Not everyone knows what you’re talking about if you say, “throw your dubs up”, but the Women’s Basketball fans at the University of Washington definitely do. In addition to the standard Flex Cam, the Huskies scan the arena for fans flashing the W sign in the stands, which is one of the most unique cams I’ve seen. I loved that they brought one of their traditions into the game production.
They also had a dance cam, but tailored that as well by starting off with taped footage of some of the student-athletes dancing across the screen.
In general, they were very strong with their use of the video board, which started with an awesome intro video. With fans being glued to screens these days, they definitely entertained the crowd with their video features. For in-game content, they featured their head coach in two different segments. First with “Name that Tune” where Coach Neighbors came on the screen to introduce the quiz of naming one of his favorite songs (#144 to be exact). I liked seeing that personality from the coach and it was fun to overhear fans saying, “I didn’t know he liked Pearl Jam. That’s cool.” He was also featured for Mike’s Flick Pick of the Game with his #11 choice, “Forest Gump”.
In addition to the incredible video work, they had some standard shooting contests, including musical chairs at halftime, one of my favorites to implement back in the day. With these contests, you rely on the contestants to make things entertaining. And on Friday night, they did. It came down to a young girl and a young boy at the end, but even though the boy made the basket first, he let the girl take the last seat on the court. The crowd loved it. I loved it. The PA announcer was also quick on his feet to create a really cool moment with this contest. A great PA announcer also makes things fun, and being able to change things on the fly is huge. Who you pick as your announcer can set the tone for the game. At the start of the game, he was able to keep fans on their feet until the opposing team scored, a Washington tradition that he made you want to be part of. I even stood up.
Of course, they threw out t-shirts to the enthusiastic crowd, but I’ve never seen people go so crazy for healthy snacks that were tossed compliments of Healthy Harry’s. Although I was once trampled for bars of soap after a Chicago Fire game, I’ve never been bombarded for health food, but Washington concentrates on health and sustainability in their community so it fit perfectly. They also ran a promotion where they randomly gave away prizes to fans who recycled at the game. I love random acts like that. We used to do random acts of kindness at Northwestern and always received positive feedback because the prizes were delivered by student-athletes to their seats. If you’ve read “The Starbucks Experience”, you know that surprise and unexpected is a huge part of their business plan. So with their headquarters being in Seattle, I wasn’t surprised to see the Huskies implementing that same principle.
They also had a ticket promotion running where fans could attend a chalk talk with Coach Neighbors if they purchased by a certain date. I love added value ticket promotions over ticket discounts. To close out the game presentation, they have an autograph session after every home game and those student -athletes were some of the most gracious people I’ve ever seen. They are the reason we are all working so hard to get fans to the game and being able to grant this access to fans is one of the reasons we will continue to grow this game.
I would love to hear about your gameday promotions. What are you most proud of? How much support do you get from your video department? What other ways besides autograph sessions do fans get to know your team and coaches?
Tracie Hitz has 16 years of experience working in the sports industry, which includes college, professional, agency and association. If you want to be a guest blogger, email her at TracieHitz@gmail.com, and join the conversation on Twitter (@TracieHitz), using #WBBmarketing throughout the year.