Picture the perfect pre-game setting. Your rival is in the opposing locker room. The fans are amped, roaring and chanting in unison. As your team prepares to take the field or court, they’re energized by the sold-out crowd and charge out, full of adrenaline.
This scene is the dream of every athletic director. Fostering a committed fan base doesn’t guarantee success, but it has the ability to empower your teams and get them hyped. But frenzied fans don’t come without effort—they’re earned.
Ultimately, team success will buoy attendance, but athletic directors can do their part to charge up the fan base. Today’s social media climate has made this easier than ever before.
Allow video to be the engine that powers your hype machine. With Hudl, it’s a breeze to create eye-popping highlights, and by calling out your teams’ best moments, you’ll keep the fans engaged and excited for the next game. By sharing highlights and recognizing awards and scholarship offers earned by your players, you’ll keep your teams at the front of their fans’ minds. Encourage athletes to create and share as well.
Connecting with the fan base is all about engagement. The diehards and notable alumni will always be in your corner, but the fringe fans need more encouragement. By recapping games, holding contests and reliving your teams’ best moments, you can win them over and gain their support.
Don’t underestimate the support of your alumni athletes. They can be a very powerful voice in the community and any backing from them could go a long way. Stay connected with them and give them an authentic platform to show their support, such as a video interview or an article they write for your school’s website or blog.
Some might question if all this work is worth it. Some athletic directors might channel their inner Al Davis—“Just win, baby”—and expect the fans to roll in.
While winning absolutely helps, it’s not the end-all, be-all. The general public will more often choose to watch games from the comfort of their homes, which is a major issue the NCAA is currently dealing with.
More engaged fans make for a better game day atmosphere and environment for your athletes, and the income from ticket and concession sales is part of what keeps your athletic budget running. You need the support of your fan base to make your teams successful.
Winning the fans over and getting them out to games doesn’t require much effort. With a smart social media strategy, some well-designed highlights and a few public rallies, you can create the kind of powerful fan base every athletic director desires.