One of the most fun elements of attending a college sporting event is the energy generated by the student section. They are the loudest, the craziest, and typically most intense fans in the building, across almost any college sport.
Often times, these sections are General Admission, which adds another element to the environment in that part of the building. I can remember working at Arizona State and seeing thousands of students lined up, some of them getting there quite early, so that way when the gates opened they can rush to get the best seats in the section.
While there are fans in other parts of the building that may cheer just as loudly and get just as excited about the game, the dynamics just aren’t quite the same because of the inherent mix of buyers throughout the rest of the building that may not share the same energy.
This got me thinking – how can a college better serve those “crazy” fans that may not be students anymore but still have the same passion as they did in their college days and want to keep that experience going? And not only that, what impact could that have in terms of the total energy in the venue?
So here’s my idea – create a “Student-At-Heart” section with a special ticket package. The basics concept looks like this:
- Pick a specific section that makes the most sense with where the current student section is located. Maybe it’s the section next to it, or maybe on the other side of a building to create some symmetry.
- Make the tickets in that section GA so the loudest, most excited fans will get that opportunity to be closest to the field.
- Limit the resale of these tickets. I know that controversial, but maybe you provide some discount or some other incentive to prevent resale so that the section stays “student-like.”
- The target audience for this location is likely recent alumni, but in truth, fans of all ages may want to feel like students again.
- Create a trade-in opportunity for other ticket holders that may only want to be in that section once or twice a year to relive that experience.
- Inevitably, this section may hold particular value to a corporate sponsor based on both the demographic and high level of engagement involved.
So that’s my random idea for today. If you work in college athletics and like the idea, please give it a try. Maybe start with it as a theme for one specific game to see how it works in driving single game tickets or impacting the gameday experience. I’m sure any approach to this concept will have to be tuned to fit a specific location, but be creative and try it out!