sports; fan organizations; sports marketing; college sports
Sports are a prevalent aspect of our lives. We tend to find a team that we passionately follow and support, through the good and bad. At the college level, there is an extra amount of pride while cheering on your school’s team. Whether that be a basketball, football, or any other team, we feel excitement and passion towards our alma mater. At the University of Rhode Island, students, faculty, and community members feel this way towards our men’s basketball team. Rhody Basketball brings excitement, school spirit, and so much more to our community each and every season.
For the 2016-17 season, I wanted to hone in on this excitement and school spirit. Prior to this season, our student section was lacking and the overall student presence was weak. Therefore, working with Rhode Island Athletics, I created and ran the new student fan organization, the Rhody Ruckus. The Rhody Ruckus is an organization consisting of students who want to help create that ever-so important home court advantage for our men’s basketball program. Each student who became a member received an exclusive t-shirt and a membership card that gets them into games early, as well other benefits. The main goals of this organization were to increase student attendance at games, enhance game atmosphere for all fans, and change the culture at URI.
This project consisted of three main parts. Before the season started, I implemented various grassroots and social media marketing strategies to recruit members. When the season started, I worked to create a better game atmosphere with chants, costumes, and other props for the student section. At the end of the season, I evaluated the impact the Rhody Ruckus had on the regular season by analyzing student attendance numbers and the success of the marketing strategy I created.