“Come Early, Be Loud, Stay Late.” Those words have been the motto of the Boise State University’s sports marketing department for the last few years. You may be wondering, why? The problem is not the paying fan, but rather the students.
Every full-fee paying student can reserve a single, free ticket to a Boise State athletic event. Boise State University switched the student-ticketing system online in 2010 after the debacle the previous year where students camped out overnight for tickets to the game versus the Oregon Ducks. The result? Students were turned away ticketless due to other students letting their friends cut in line. Boise State found an answer to that: the online ticketing system.
Students now have to be online at 7 a.m. Monday the week of a game. Tickets are on a first-come-first-serve basis and must be picked up by Wednesday of that week. So why, if tickets have become such a premium, are students still not showing up on game day?
Matt Beckman, Assistant Athletic Director–Marketing at Boise State University, says via Twitter, his department is working on more interaction with Bronco Nation at the games. When asked about what more Boise State can do to get students hyped, Beckman said, “We are looking to have a focus group [of students] to see what energizes them.”
Other ideas Beckman tossed around when speaking to concerned fans on Twitter are displaying the fight song lyrics at football and basketball games and establishing an introductory song for the football team as they enter the stadium. After a brief conversation, Beckman emphasizes the point that he wants more student participation.
Why is Boise State football having this problem in the first place? Could it be the lateness of games? How frigid the temperature is in November and December? The lackluster opponents the football team plays? Some say it is a combination of all. Whatever it may be, fans— primarily students—are not showing support to their beloved team.
Where it really hurts Bronco Nation is when the game is nationally televised; nothing looks worse on television than an empty stadium. It is an embarrassment to the fan base, but even more so the University.
Mark Coyle, Boise State University Athletic Director, has taken steps to ensure that Bronco Nation will not have this problem in the future. Coyle and company have scheduled home games verse Oklahoma State, Florida State, Cincinnati, Oregon State, BYU, Washington State, Virginia, Connecticut, Michigan State, and arguably Boise State’s most anticipated game in the history of the program, former coach Chris Petersen’s Washington Huskies. Each game should fill, if not sellout, Bronco Stadium. No one can say where each program will be in the future come game time, but the big names of the universities should surely put butts in the seats.
Kudos to Coyle and Beckman for being progressive with Bronco Nation. All we can do now is wait and see if fans start coming in droves. Hopefully the weakest link for Bronco Nation, the students, starts abiding by the marketing motto of the University.
Beckman is going to have a tough task this off-season to be successful for next football season: getting students to come early, be loud, and stay late.