By: John Bruyea
If you go to any athletics game you won’t see many people in the seats and, of those few students actually in the seats, most are friends of members of the team or just really passionate about the given sport.
What brings students to games? Maybe not the game itself but the social experiences and festivities that revolve around it.
The perception that Lancer games aren’t desirable to go to, I believe, germinates from the fact that when something is free, there is a question of value. If it’s free, is it worth anything? In my experience, people are more likely to value something if there is a cost.
What games are the most popular during the year? Homecoming weekend football and home openers. Both these types of events have substantial ‘buzz’ surrounding them, which gets the student population excited. But, once students arrive at these events, they are disappointed by the game’s atmosphere and realize that varsity games are not what they are cracked up to be.
Other colleges and universities have maybe found success giving away free tickets to students, but this strategy isn’t working for the Lancers, and something needs to change.
Sparse attendance negatively influences the way students feel and prevents the important formation of an exciting social atmosphere. It’s a vicious cycle.
There are substantial benefits that Lancers Athletics could realize if they even began to charge five or ten dollars for an event. Better yet, they can even charge directly to student cards for ease and efficiency. The revenue generated through ticket sales could be used towards enhancing the atmosphere at varsity games by, for example, funding more engaging and entertaining promos. Although students may be paying for their ticket, the better social setting and increased value of gameday experience through atmosphere/social setting and promos would outweigh the fee.
Students can bring their friends and use the event as an outing or something to do, rather than only going to watch the team. Then, their attendance will be less dependent on the team’s outcomes. And let’s face it this could be a good thing for some teams (you know who you are).
This initiative could even stimulate a better home court/field/ice advantage, which could result in better performance by our Lancer varsity teams.
I believe the charging of students can help change the culture surrounding Lancers Athletics and make it the place to be on game day.
Hey, if it doesn’t work what’s the worst that can happen? If my idea flops you can always go back to no admission charge.
Many will point out the fact that students love the word “free,” but do you know what students like better than free? A quality product and good experience. We’ll shell out for that.
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