when I entered the stadium around 4:45. Rather than being a glitch with the new people working the gates, Bell said the answer was much more simple. They just flat ran out of programs.
Early reviews on moving the Supporters Section from the far end to the near end of the East Stands were good. “I think a lot of people chose to stand, where the new beer garden is. So we’re excited about that move.”
Other changes on the way? “We’ve stolen an idea from the concert (Southern Ground Music Festival), where the promoter brought in these chest-level beer tables, and we’re having some built. We’re also in the process of getting some corn hole games. You can do it right there, and it will be fun before the game.”
Oh, and expect improvements to the new YouTube webcast. Like, immediately. The teams first attempt on the new platform fell apart during the second half of the second match.
“We made a conscientious effort to upgrade our webcast, and we were to unable to execute to the way we anticipated, I guess because it was the first time we’d done it, and a couple of the settings were incorrect. We’ve been working on it this week, and I think Wednesday night we’ll see a big difference. So we’re excited about being able to stream at a better quality. ”
Employees from Battery jersey sponsors SPARC — a software company based in Cainhoy — have been working with team staff to get the kinks worked out.
“The beauty of YouTube is that they’re obviously a massive I.T. company,” Bell said. “They can handle a lot more business. And we can basically do an unlimited number of views, whereas on the UNation (webcast from 2013), the more people who watched it, the worse the quality. And I know that the quality on Saturday was poor, but we think we’ll have it fixed for Wednesday and going forward.”
Here’s the link to tonight’s webcast. I’m going to experiment with streaming the match live on my phone during the game, in the stadium, as a way to get a second look at big plays. That’s probably a budget-busting data charge for most phone plans, but if the stream performs well, the Battery might just boost stadium wifi coverage as a way to enhance the fan experience. If nothing else, the link should allow everyone to come home and scrub through a replay of the match on their televisions to see what, if anything, they missed in person. But will those archived copies stay on YouTube indefinitely?
“That’s a good question,” Bell said. “I would hope that there are there forever, or at least for the whole season.”
TOP IMAGE: No, we don’t expect blue skies like this shot from Saturday, but the forecast calls for the rain to lift before or during the 5 p.m. match between Houston and Seattle. Charleston plays D.C. United in the renewal of the Coffee Pot Cup at 7:15 p.m. Dan Conover photo.