In this past week’s #SCAchat, the evening’s discussion focused on the fan experience ranging from ticketing to student-athlete engagement, and more. As always, the chat was full with information new to me as a first-year graduate assistant as many of the participants are experience administrators from compliance, marketing, ticketing, and more.
This week, there were a couple approaches in ticketing that stuck in my mind.
The University of Central Missouri has long struggled with the ‘suitcase college’ identity in which a lot of students return home for the weekends as the majority are within a two hour drive. College football, however, helps ease the burden in the fall as the Mules’ home games averaged just over 9,000 people each game. The idea of a pricing structure for recent-graduates stood out to me for our campus given the proximity of our alumni and current attendance. Though the numbers are by no means ‘bad,’ there is always room for improvement and I think new alumni could be an excellent way to bolster the numbers.
UCM Athletics is already heavily involved with Campus Activities, the Office of the President, among other departments and groups on campus who have the ability to influence a game day. An extended effort with Alumni Relations could prove valuable to both sides as graduates are given incentive to return and maintain the relationship. As Central Missouri continues to develop, highlighted by The Crossing, an offering of this sort could help maintain a steady level of support from alumni while creating an appealing environment for both perspective students and perspective student-athletes. Why have 10,000 at a game when you can have 12,000?
I found three occasions this past fall — and I’m certain there are more — in which our Athletic Department hosted a football game an another on-campus game. Here are the attendance numbers:
- September 21st, 2013
- Football: 11,473
- Women’s Soccer: 175
- October 26th, 2013 (Homecoming Weekend)
- Football: 9,684
- Women’s Soccer: 232
- November 9th, 2013
- Football: 6,394
- Women’s Basketball: 1,650
While the disparity between football and women’s basketball wasn’t as drastic as that between football and women’s soccer, there’s certainly an opportunity to improve. I saw this idea from Ryan Ivey, who mentioned they target certain volleyball and soccer games. For Central Missouri, women’s volleyball averaged approximately 330 in attendance while women’s soccer averaged approximately 175.
For our Athletic Department, I think this approach would be best served for basketball and volleyball as the arena is located across the street from the stadium. Conversely, the fields for our soccer (and softball) team is a few miles off campus creating a bind for some students. With an emphasis on the non-conference basketball games, I believe such an offering could drive early-season attendance up by a couple hundred at the least.