The Maint Point: Athletics needs more marketing, promotion to gain student support
Student involvement in athletic events is not growing fast enough, and the athletics department needs to explore new and creative ways to help that initiative.
Texas State’s athletics program is gaining support, not only with record donations to the Bobcat Club, but with rising ticket sales across the board. However, one issue still facing the athletics department is getting students more involved in the growing process.
In a University Star interview with associate athletic director
Athletics has tried giveaways and raffles, which are great additions, but the next step needs to be taken. Partnerships with small businesses and companies around San Marcos would be a great start and a creative way to get the community involved.
The San Antonio Spurs routinely partner with Valero during the playoffs. When the Spurs win a playoff game, Valero corner stores in San Antonio give away free coffee. At Texas Lutheran University, for every touchdown scored, 5 percent is taken off the price of items at the campus bookstore. On a national scale, a Baltimore store promised free furniture for customers during the weekend of Ravens games if the team returned a kickoff for a touchdown, which happened at the Super Bowl. Texas State should strive to implement similar models for promotional partnerships within the community.
There are many opportunities for these types of promotions that will not only get students coming to athletic games, but will also help San Marcos’ economy and local businesses at the same time. Viable promotions include half-price appetizers after football victories at Root Cellar Cafe, two scoops for the price of one at Rhea’s Ice Cream and discounts on pizza at Valentino’s. If Texas State scores twice as many points as its opponent, students and residents with the “best smiles” on the game screen could get coupons to Grins, or other such promotions.
With the goal of ensuring that the deals do not break the bank, only people with a Texas State ticket voucher should be eligible for the rewards. Vouchers could be printed off in the thousands at a minimal cost to the athletics department so that those who do not actually attend the events will not be able to participate. The overall goal would be to increase game attendance. So, those who do not take part should not be able to reap the same rewards as avid athletic event supporters.
Texas State partnered with Nelligan Sports Marketing Oct. 2 who, according to the Texas State press release, “provides sales and marketing expertise for sports properties worldwide.” Bringing in the group is a step in the right direction from a marketing standpoint as a whole. However, its primary motivation in improving Bobcat sports is increasing athletic exposure and profits, which students are not likely to contribute to since they get into games for free. The group can be beneficial for the university’s athletic department in marketing terms, but athletics officials can do more to support an increase in game attendance.
If athletics is “willing to try anything,” an attempt should be made on a variety of promotional ideas to better interlink the university and the community as whole.