Looking to find a promotion to stick close to our StarkVegas brand, we decided to do a season-long promotion giving away unique scratch cards. These scratch cards resembled “lottery” tickets, where students and fans could have a chance to win $10,000! Every match, 100 lucky people would receive a card, and if 6 spots were scratched and matched, they would take home 10 grand! This promotion was well received by students, driving them to games in hopes that they would win some money. All 1,100 scratch cards were used throughout the season, and helped bring great crowds to all of our home matches this season.
T-SHIRT FRIDAY GIVEAWAYS
This fall, we wanted to capitalize on our “big” games with a solid promo to bring out fans and students. With an odd draw of scheduling and cancellations, we were only slated a few home Friday night matches, which are typically our most well attended through the season. We pursued a season-long Friday night T-shirt giveaway, where fans who came to home matches got a free shirt on Fridays. To make sure fans stayed for the matches, we gave out tickets which were redeemable for the shirt at halftime of that specific match. Giving out over 1,000 shirts over the course of the season was a huge success.
VISITS TO STARKVILLE PARKS & REC
Community involvement is a large aspect of getting fans to come out to olympic sporting events. Making the team and community synonymous is a key component of helping fans get to know teams better, and in return getting them to come out to games. This year, we engaged the community with taking out student-athletes to our local parks and rec soccer leagues. Here, they chatted with fans and passed out flyers to help promote their upcoming matches. They also took pictures with kids and passed out magnets and cowbell stickers to help further their brand and make it more recognizable in the community.
RT TO WIN AT THE UNION
Like community involvement, getting our student-athletes in front of other students is always a goal of ours. This year, we took our players around the Student Union on campus around peak hours of the day. Carrying various Mississippi State Soccer apparel, they approached students to tell them they had an opportunity to win gear. All they had to do was take a picture with the girls and the gear, and tweet it at our official @HailStateSOC account. The student with the most RT’s by gametime would win the prize we had selected for that day. This created great awareness for our upcoming matches, and got students involved in the process. This served as a great natural social push that helped promote the matches on a student level that couldn’t be reached in any other way.
KNOCKER BALL COMPETITIONS
One of the most successful crowd-driving promotions of the year was our halftime knocker ball games. Each game, fans had the opportunity to sign-up to participate in our halftime knockerball tournaments. The most entertaining aspect of this promotion was that we limited the playing area to only the center field circle and used mini pug goals. With minimal rules, we had contestants take many different strategies into the knockerball games, from all out hitting to skillfully dodging hits and scoring goals. This kept the promotion fun and entertaining throughout each game. The winning team received custom Mississippi State supporters scarves as prizes which were only given as special prizes for in-game contests.
At every soccer match, we set up a ‘Bully’s Kidz Zone’. In this zone there are multiple inflatables, soccer themed games, and soccer goals and balls for kids to play with. This is a big draw for families to come out to games and let their kids play while the match is ongoing. This increased our attendance numbers from families (as well as kids and teams) and helps create a fun and energetic atmosphere for our fans.
NATIONAL TV DINNER TRAY DAY
Sunday, September 10th is deemed ‘National TV Dinner Tray Day’ in the United States, and we wanted to remind fans of it. With microwaves set up and plastic utensils ready to go, fans that attended our home match on this day were greeted with 200 FREE TV dinners. Ranging from roast beef to spaghetti and everything in between, fans could choose their tray, microwave their food, and eat their dinner while watching the match. This promotion brought tons of attention via social media, and offered a free meal to those hungry students who came out to support soccer
INTERNATIONAL STUDENT NIGHT
With soccer being titled as ‘The World’s Game’, we wanted to invest a night of promotions and fun for our international students. Partnering with multiple international student organizations on campus, we created an ‘International Student Night’ at the beginning of the season. The goal was to get as many international students out to the game as possible. With a specific area set up for the organizations, students came and got a unique experience. Along with free food and drink, these students were able to stand on the field during the game, as well as participate in our halftime promotions.
BRING YOUR COWBELL FOR A PRIZE
The cowbell is one of the most sacred and precious traditions at Mississippi State. With the NCAA rule change now allowing artificial noisemakers at soccer matches, we wanted to educate fans that they could bring their cowbells, and right them for the entirety of the match. To add on to our soccer sticker promotion from last season, we wanted to continue encouraging fans to bring their cowbells. To do so, we simply gave away prizes all season long to fans that brought their bell to the game. By showing their bell to a marketing representative and signing their name, we picked fans each game to win unique prizes throughout the season. This encouragement led to a louder crowd and more rukus environment at our matches.
GOLDEN EGG PHOTO BOOTH
The Golden Egg is one of the most recognizable pieces of hardware when it comes to sports in the state of Mississippi. This year before we battled Ole Miss at home, we set up a photo booth with the Golden Egg. Fans were able to takes photos with the egg prior and during the game, giving them a unique experience to see the trophy up close and personal. As the trophy is rarely on display for the public, this was a great experience for all fans to snag a photo with the Golden Egg.
LIGHTS OUT INTRO
To create a stronger fan experience at The Griss, this year we implemented a new lights out pre-game introduction for our team during the starting lineup. Since this venue does not have a video board, this lights out introduction with computerized 360 degree lights added an exciting introduction to the game for fans and the team.
FRESHMEN TAKE THE GRISS
In an effort to start off the season strong, and create a promotion that would drive crowds for the rest of the year, we aimed to target freshmen through our second-annual “Freshmen Take the Griss” match. The goal of this promotion was to harness the excitement of being on campus for this group, and look to create a social outing experience at volleyball where they can meet other freshman on campus, and hopefully want to continue coming back throughout the season. To drive the freshmen attendance to the match, we designed a maroon t-shirt with the theme “Freshman Take the Griss.” and handed them out to the first 150 freshman that came to the match. Throughout the match, we involved freshmen in all of our games and promotions, and then retargeted those who attended later via Hail State Rewards to encourage them to attend another match.
WHITE OUT GAME & KOOZIE GIVEAWAY + SURPRISE SEC NATION VISIT
A volleyball match on the morning of a night home football gameday is always a challenge to both staff and drive fans to attend. However, we wanted to find unique ways to use that challenge to our advantage. Newell Grissom, our volleyball arena, is located in the middle of campus, adjacent to the football stadium. So, getting the word out about the match was fairly simple, but getting students and fans to leave the tailgating areas and go to the volleyball arena was the challenge. The football team was taking on LSU that night, and we were hosting SEC Nation in the Junction that morning. With the volleyball game set for 11 AM, we knew we needed to get in front of the SEC Nation crowd to publicize our match. In order to make this fun, we created koozies with the volleyball home schedule on them and passed them out to tailgaters and fans throughout the SEC Nation set, and also had our head coach, David McFatrich make surprise visit to speak to the crowd at SEC Nation during a commercial break. This allowed us to cross promote the volleyball match to a captive audience of fans, who were already in the Junction, and encourage them to walk over following SEC Nation. With the football game being designated a white out, we also made our match a white out, in order to carry that theme forward.
BULLY’S KIDS CLUB DAY PAJAMA NIGHT
With our new and improved Bully’s Kids Club, we try to create events that target our Bully’s Kids Club members. With a Friday night match the weekend before Thanksgiving and football out of town, we thought it would a be great time to have the Bully’s Kids Club members come watch a volleyball match. For this event, BKC members were invited to wear their pajamas to the gmae and they would receive a free BKC pillow case while enjoying the Bulldog Volleyball match.
SCHOOL DAY GAME
An annual tradition now, each year we work with local elementary schools to host a Friday afternoon “School Day” match. The school buses the kids to campus, and they are provided with an area outside the venue for them to play in our grass amphitheatre, and enjoy lunch. Once they have eaten, we invite them inside The Griss for the match, and each class was able to take a photo with both our live mascot Jak and mascot bully. With over 400 students in attendance for the game, we stuck to a “Kids Bop” playlist and had the kids dancing throughout the match.
2000’S NIGHT + AIR BRUSHED T-SHIRT GIVEAWAY + GREEK NIGHT
In attempt to create a fun 2000s like atmosphere and drive student to the game, we played all the fan favorite music from that decade, while also giving out t-shirts which had Bulldog Volleyball imprinted on them in what looked like spray paint. This promotion yielded our fourth largest crowd in school history.
NATIONAL CHEESEBURGER DAY
The only way to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day is to give away free cheeseburgers. On this Friday evening match during Bulldog Bash weekend, we gave away over 200 cheeseburgers in celebration of the Holiday.
NATIONAL ICE CREAM CONE DAY
To celebrate “National Ice Cream Cone Day,” we partnered with our on campus dairy store to provide MSU ice cream cones to fans in attendance for the match. This promotion helped yield our second largest crowd of SEC play, 553 total fans as we hosted South Carolina.
BRUNCH WITH THE BULLDOGS: THIRD-ANNUAL “BACON DAY”
For the third year in a row it was time for a Sunday BACON DAY at The Griss! However, this year instead of doing our usual bacon and chocolate fountain, we decided to give this promo more of a brunch feel. So, paired with our 500 pieces of bacon was a special “mockmosa”. The mockmosa consisted of orange juice and sparkling grape juice, and was a huge hit with our fans – leaving no spare bacon or mockmosas after the first 30 minutes!
DOG BONE CLAIM GAME
A fan-favorite promotion, our Dog Bone claim game has become another annual tradition for Bulldog Volleyball. Early on the day of the home match, we hide stress-relief dog bones across the Drill Field, in the center of campus. Each dog-bone has a corresponding number listed on it, so that the individual needs to come to the match and present the dog-bone they found that morning to receive the corresponding prize. Prizes included volleyball t-shirts, Hail State t-shirts, MSU logo volleyballs, and many other assorted prizes. This promotion yielded our third largest crowd of SEC-play, with 543 fans attending.
With the shortened halftime this season, there was not enough time to get contestants on the court, compete, and back off the court in just three minutes. So we remedied the situation by creating volleyball bingo cards that had squares, each with a corresponding occurrence that would happen during a Mississippi State Volleyball match. Key terms included dig, set point, and maroon and white cheer to name a few. The first five fans to turn in a bingo board with 5 in a row went home with a prize. This was done at every home SEC match throughout the season and was a way to allow fans to participate in a promotion and win a prize, without competing on the court.
This year, as another promotion to make up for the shortened halftime, we incorporated “Bulldog 21.” This promotion tied uniquely into our StarkVegas brand campaign and allowed us to have fun with fans, while getting excited for the Bulldogs closing in on a set win. When the Bulldogs would get to 21 points in a set, that meant it was time for Bully to make his way into the crowd, get the crowd engaged and loud, and throw out FREE t-shirts!
VIDEO BOARD ENHANCEMENTS
In our second season with a brand new video board, we focused on utilizing it to its full potential and creating more content to deliver to our fans during home softball games. We developed a full range of videos to be used in situational events throughout games including hype videos for the following situations: First at bat, first trip into the field, opposing mound visits and shutdown videos heading into the final inning and when pitchers are on fire. In addition to these situational hype videos, we utilized this brand new board by creating games that involved the board such as name that movie clip or name that TV show. Lastly, we utilized the board to honor former players upon return and also to highlight any current accomplishments that happened throughout the year such broken records and the National Pro Fastpitch Draft in which we had players drafted.
GET TO KNOW YOUR BULLDOGS
The Mississippi State Softball Team is one of the most outgoing and intriguing teams we have here on campus. Every season, we feature each of the softball student-athletes in a Q&A style video called “Get To Know Your Bulldogs”. In past years, it has been a sponsored video that features one player answering 3-4 questions per video with most of the questions being generic background info that wouldn’t be found in a game program such as favorite food, movie, TV shows and more. This year, we decided to use one of our loyal softball supporters, Reed, as a guest host for our new Q&A show, “Snacktime With Reed”. The concept behind “Snacktime With Reed” was that each girl would sit down with Reed, an 6 year old superfan, and enjoy snacks while Reed asks the hard hitting questions. These questions ranged from “How much can you bench press?” to “What are you going to be for Halloween this year?”. There was push-up contests and dance parties, funny moments and serious moments. All in all, it was a huge success and kept our fans engaged and eager to see who Reed was going to interview next game.
With bringing a camel to a baseball game last season, we wanted to up the ante at softball. Directly behind the softball complex, we set up an entire petting zoo on our practice football field. From chickens and pigs to a Kangaroo and a Zebra, we brought out over 100 animals for fans to meet and greet before the softball game began. Both teams and coaching staffs, as well as TV talent got in on the action and met some of the amazing animals that were hanging out before the game. This created a really unique and fun environment for all fans, and drove one of the largest softball crowds of the year to this specific game.
With emoji’s being a face in the digital landscape, we wanted to combine that with an old school technique of promoting a team. We created a ‘bitmoji’ of every player on the softball team. We then got them printed as magnets that could be torn off player-by-player to create your own lineup on your fridge. With printing 2,500, this season-long promotion helped get our players fun-spirit out in the community for all to see and put up in their homes.
STARKVILLE PARKS & REC DAY
Over the last few years, we have begun to cultivate a great working relationship with the Starkville Parks and Rec Department. The Starkville Parks and Rec Department handles all youth sports organizations throughout the local area and their second largest sport season happens to be softball. Each year we invite the SPAR Softball League to a game late in the season where they take their team and individual pictures before the game on our field. This year, we setup multiple inflatable bounce houses and a snow cone truck to entice the families to stay after taking their pictures in pre-game. On Saturday May 6th, we took on #16 Kentucky in front of the 4th largest crowd of the season, thanks to the Starkville Parks and Rec Softball League who brought over 400 kids and parents out to the ballpark.
VANN GARDEN GNOME
During our preseason marketing meeting with our softball coaches, they expressed that other teams on campus have done a bobblehead giveaway at some point in time and softball has yet to do a bobblehead. We decided to take it one stop further and created the Vann Garden Gnome. If you know Mississippi State Softball, you know that our Head Coach, Vann Stuedeman, is a very colorful character and loves outside the box thinking. We designed the Vann Garden Gnome without her knowing and the result was priceless. Over the last few years, Vann has been known to carry around a championship belt to practices and in the dugout. So obviously we had to include the belt. Not only was she blown away, our fans were blowing up social media looking for any way they could get their hands on this promotional item.
The Mississippi State Softball team has taken a special interest in the fight against ovarian cancer as one of their own is currently fighting. This year all of the mid-week games will serve as an awareness game. The team has a special game day shirts and uniforms which emphasizes the teal which is symbolic of ovarian cancer.
REBRAND OF THE TOURNAMENT
As a “new” joint tournament between Mississippi State and Ole Miss, we wanted to do a complete rebrand of how this tournament looked. From a new logo, to new color schemes and signage, we completely rebranded everything of the tournament. Since it is hosted by two Mississippi universities, we used the state tree and named the tournament “The Magnolia Invitational”. Along with a magnolia theme logo and green colorway, this new rebrand was a soothing classic golf feel that all fans and players fell in love with, and is one that will be around for a long time to come.
On the drive up to Old Waverly Golf Course, we wanted to give that classic golf feel as the players and coaches arrived. Right outside of the main clubhouse, we put up all participating teams flags with their logos to show who all was playing in tournament. This also made for a really cool aesthetic feel when driving up to the course, seeing what all teams would be playing that day.
COURSE & WELCOME SIGNAGE
Using the new rebranded logo and color way, we wanted to make a splash with beautiful and functional signage throughout the course. Three large welcome signs with the logo greeted teams and fans as they arrived to the course, practice facility, and Hole #1. Additionally, there were custom tee markers, hole markers, and range dividers placed throughout the entire 18 holes of Old Waverly. This signage was custom built by a PGA Tour signage professional, who helped us give the tournament that unique and professional feel.
TEAM WELCOME BASKETS
Each team that participated was greeted with a welcome basket from the City of Starkville. This basketball was filled with local goods, snacks, and product from around the Golden Triangle Area. With a welcome note, each basket was left in the team quarters for them to find as they arrived for their four night stay at the course.
In an effort to drive attendance at tennis this season, we decided to continue the success of last year’s unique new food giveaway – which wasn’t quite your standard pizza or taco giveaway. SMORES! We have a large s’mores burner box, which is filled with charcoal and burners to create a “fire” to toast marshmallows. For our s’mores station, we have your standard, graham crackers, chocolate, marshmallows and skewers for all fans to enjoy. Our s’mores station is located on our balcony that looks over the tennis courts, and provides a perfect way to spend an afternoon watching tennis.
Continuing with the fun of our “Sunday S’Mores” promotion, we created a new promotion this year for a Saturday food giveway — SATURDAY SUNDAES! This promotion included an ice cream and toppings bar for fans to enjoy, while enjoying tennis on a nice, warm Saturday.
TOSS IT FOR A TV
For tennis, the 5 minute intermission between doubles and singles matches, leaves marketing only a few minutes to do a quick promo before play starts. In order to drive attendance, and draw up some excitement, we do a “Toss It For a TV” promotion. We’ll take a small ball hopper and place it in the middle of the court, and fans have a chance to throw a numbered tennis ball into the hopper. The key is to throw it in the hopper without a bounce! Fans can pick up a numbered tennis ball at our marketing table upon arrival and can toss during intermission. This is a fun promotion that keeps the fans engaged and coming back to try again for the prize.
As a way to drive students to a game, on the Friday when Spring Break begins, we organized our first-ever “Crawfish Game” at The Pitts. This promotion allowed students to enjoy all you can eat crawfish and the fixings, while supplies lasts, while also being in close proximity to cheer on the team.
PERFECT MATCH / SORORITY HOST GAMES
With the first home match of the season falling the week after Valentine’s Day, and building up on the continued “Bachelor” craze, we continued our “Perfect Match” sorority challenge again this season. We took the team and coaches to each sorority house and delivered roses to the sorority presidents, along with an invite to a match that they were to host. The challenge consisted of an attendance challenge where sorority members needed to sign-in at the marketing table once they arrived at the match. The sorority who had the highest attendance won money towards their philanthropy and dinner at their sorority house with the team.
DOG BONE CLAIM GAME
Continuing a fan-favorite promotion from volleyball and softball, we brought our Dog Bone claim this year to tennis! Early on the day of the home match, we hide stress-relief dog bones across the Drill Field, in the center of campus. Each dog-bone has a corresponding number listed on it, so that the individual needs to come to the match and present the dog-bone they found that morning to receive the corresponding prize.
AROUND THE WORLD T-SHIRT
Since so many of our tennis student-athletes are from other parts of the world we wanted to accentuate that in a giveaway this past season. For our men’s tennis match against Georgia we wanted to giveaway a t-shirt but also wanted to include a little something from each athlete’s home country. So the design for the t-shirt was a maroon shirt with the globe on it and around the globe were the words LET’S GO! Written in each of the athlete’s native language. The t-shirt was a huge hit with fans which led to one of our biggest crowds of the year at a men’s tennis match that season.