From the Vault: Using Bands in Pro Sports

ravens bandAs time goes on, there is more and more content buried deep in the archives of this blog, so every now and then, I like to reach into “the vault” and revisit an old post.

Today, I’m sharing a post I wrote last year on making marching bands part of the professional sports experience. The reason I thought back to this post was because of last night’s ESPN30 for 30 documentary on the old Baltimore Colts marching band called “The Band That Wouldn’t Die.” The film did an excellent job talking about the Colts’ late night move from Baltimore to Indianapolis, and how the team’s marching band continued to play on for over a decade until finally the Ravens brought football back to Baltimore.


I will admit right up front that I am biased, since I was part of the marching and pep bands while in college, but having a live marching band and pep band at college sporting events is a valuable part of the game-day experience. This includes pregame shows (think of the tuba player dotting the “i” in the Ohio State pregame), halftime shows (some southern schools have very elaborate and impressive performances), and timeout performances during both football and basketball games. I am a firm believer that a live band can generate as much if not more enthusiasm from the fans than any canned music can.

On that note, I wanted to mention two professional teams that make use of a live band, the Washington Redskins and the Baltimore Ravens. Here are a couple of clips (note – the audio quality is not that great, since these are fan recordings):

The band is part of a long-standing tradition for both of these teams, but I think that other teams in both football (marching bands) and basketball (pep bands) could benefit from adding a live band to their game experience. The only downside would be a small drop in ticket inventory for the band’s seating area, but this should not be a very significant issue for most teams. What do you think?

Update: TheTicketSalesCoach just told me that the Orlando Magic use both a pep band and a drum line as part of their game experience. If you know of other examples (good or bad), please leave a comment!

4 thoughts on “From the Vault: Using Bands in Pro Sports

  • October 14, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    However, a bad band can be a HUGE BUZZ-KILL. Let’s say time-out is called and there is :07 on the clock, your team has the ball and they only need one hoop to win. You need to juice the crowd with fast, upbeat music, Right Here, Right Now, Sandstorm, etc. A bad pep-band playing Louie, Louie ain’t gonna cut it. Would rather have no band than a bad band.

  • October 14, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    :07 seconds on the clock and you need to get the crowd juiced? Yikes, must be a Knicks game. I love the marching band for football. Less Hollywood and more old-school, please.

  • October 15, 2009 at 10:48 am

    The 76ers hosted a “Battle of the Bands” competition during their regular season. Contact the 76ers for more info.

  • October 21, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    The Portland Trail Blazers used to have a row filled with a bunch of big drums, I don’t know if they still have it. I heard a lot of complaints from season ticket holders who are near that section who found it quite annoying

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