Alabama Crimson Tide Gets Creative in Tackling Declining Student Attendance
College football’s powerhouse has proven to be dominant in all meanings of the word. Business Insider has named the “Top 25 Most Dominant College Football Programs” according to the Niche rankings, NCAA championships won, and overall revenue for the program within the past year. Before even reading this article, the majority of college football fans could make a fair guess about who leads the college football scene without a question. That’s right, the Alabama Crimson Tide has done it… yet again. So how exactly does one have “dominance” in the college football world? How do they keep those seats filled and money flowing into Bryant-Denny Stadium?
After their $14 million deal for the team’s media rights in 2014, 15 National Championships, and an average of over 101,000 people in attendance at home games – the dynasty has brought in over $95 million within the past football season.
Too many empty seats
The most recent numbers show that the Tide has brought in over $36 million in ticket sales. According to the Tuscaloosa News, “of the tickets sold to the students only 83% of them were used, leaving empty seats and “holes” in the stadium”. The students are allocated 15,700 tickets per game and the new rules and regulations created by the University’s SGA were proposed in order to fill the seats in the student section and not just sell tickets to make money.
As you can see the decrease in the student section attendance was not just an Alabama problem. The decrease within the past few years has been evident across the “Big 5 Conferences” in football.
New year, new rules
To solve this problem the SGA’s rules were laid out for the Alabama students before tickets went on sale for the 2015 season. The penalties for the Alabama students are based on a point system. If a student who possesses a student ticket pack earns 3 penalty points then they will be ineligible to purchase tickets for the next year. Students are allowed to “transfer” their tickets, but are not allowed to just leave a ticket unused if they want to maintain a clean record with the football program. So are these new rules helping with numbers and filling the gaps?
Fans are better than customers
The University knows that customers are just going to purchase things for a while and then fizzle out, but fans will be loyal to the brand for a lot longer. Getting the students to participate in the games and stay throughout the game or get someone to fill their seats creates a better atmosphere for the Tide and the experience of going to the stadium, which will keep fans coming back for more. “Coming back for more” is the goal of every sports marketing plan and every team’s objective. This is also allowing more students that want to come to the games opportunity to get to watch the games.
Rising Tide will not fall
The football dynasty that is known as the Crimson Tide will continue to dominate in the college football world and hopefully their student section will match their successes this season. This marketing strategy will give the students a whole new appreciation for their favorite team and create loyalty, not just sales. So the next time you watch a game at Bryant-Denny, see if you can notice the full student section now.
This blog post was written by Samford University student, Sydnee Wisler.