I agree with Lee Goldberg that UMaine should have an increased presence in the southern part of our state.
There are alumni there. Heck there are more people there overall. And much more sponsor money south of the capital.
But in a five year strategic plan for Black Bear athletics, we are a few years away from the Portland phase.
Step one is to reenergize the Black Bear faithful in the communities in the northern region of Maine.
Black Bear sports make less of a blip on the radar today compared to decades past. There are many reasons for this.
The Sox and Patriots are massively popular with the Celtics and Bruins also on the rise.
Big time college football and basketball are attracting more fans as well with games easily accessible on TV or online today.
Locally people now can choose to spend their entertainment money at Waterfront Concerts, The Cross Center, Hollywood Casino and more. These venues also dip into the sponsor revenue line at UMaine.
But if the last sports year for the Black Bears showed anything, it's that winning teams will bring the Go BLUE loyalists back in droves.
After playing to hundreds of empty seats in first semester, the men's hockey team put together a nice season and packed them in for some late season games as well as the playoff series with UNH.
Womens basketball played a couple of key home games late, including the America East Title game, both in front of more than 3000 people.
In spite of a four win campaign last year, Maine drew big for a couple of home football games, and should have a massive turnout for the opener against UNH Thursday.
As the teams win, and the game day experiences continue to improve, the fans and sponsors around here will follow on a more regular basis. That is the foundation to growth for the Black Bears.
Then Mr. Ralph and the team at Maine can do what has been talked about for 20 years or more: take their brushes and "paint the state blue."