July 18, 2015
College football sits atop a pedestal in the south. This is no different at Florida State University. Its long-lasting tradition and school success has always been a draw for diehard football fans on the Tallahassee campus, as well as outside the Florida state boundaries.
Drew Longenecker, Assistant Director of Marketing for the Florida State Athletics Department, searched for a way to spill the popularity of Seminoles football into the other 19 Division 1 sports on campus. After all, success in other sports ought to be celebrated too.
One of the [bonus point games] had the highest attended non football or basketball student crowd in Florida State historyDrew Longenecker, Florida State Athletics
“This program started with the hopes of engaging all Florida State fans a few years ago,” Longenecker told FanMaker. “We morphed it into a student only program last year with the main goal of this program being the central site, program, etc. for all student related objectives with athletics.”
“We wanted to boost our attendance at all 20 of our sports and build awareness through the social marketing channels to boost attendance. We can reward them with prizes and tickets which feeds the program.”
It takes crafty marketing to come up with a clever way to feed the enthusiasm from a nationally loved football program into other sports some hardly knew even existed on campus.
Enter Spear It Rewards days.
FSU and Longenecker had an idea to intersect the FanMaker rewards program’s objectives with that of boosting attendance of other sports on campus by exploiting the football program’s popularity. By using a flexible point system, FSU created Spear It Rewards days for every sport, which offers extra points to a student’s rewards account.
“We have each sport pick one-third of their home games and designate them as Spear It Rewards games,” Longenecker explained. “These are games the head coaches choose as being the most important for them. We increase the point totals for these games and see the biggest return with the increased point values.”
With those bonus points, students are now able to skyrocket up the FSU rewards leaderboard, which helps determine priority for student football tickets.
“We are unique in that we tie our student ticketing through Paciolan through FanMaker,” Longenecker said. “So essentially these students boost their points by attending the other events and engaging with our athletics channels to ultimately football tickets.”
So far, so good. FSU has seen some significant gains in attendance across other sports. According to Longenecker, on Spear It Rewards days, sports have seen a 32 percent increase in student attendance, and sports such as soccer and volleyball are hosting crowds like never before.
Volleyball also had four matches over 1,000 students. Our gym only seats 1,500 so we went well over capacity for multiple matchesDrew Longenecker, Florida State Athletics
“Women’s soccer had four crowds of over 1,000 students, which has never happened here,” Longenecker said. “One of the games had the highest attended non football or basketball student crowd in Florida State history. This dates back to as long as we have been tracking student attendance. Volleyball also had four matches over 1,000 students. Our gym only seats 1,500 so we went well over capacity for multiple matches.”
The success of utilizing a flexible, bonus points day has been rewarding to FSU. With a new school year full of events coming up, Longenecker is ready to ramp things up a bit by adding more bonus points to the system.
“We are going to increase our point totals more this upcoming season and look at potentially making every home game worth more points,” Longenecker said.
I had to go out and get Nike and Coca-Cola on board as sponsors and now the program is growing and people are taking notice. This is year one of this with just the students so I’m happy about that.Drew Longenecker, Florida State Athletics
“The beacons are something we are going to utilize the upcoming season. I’m looking at getting the Tablet kiosk systems that another school got and place them at our venues and bring them to offsite events and sponsors to really build a following and value to the program. I had to go out and get Nike and Coca-Cola on board as sponsors and now the program is growing and people are taking notice. This is year one of this with just the students so I’m happy about that.”