Small crowds greet Goiko’s final appearance
The world’s greatest jai-alai player made a farewell USA appearance this past weekend in Dania and the fronton resembled more like Marlins Park or Tropicana Field than a packed cheering house that many had expected. Even Tiger’s chaukies were asked to come out in force but It more resembled a Chris Christie prep rally than a jai-alai tournament. A lack of notice time, lousy weather, and a total lack of marketing on Dania Casino’s end were the main reasons for such a terrible turnouts this past weekend to say goodbye to the Great Inaki Osa Goikoetxea. The lack of notice – just 7 days before it was announced that he was coming had to be a major reason. Let’s not forget to mention it’s a week before Christmas, too. People already have events planned this time of year. Christmas parties, family, shopping, and all. Plus, for people coming from out of town, airfares are outrageous, hotels marked up big time – all in an area around one of the world’s largest cruise line districts on top of it where most people arrive a night early before their departure. Try booking a flight with a few days’ notice or booking a hotel room now down there. Like Dr. Zaius told Charlton Heston, “you’re not going to like what you see”.
Lack of timing on the event
Why was the event not announced weeks or months earlier to give people more notice? Check out my previous post of Goiko coming and you will see that IF a trip was planned, the dates would be flexible with little notice because of tournaments in the Basque/Spain/France region being held. The event was finalized just a couple days after Goiko knew he was free to come that weekend. The opening Friday night appearance was also competing against the final night of the current Magic City season, where a near packed house was in attendance. See the photo below in the story. That event was planned several months ago, if not a year ago. This apparently was the only time he could come, and I don’t see him coming back to finish his career in the USA when he’s done in February. By then, Dania will be rapping it up and holding its final partidos.
Power outages due to weather issues
Making matters even worse, the power went out in the fronton 5 freaking times Saturday afternoon, including two back-to-back (belly to belly) delays. Each delay caused a ten-minute delay, as it takes that long for the lights to “reboot” and come back on. The cancha literally resembled a total eclipse taking place.
By the time Dave Lamont signed off two minutes after the matinee ended, he announced they would be open in just 89 minutes for the next evening performance. Usually there is about a 3-hour break in between performances. All 5 delays came in the first hour and 15 minutes of the performance and it’s amazing it didn’t go off more times as the weather continued to be nasty out there. They must have fixed the problem or something. Dania’s parking lot was flooded in the heavy rain. One patron told me he left with the water well above his ankles. Even good old rubbers on the shoes would have been worthless!
The weather was only an issue on Saturday, but it was nasty. Ask anyone in the entire state of Florida. Sunday is Football Day, and with the states 3 NFL teams battling for a playoff spot for the first time in years, if not decades, and that had to hurt, too.
Lack of marketing
According to a lot of people I’ve talked to, the main culprit was the lack of marketing on Dania’s behalf. Outside of the announcement during a broadcast the previous Friday night or with their video on the YouTube channel, Dania did nothing to promote it. No emails, no social media posts by them. Not a word on the cookie cutter website of theirs. It’s free – for crying out load. Promote it!!! Jeez. Outside of that announcement made by Dania, only the true faithful jai-alai fans that read Tigers site, or mine or Say Hi Li would have had a clue he was coming. Heck, for the past two years, I’ve promoted my business and this website with a full-page ad in the program. I didn’t even get a call or email from the marketing department asking about renewing for this season.
No one showed up in Miami either
Some people are bringing up that Goiko played in the that last Miami season before the decoupling. And no one was there. No argument there. In fact, I recall going to opening day and only me, Jesus and Jedan were in the entire building for the first 3 games. Jedan even had a Goiko bobblehead that he sat atop a chair in front of him and was taking photos with Goiko playing behind it. Now cool is that? Jedan even has a Super Bowl ring to boot!
The conclusion here is the Goiko event could not have been planned at another time and no one is to blame for that. But being around Christmas time, with little notice and completing against Magic City’s championship night with big money on the line for some of the players, lousy weather on the big day -Saturday – for two of the performances made matters worse.
What about Goiko’s performance?
The lackluster performance on Friday night by Goiko may have deterred people from coming from around the area on Saturday. Goiko‘s performance on Friday was not good. Some called it a waste of their Friday night to watch it. Some said it was totally lackluster effort. He didn’t care. He was tired. Was he jet-lagged? Someone even mentioned he didn’t want to show up the other players. Ouch!
He did not appear “in the money” for the 4 games he played that night, nor the next 3 on the Saturday matinee, for that matter. But you could see he was warming up near the end of the matinee and was on a roll by Sunday.
One former player from Dania Jai-alai told me that Goiko had not played there in several years and was trying to get acclimated to the court. He said you could tell by his rebotes that he was struggling on balls coming off the back wall. Dania is much different than most other canchas because of the way the back wall slants slightly toward the court and is why they have more chic chacs and chulas there than most other frontons do. It is very difficult to judge without experience on the court.
I think that may summed it up well from the former Dania player. With plenty of sport stars, the same thing could be said, but canchas are different from one another and that doesn’t help. Ever see someone step on the Magic City court for the first time and see how they do?
The final stats
Goiko’s final line for the 4 performances ended up decent overall, especially an 0/7 start.
Games Win Place Show Win% ITM%
18 3 5 2 .167 .556
As far as the handle goes, it appears that it was up from previous weekends, but we don’t have the numbers offhand.
After the event Sunday, Goiko spent a lot of time signing autographs, taking pictures with those in attendance before leaving.
A special thanks to Goiko for coming to the USA and to Benny for putting it on. It’s too bad it didn’t go perfectly and not everyone was able to cash their $12 quiniela tickets on Friday night! Thats why it’s called gambling, I guess.
COMPARED TO THIS AT MAGIC CITY FRIDAY NIGHT:
“Magic City on Friday Night”