Expanding on Sean's post about how SU Athletics needs to give fans reasons to come to the Dome, let's think through a few ways they can leverage promotions to do that. Maybe they're starting to hear us, by offering a kids day, and promoting a rally towel, but come on guys, do a little planning ahead of time, and maybe hype it up a bit leading up to the game.
We're also not talking about giving away a keychain or a luggage tag here. We're talking about ways to engage the fanbase in a meaningful way.
We're here to help though. In a perfect world, next year we can have a whole promotional schedule like this one come out weeks or months before the season (Pitt puts there's out in April).
Some of this, unfortunately, has already passed for this year (Hi Orange Out!). But maybe as a group we can come up with ideas that can be helpful for the future, and even the missed opportunities can still be useful at a later date.
Game 1 - Rhode Island
Opening Day Promotions
Lots of options for opening day, and probably the most important to engage the fans around, since it's often against a bad opponent. Give a team schedule poster or magnet to the first 15,000 fans (or whatever number you can afford). Let season-ticket holders get this game for free (incentives!). Most importantly, give 25% off at the bookstore to anyone who shows their ticket to the game. Just as you're looking to re-up your Syracuse gear for 2015, we give you a reason and an excuse to do so.
Game 2 - Wake Forest
Doing an Orange Out was a good idea. The execution? Not so much. They could have done so much more with this. Where should I start?
1. Hype the reveal of the Orange jersey by also making the jersey available to the fans to purchase that week. Countdown to the release. Make it exciting. Allow people to pre-order the jersey and have it shipped the week before the Orange Out so it's new and exciting and ready for the game.
2. Maybe mention that this is the 125th anniversary of SU adopting the Color Orange as the official color. Did anyone else completely miss that? Put out a TV ad or Online ad, something that says 125 years of Orange (maybe a cool time lapse?), which ends with Orange Out Sept. 12, 2015. Maybe you play said video at the start of the game. Just a thought.
3. Give out t-shirts to fans. Get sponsorships. Put them on seats and have them waiting for people.
4. Give out towels or pom poms or anything. Get sponsorships. Put them on seats and have them waiting for people.
5. Run a contest where the most Orange fan gets honored on the field. Put three candidates out there and let the fans decide who wins. Give them a prize. This doesn't seem so hard.
Game 3 - Central Michigan
Coach Mac Day, Family Day
Why don't we maybe spread some of these things out? And here's an idea ... let's have a whole bunch of activities in line with it. Let's invite the 1987 team back to the Dome for the game so they can cheer on their coach. Let's have the team on the quad, or somewhere in the stadium, before the game signing autographs. Give away a Coach Mac or 1987 team poster or something.
Make this "Family Day" where you can buy discounted family packs or something (vouchers for food and drink or something). That way Dads (and Moms!) and Grandpas (and Grandmas!) can tell their kids old stories about the Coach Mac days, and their kids will be forced to listen. It's the price you pay for that Dome Dog, kid!
Game 4 - LSU
Loud House Day/Homecoming
You don't need a real promotion for LSU. Fans are going to pack the Dome for this one. But you can still rally the fanbase when they're there in some creative ways. Put together a video package with highlights from 1984 and other big Orange upsets. Put in sound bites from coaches and players calling the Loud House one of the toughest places to play. "The Carrier Dome, Where Upsets Happen." Then pan to the field, where a player from the 1984 team is the honorary captain for the coin toss. Cue fan insanity. Give out either t-shirts, towels or even just some cheap signs that say "This is the Loud House" or some other corny marketing thing. Remind fans they can make a difference.
Then, why not make this the homecoming game? If you're an Orange alum, you probably wanted to go see this game more than any other from the opposing team's name alone. Anything we can do to get more Orange butts in the seats instead of purple and gold.
Game 5 - Pittsburgh
Parents' Weekend/Basketball Tie-In
Parents' Weekend is tough because it means you're getting rid of your student section for a game - which is why it's insane we're doing that for LSU. You also have to be far enough into the season that parents have been away from their kids for a while. And you want to pick a game that's not a guaranteed drubbing (why LSU again?). Pittsburgh seems like the logical fit for this, but we'll give you a little extra motivation to offset the less rowdy atmosphere.
This is also the last football home game before basketball season, so let's do a little cross promotion (#Brand). Buy a ticket to the Pitt game, you get a free ticket to a basketball game (from a list of meh non-conference games). We'll also be giving out basketball schedule posters (men's and women's on one). Jim Boeheim will be there (just for the cheer on the jumbotron, you can't pay him enough to do anything of substance). In the second quarter, a lucky row will be selected to take a selfie with the whole men's basketball team, who will come into the stands to do it during halftime.
Game 6 - Clemson
Orange Out: Part 2 - WE ARE THE ORANGE
OK, F- it. We already messed up one Orange Out, but let's get it right this time for real. Let's make that 125 years of Orange video. Let's give out the t-shirts. Let's give out the towels and pom poms. Clemson needs to know that we own the color Orange, and they can go screw.
Make the Orange jerseys available for purchase. Why won't you let me buy an Orange jersey, SU Athletics? I will buy one. I promise.
Game 7 - Boston College
Fan Appreciation Day
This is a tough game, right after Thanksgiving and all the students are gone. There's a chance the team is already out of bowl contention, and fan interest may be at a relative low. So let's make it so the fans that do go have a BLAST. Give away t-shirts left and right. Have contests during the commercials where you give away more gear. Empty out the closet of everything that wasn't sold and give it to your fans. Honor long-time season ticket holders throughout the game. Invite one lucky fan onto the field for a chance to kick a field goal for SEASON TICKETS FOR LIFE. Tell me you wouldn't go to this game!
What other promotions, engagements would get you going? Leave them in the comments.