At Noon on On September 15th, we were able to pack 713 people into Newell-Grissom for a volleyball match as part of our “Elementary School Day” game.
Another night where we saw a spike in attendance was our 2000s night on September 27th we played Ole Miss at home on ESPNU, when we had 1,023 people in attendance which was our 4th highest attendance in school history.
Over the last few years, the on-field product for Mississippi State Soccer has not been the main driver for drawing crowds but we have continued to see success in attendance. This year, we hoped to continue that trend by welcoming and promoting a new head coach.
This year, we saw improved success not only on the field, but also in the stands. For coach Anagnost’s first game at Mississippi State, we set a program record for the largest single game attendance with 1349 fans. We also achieved the 4th and 7th largest crowds in program history throughout the year. On top of those record crowds, we finished with the largest single season attendance of 8246 fans this season and the 2nd largest average home attendance with 824 fans per game.
Our most successful promotion to drive students to games this season was the implementation of “StarkVegas” themed scratch cards for a chance to win $10,000. The “StarkVegas” theme was our overall brand for the season across all sports and we believed the chance of winning a large sum of cash was the best way to play into this theme. Partnering with Interactive Promotions, we designed a scratch card game to allow 100 students per game the chance at $10,000. The scratch cards were first come first serve and we usually had a line at the marketing table before games with students eager to take their shot at the cash. Unfortunately, we did not have a winner this season but we will definitely look at this promotion again in the future.
Coupling the on-field success of first year head coach with their 9-5-4 record and our success in the stands this year, we are looking forward to and even brighter future for Women’s Soccer at Mississippi State.
In 2017-18 Mississippi State Men’s Basketball saw its first winning season for the first time in over 6 years. However, the program holds a winning percentage of just .463 during that 6 year span. As a marketing team we made great strides in attendance this season in many categories. Our goal, once again, was to find unique, cost effective ways to continually add value to the consumer experience outside of just the product on the court. In 2017-18 our total attendance for the season increased by 8.71% to 142,823. The largest total attendance The Humphrey coliseum has seen for men’s basketball in over 6 years. Non-conference attendance increased by 12.71% without hosting a power 5 or ranked opponent throughout the entire stretch. This season we saw an increase in total student attendance (14,158) from the previous year.
SMASH A CAR: Just behind the season opener, “Smash the Flyers Night” was the second highest non-conference student crowd of the season. This game took place the day before finals against a historically very good Dayton program. We wanted to give our students the chance to let out some stress or frustration. Therefore, we contacted a local junkyard and had a car delivered to the coliseum. Students were given the opportunity to take out all of that stress with a sledge hammer before the game.
ESPORTS DAY: ESports Day was a first time promotion for Mississippi State that resulted in our third largest crowd of the season. Electronic sports, or esports, is one of the leading industries in the competitive and entertainment businesses in this decade. We decided to turn our student lounge into a complete virtual experience with Xbox gaming systems, Fortnite online tournaments, PC games, old school nintendo and much more.
BABY RACE: While many have done this, the halftime baby race was a first this year in Starkville and was a hit in the small town community. Resulting in our second largest crowd of the season the baby race registration blew up as many traveled across the state with their little ones with hopes of taking home the 3 month supply of diapers.
LATE NIGHT IN THE DISTRICT: The best student crowd this season came at the final game of the season. The home finale against Tennessee carried big implications with post-season play on the line. While giving out T-shirts is a given to draw a student crowd, we took it a step further with a grassroots marketing technique that benefited us greatly. A few days before the game, we took our head basketball coach, Ben Howland to our downtown district where the student nightlife lingers, and had him serve cheese fries to students at one of the local bar and grills. Afterwards coach went door to door of each bar downtown visiting with student and encouraging them to attend the game coming up.
When it comes to Women’s Basketball in StarkVegas, the last few years have been quite special. This year not only continued that sentiment, but built upon it ten fold. Achieving a program record ranking of #2 for most of the season, our Mississippi State Women’s Basketball team sold out 4 games on our way to an SEC Regular Season Championship title on our home court and an undefeated 30-0 regular season record.
Largest Crowd in Humphrey Coliseum History For Any Event (10,794 vs South Carolina)
Largest crowd for any men’s or women’s college basketball game in the state of Mississippi
Largest Average Game Attendance in School History (7,113)
Beats previous record set last season by 320 fans
Ranks 7th in the country
Total Season Attendance Record Broken By More Than 20,000 fans (113,814)
Ranks 6th in the country
With four home games left in the regular season, Coach Schaefer vowed that he would donate $10,000 of his own money to The Boys and Girls Club of Starkville if our fans shattered the total season attendance number of 92,914. Schaefer’s goal to the fans was 110,000 total fans, which at the time, would mean an average of 8,977 fans would have to attend our last four games. Our fans responded by selling out the final four games (9,930 average) of the season to shatter our single season attendance record by more than 20,000 fans. When all was said and done, we achieved 3 of the top 5, 6 of the top 10 and 9 of the top 20 crowds in school history this season. The final attendance number for the 2017/18 season ended at 113,814 fans. Coach Schaefer gladly cut his $10,000 check to The Boys and Girls Club of Starkville following our last home game of the season and thanks to some generous friends of the Bulldog family, a total of $46,000+ was donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Starkville that night.
These record crowds are made even more special by realizing we made a change in the way we manage youth tickets, by moving from free admission to $3 per game. Youth who were Bully’s Kids Club members were admitted free. This change did not impact our attendance, yielded more revenue via ticket sales and Bully’s Kids Club memberships, and still led to record crowds
A CLOSER LOOK AT USC GAME CROWD & SELL OUT STREAK
A National Championship rematch on your home court? Getting a sell-out is a must. Never in program history had women’s basketball accomplished a sell-out in advance of a game. Previously, two sell-outs had occurred, but both were soft sell-outs, which happened in-arena with walk-up sales leading to tip.
We knew it was time to put a plan in place that would drive attention and garner our first advance sell-out in program history – we wanted to MAKE NOISE.
RETARGETTING / PAID SOCIAL: It started months ahead, as we began running retargeting campaigns to those who visited our women’s basketball ticket page and women’s basketball parts of the website, promoting them to purchase tickets for “THE REMATCH”. Calling it a “rematch” was not something our coaching staff was in favor of, but we knew it would resonate in selling tickets, so we used the phrase sparingly – only in places that were direct to consumer and targeted. In the final month of the campaign alone, we garnered 530,223 impressions, 11,502 clicks, and 23,841 site visits, which yielded 1,216 total conversions and $27,618 in revenue.
PARTNERSHIP WITH ADIDAS: In order to push this game promotion to new heights, we began discussions in October with our apparel provider, Adidas, to create a fully integrated digital and grassroots marketing campaign, which would be shared by both their accounts and ours to build hype around the game, and thus push ticket sales. We felt that our partnership with Adidas provided a unique avenue to promote the game being a WHITE OUT, and Adidas agreed to provide us 5,000 shirts to cover the entire lower bowl of the arena. The front of the shirts were printed with our mantra for the night – MAKE NOISE. We wanted the team to “make noise” on the national stage by defeating the defending national champions, and we wanted our fans to literally “make noise” in the arena and help the team win.
THE DAK COLLECTION: One aspect of the campaign was to capitalize on former Bulldog QB, and current Dallas Cowboys starter, Dak Prescott’s support of the team during their Final Four run in Dallas. During the game against UCONN, it seemed as though Dak appeared on TV as many times as Coach Schaefer did, rocking a Mississippi State basketball jersey and showing his team pride. To tie this all together, we partnered with Dak and Adidas to create the “Dak Collection”, a full online retail collection of WHITE OUT merchandise for fans to purchase and wear to the game. We utilized a “Seeding Kit” in a custom designed box, and allowed Dak to open the box and release the collection on his personal twitter account. Not only did this help us promote the game organically, it also promoted the WHITE OUT, and pushed fans to purchase gear for the game, which drove increased licensing revenue.
SEEDING KITS & GEAR: In addition to Dak releasing the online collection and the WHITE OUT via his channels, we also received a number of kits locally – one for Coach Schaefer to open and others to use on campus for grassroots marketing efforts to allow students to win WHITE OUT gear.
POM POMS: To push this partnership further, we worked with Adidas to order white pom poms for the entire lower bowl, in order to push the WHITE OUT to another level. The unique aspect of these pom poms, was that on the handle we printed a Snapcode, which when scanned took you directly to the online “Dak Collection” to purchase additional gear.
THE ESCAPE ROOM:
As we inched ever closer to the game itself, we had a steady flow of purchases of standard general admission tickets, but wanted to place a focus on ensuring students came out in support of the game. For context, prior to this season, we have surpassed the 1,000 student mark only eight times in program history, and had never surpassed the 1,500 mark. Our average student attendance per game in 2016-17 was 709 students per game, a program record. Prior to the 2016-17 season, the highest average we had ever achieved was 480 students per game. Our goal for this game was to fill the student section with nearly 2,000 students.
We had the data, we had the goal, now we needed to find a way to make it happen. Our solution? Build an escape room on campus themed around the South Carolina game.
The Problem: The South Carolina Game Films Have Been Stolen
The Mission: Find the Game Films in 30 Minutes & Return them to the Coaching Staff
We built out two real, 10×15’ rooms, with doors and a ceiling, inside an open space in the football stadium in order to allow students an opportunity to solve the mystery. This grassroots marketing effort created a fun and exciting promotion for students to want to come and participate in, whether or not they even knew the game was taking place on campus. Once inside, every clue and riddle tied back to the game, and was given through a video message from Coach Vic Schaefer.
If you solved the mystery and found the films, you received a free “Make Noise” WHITE OUT t-shirt, and the best time from the two day period received tickets for their group to attend the game.
We set this promotion to coincide with the “ticket claim” date for student tickets to the game, and the student ticket allotment sold out in a total of 14 minutes.
VIDEO & PROMOTIONAL GRAPHICS: Not only did this game feature your standard game day graphics and videos, but we launched an entire WHITE OUT / MAKE NOISE video series to promote the game, utilizing videos and graphics across all platforms to build hype and sell tickets.
THE RESULT: For the first time in program history, the game was sold out in advance of game day. Not only that, but it sold out two weeks prior to the game. With a total attendance on 10,794 a new record was set that night for the largest crowd to ever watch a game in Humphrey Coliseum, and the largest crowd to ever watch college basketball in the State of Mississippi – surpassing every record ever set on the men’s or women’s side for any state institution.
THE ATMOSPHERE: Once we had the crowd, we had to make sure the atmosphere backed it up. The other aspect of this campaign included what many fans have said was the best atmosphere ever witnessed in Humphrey Coliseum.
It began with pre-game, where we placed WHITE OUT shirts and pom poms on every seat in the lower level, as well as custom printed newspapers (for visiting introductions) on all 10,500 seats in the entire arena. We unveiled an entirely new intro video sequence for this game, complete with a full-board arena takeover of a “SURVIVOR” video, themed with a mindset of “toughness” and this team bounced back and put in the work to win that one more game this season, following the loss to USC last year in the National Championship game. Throughout the game, we kept the crowd energized with all new videos, games, and crowd-interactive features to help push our team to victory.
The 2017 season of Bulldog Baseball saw more record crowds, as Mississippi State fans packed into Dudy Noble Field for the final time before the renovation.
Largest Opening Weekend Attendance in Program History – 30,974
Largest Opening Day Attendance in Program History – 10,222
Largest Opening Saturday Attendance in Program History – 10,958
Largest Average Game Attendance in Program History – 8,576
Largest SEC Average Attendance Since 2014 – 9,478
Largest SEC Friday Average Attendance in Program History – 8,540
The 2017 Mississippi State Softball season was yet another successful year at Nusz Park. The Bulldogs cruised to a 24 and 7 record at home and a 36 and 22 record overall and capped off the season with a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Two of the top 15 crowds in program history. 7th and 12th largest crowds.
Third Largest Season Attendance Total (17,110 Fans Total)
Third Largest Season Attendance Average (551 Fans Per Game)
This past season for both mens and womens tennis, with the talent that both teams had, we wanted to push for awareness of both programs to build a stronger following. On the men’s side we used a sorority campaign where each sorority was assigned to a match to come to and cheer on the guys. With this match campaign we were able to have a strong base of fans at each match during the season with our lowest sorority involvement being 50 girls and our highest being 150. This campaign paired with our dog bone claim, t-shirt give away and 90s match day we saw 3 of our programs top 10 attendances last year. For our dog bone claim match on March 9th against Alabama we had a crowd of 153 people. Then for our T-shirt giveaway where we gave away 100 t-shirts we had a crowd of 174. Then our biggest crowd of the year was when we had the Phi Mu Sorority come to the match against Tennessee on April 1st and we had a crowd of 207 people. For the Women’s tennis team last season we introduced our Sunday S’mores campaign where each Sunday match during the season we would give away S’mores to any fans in attendance. This campaign with other promotions helped lead us to 2 top 10 crowds in the 2017 season, our first being on St. Patricks day when we gave away Green cups with our M-State logo on them we had a crowd of 127 people. Then second being on March 31st when we did our t-shirt giveaway for international student day, which led to a crowd of 167 people.