This blog is contributed by Team Spectator
How can a booster club help increase game attendance?
Why is this important?
Athlete Motivation and Pride
The “12th Man” mantra is a well-known and widely used phrase, but what’s behind it is something bigger: a testament to the incredibly important role that fans play in games. When the players and coaches look up into the stands and see the community, the student body, and the parents all rallied together to cheer them on, there is inherently a swell of pride that fills their chests. There is a reason the term “home-team advantage”’ exists. When the athletes feel supported and loved by those in the stands, it is amazing the psychological and emotional effects that can take place. It can lead to higher energy, intensity, and ultimately better performance by the athletes.
Increased School Spirit
Not only will the players feel this swell of pride, but the fans will feel it as well. It is a unique event to have so many people of different backgrounds coming together with the common passion for their school’s team. Over time, the excitement that stems from this will ignite a sense of school pride in everyone at the game, causing them to tell others to come, reconnect with their fellow alumni, and hopefully causing them to keep coming and spending money at your events.
You will obviously generate more money with the more people who attend the games. This will come with ticket sales, concessions, and from massive amounts of apparel sales. It’s a cycle: fans feel pride, fans spend money, your booster club provides nicer facilities, fans feel MORE pride, and on it goes!
What are the keys to increasing attendance?
1) Communication (Let know when and where the games are!)
Have the Schedule on Your Website (See how to create booster club here)
Your parents, alumni, and general community members need to be able to readily find out when and where the games will be taking place. By having an up-to-date, accurate, and trustworthy booster club website, your fans will always have a place they can count on to find out where they need to be Friday night for the big game.
Staying active on social media is incredibly important for a booster club. Keep your accounts up-to-date on cancellations, reschedules, and times/dates. Social media is one of the primary places your community will go for information on the team, so booster clubs and coaches should use Twitter and Facebook as a tool to keep the community up to date. This can also be a medium for your booster club to share promotions, live scores, articles, and photos. By doing this you will keep your following engaged, interested, and informed on how they can support the team. Many booster clubs are out-of-touch with social media, but the best booster clubs use social media in these ways.
Take advantage of email lists to blast out schedules and notify people of special nights (see below). A popular communication tool for schools is an email newsletter to all the families in the community.Try to take advantage of that! As your next home game is approaching, reserve a spot in that newsletter for the football schedule. This will help you reach a whole new group who normally don’t hear from the football team. It is important to note, keep the emails to a minimum. We recommend a maximum of once a week.
2) Having Special Promotions to Expand Your Audience
Host Elementary Night
Get the younger families involved and aware of the joys of Friday Night Football by incentivizing them to attend the games. Host an elementary night, where kids under 12 are admitted for free, or have the elementary kids prepare a dance routine that is performed at halftime. Or, a crowd favorite, have the Pop Warner or flag football kids have a 10-minute scrimmage for the halftime show. Their parents will be thrilled to showcase their talented kids in front of such a large crowd, and it will be a fun preview for everyone to see what exciting talent will be coming up through the system in a few years.
Have a Concession Promotion
“Dollar Dog Night” is a fun one that rolls off the tongue, unless you already charge $1 for a hot dog, in which case that is not a promotion! Offer some sort of other concession stand discount, like free popcorn. It may not be a huge traffic-driver, but for some people, unfortunately, the concession prices can be a big barrier to attending games. Remove that barrier with fun specials like this. If they come once, experience the game, and enjoy themselves, maybe they’ll keep coming back!
This is usually Homecoming, but unfortunately many booster clubs don’t take advantage of this opportunity to bring their alumni back for the night. Make sure you invite all your alumni to come back through whatever communication platform you may have (social media and email are most common). Offer them free admittance, or perhaps recognize a past team that won a championship. This is a great way to bring back some folks who have been disconnected from the school for a while, and give yourselves a chance to reconnect (and hopefully get them to donate, or at least buy some merchandise!)
Sell Passes in Booster Club Packages
Some people may buy your booster club packages to become a member, but still have to pay for tickets to all the games. Include season tickets or a few free tickets in some of your booster club packages. This way they are still paying for the tickets, but all at once, and they will feel prompted to attend the games since they already bought the tickets. We also have some tips for you to increase your booster club’s memberships.
Use Local Businesses
Your yearly football poster, sometimes the highlight for most parents, should be hung around town. Don’t be afraid to ask your local businesses to hang it up in their establishments. Local stores and restaurants (especially sports bars) often feel a sense of pride when hanging it. By doing this it is one more avenue or reminder for fans to see when your next home game will be.
Notify Fans of Team Success
If it is a good season, tell people! More people will attend games when they feel more connected. Many “sideline fans” often don’t show up to the games. As a coach or booster club your goal is to update these fans with recaps, game film, and tweets so that they turn into a true fan. The more excited/connected they feel with the team and players the more likely they are to show up.
Promote Your Players
People will feel more connected to the team if they know more about the specific players. Make sure you connect with local newspapers so that they cover your teams. If a player is having a good season, promote him so that people will want to show up to the game to see your “stud” in action. This will help increase the player’s pride and college prospects as well.
You biggest fans and cheerleaders will often be the current students. So let’s not forget about them! Many current students look to the student body newspaper for updates on sports. This is a great opportunity to get them excited and interested in coming to your next home game. As mentioned before share your promotions, player profiles, just to add one more reason to get them to go.
Though there are many different activities and events that your booster club can put on in order to attract more fans to come to the game, ultimately, the players and the coaches are going to be the biggest draw. There is nothing quite like the electricity that flows through a high school football stadium, and the root of that is the passion, energy, and hard work that the athletes and coaches put into it. They are the reason folks should show up, but your booster club can do supplemental things to draw in the outsiders who may not be sold. But believe me, once they show up, they’ll be sold.
This blog is brought to you by Spectator. At Spectator, we have spoken with booster clubs all across the nation. We update our own blog weekly with tips, tricks, and guidelines on how to be the best booster club possible. Visit our site to learn how we are impacting the efficiency of booster clubs across the US. We hope you enjoyed our article!