We all know there are few things more enjoyable than being in the stands of a great game. Emotions run high and the strangers who fill the arena seem suddenly to be best friends, brought together by the love for your team.
However, generating this enthusiasm for your team doesn’t happen automatically.
Here are three things you can do to build your fan base and foster a community that people are excited to be a part of.
1. Promote video content
We live in a visual world. It’s not enough for people to hear about a game from their buddy or to read a recap online. People want to see the action for themselves.
When you stream your games live, you give people who can’t be there in person the chance to see crazy plays and catch the drama from wherever they are. Don’t worry about this taking away from your audience attendance - these viewers wish they could be a part of the crowd. Watching a stream is the next-best thing.
Plus, when you live stream your games, you create a culture where people feel like they need to watch. They’ll take a break from what they’re doing to see how their team’s performing. Rooting for their team will become a habit and they’ll start doing whatever they can to be there in person.
2. Invest in merchandise
Selling merchandise isn’t just a way to generate some extra revenue. It’s actually a great way to subtly market your program and build loyalty to your school.
Everyone loves being a part of a group - it makes us feel like we’re part of something bigger and more important than ourselves. When people wear a T-shirt with your mascot, they’re showing support for your team. And when they walk around town, they’re spreading the word. Investing in some cool swag will make people eager to represent you.
To get people excited about your merchandise, try giving a few things away during games. Throw gear to the loudest cheerers in the stands or run a few halftime contests and reward winners with prizes. It’s a fun way to hype up game environments and ensure people return.
3. Leverage your opponent’s fans
Every game has two teams to root for - yours and your opponent’s. That rivalry can add a lot of excitement to any matchup. Try inviting the visiting school’s fans to your game. Then, tell your own program that the opponent and their supporters are coming to your turf. Nobody will want to be shown up at home, so people will come in droves to support your team.
Instantly, you’ve increased the number of people at your game AND bumped up the excitement level, making it more likely that they’ll be back next time...with more friends in tow.