When I sat down to write a summary of this week’s baseball games against Nova Southeastern, I realized a few things. There was a total of maybe 30 UT students that attended one of the three games this weekend, and of those 30 students, I doubt that any of them want to read a recap of what they just saw. So instead I decided to try and figure out why no one cares about school sports and, in particular, the number one ranked baseball team.
I see many students walking around campus wearing their favorite baseball team’s apparel, which makes me think there are plenty of baseball fans. Yet when I go to the games, the seats are empty, even though UT is the top ranked Division II team in the nation. When I think about all the factors, it really makes me wonder why no one is interested. Even if you don’t like baseball there are tons of free prizes given away from pizza and doughnuts to gift certificates ranging from 10-90 dollars. There’s music and games going on during the event, but school sports seem to draw the same lack of interest as many other campus events.
When I asked a group of students why they don’t attend games, the majority of them seemed to blame marketing. A group of students who asked not to be named said that they were baseball fans, but the baseball games interfered with their drinking time. I thought that was strange considering a lot of the team’s games are on Saturday afternoons. When I told them many of the team’s home games are Saturday doubleheaders, they were quick to blame the marketing team because the only games they see advertised are Friday night games.
Tania Ashby also believes the low attendance at UT sports events is due to lack of advertising. “I don’t know when many of the games are, so I think better advertising would increase attendance. I don’t know many of the players so I don’t know how interesting it would be, but I like watching baseball, so I would definitely go and show some school spirit if I knew when the games were.”
Tara Parian also blames marketing for the lack of attendance. “I never see anything about sporting events advertised. If there were more signs and posters for games, I think attendance would increase.”
I’m not calling out the marketing team because even if they did post flyers advertising every home game I’m not sure that would increase attendance. But isn’t it worth a try? Lack of campus participation at sporting events has a lot to do with lack of advertising. When UT played Florida Southern a few weeks ago, there were flyers and posters all around Plant Hall, and students working in the Vaughn Center trying to get people to go to the game. That was the only game of the year the stands were full with UT students and not the opposing team’s fans.
I know most Spartan fans will look on the UT website for when the games are if they really want to go. But posting flyers about every home game and advertising the free prizes at the game will help bring in students who are not really baseball fans but just want to hang out with their friends and have a good time at the game. I know it is hard to try and promote every home sporting event, but I think it would be a step in the right direction in trying to improve attendance.