The NFL has an idea to boost attendance, and it involves cheerleaders
The NFL, America's biggest money-making behemoth this side of the Avengers films - doesn't have much trouble making a buck these days.... on television. Not when networks are begging for the opportunity to pay north of $100 million to broadcast a single game. As for getting fans to actually show up and watch the games in person, though, that's where the league is beginning to run into trouble.
The NFL product on television has become almost too good. When a 72-inch, high definition view of the game, with unlimited beer and pizza and fully-serviced phone or laptop ready to deliver fantasy statistics comes at a fraction of the price of actually driving an hour-plus to the game, dropping hundreds of dollars on parking and concessions on top of the ticket cost, and missing out on a day of fantasy scores and other action from around the league, it's an easy choice for most fans. The La-Z-Boy wins every time.
Boosting in stadium Wi-Fi is great, but the live experience has to offer something exclusive to get the average fan off his couch. College football has the band, the student section and a tradition of pageantry, and the NFL has... cheerleaders.
According to Sports Business Journal, the NFL has partnered with app developer Experience to, you guessed it, enhance the in-stadium experience at games. The Atlanta Falcons used the service last year, offering it to 3,000 season ticket holders. It worked as a link within an official team app, and it offers a set of experiences fans can purchase throughout the stadium.
“Anything from pregame on-field, to a birthday message, to cheerleader visits, to mascot visits, to the fly-by pass, which is a dedicated lane where you don’t wait to get into the stadium,” Falcons chief marketing officer Jim Smith, the Falcons’ told SBJ. “All the experiential things sold out within the first four hours they were made available.”
The team says they sold an average of 800 experiences per game.
Experience expects half the league to sign up for the 2014 season. Teams can customize experiences they would like to offer. For instance, the Seattle Seahawks sold the opportunity to attend Pete Carroll's post-game press conference or kick field goals on the field after the game.
Seventy-two ways to improve your program this spring
We've previously touched on 15 ways to improve your life and your career this spring, and now coaching blogger Chris Fore has offered 72 more ways to make your program better this spring. We've posted his work before - 99 questions to ask before taking your next head coaching position and 10 things to consider before taking a new job - and this is another good reference point for all coaches.
This list is geared toward high school coaches, but there's plenty here for coaches of any level.
FootballScoop reports record 1st quarter viewership
Calendar 2013 was an absolute record year for FootballScoop with 30% growth in unique visitors over what had been a record year in 2012. Well, today I'm happy to share that the site is growing even faster in 2014...
I'm very proud to report that FootballScoop saw unique visitors to the site grow 36% in the month of March (over March 2013) and 56% for the 1st quarter (over 1Q 2013). Further, since last March, we have added over 20,000 followers on Twitter and now have over 56,000 followers on that platform.
Over these past three months we have had just under 1 million total unique visitors come to the site and have averaged about 120,000 average weekly unique visitors. Those 120,000 unique visitors visited the site nearly 500,000 times each week.
Over the next few months we will continue to introduce new features and will introduce you to new products that we believe in and think you will benefit from. Stay tuned for a number of announcements...
We attribute our success to focusing entirely on helping the coaching profession. While we don't always take the immediate opportunity to thank everyone who sends information in to The Scoop, we certainly do appreciate it and would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every coach out there who sends us information. We simply could not do this without all of you and we sincerely thank you.
Below is a screenshot of our twitter analytics profile.
The players will love this high school video
If you're a high school football coach, you know how the story goes. Some programs have more advantages than others. And Reagan High School, like many in Austin (Texas) ISD, falls firmly in the "others" category. The Raiders went 1-8 last season, but it wasn't for a lack of effort. Head coach Keith Carey and his staff wouldn't have gone to the trouble of producing the video below if they didn't care.
That's why the Reagan players will absolutely love this video. At first glance, I actually thought Reagan kicked tail up and down the field last season. That's how the players will feel, too. It's not the truth, as they know, but it's not how the video makes you feel, and that's all that matters.
Put it this way, ESPN isn't beating down the door to show a Reagan game any time soon. This is the closest to the big time these players will ever get, which is why the work of Carey and his staff is so important.
Those baby blue and red uniforms look pretty darn good as well.
'When you make yourself better individually, this team gets better'
Texas Tech is a growing program under head coach Kliff Kingsbury, and all growing things tend to take two steps forward before they take one step backward. Like how the Red Raiders started last season with seven straight wins, followed by five straight losses, and then another step forward with an emphatic 37-23 upset of then-No. 14 Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl.
With an entire off-season ahead of them, the Red Raiders hope to take three steps forward before entering Season 2 under the new regime.
Here's a nice look at how Texas Tech has worked in off-season workouts.
Dude Perfect - Final Four Trick Shots
Photo: Akron has some new shiny, gold helmets
There's a new trend going around college football and, in the right light, it could blind you. A whole host of teams have introduced chrome helmets, which I have dubbed as oversized Christmas ornaments. We've seen them pop up at Florida Atlantic, Notre Dame, Washington and Baylor, to name a few. Astute readers will not that gold seems to be the most popular choice for chrome helmets, and now gold-lid wearing Akron has entered the mix.
This photo below showcases two separate gold helmets, one with a gold facemask, one with blue, as well as a new jersey. The Zips wore Adidas last season, but will apparently move to the updated jersey template with hash marks across the chest (which appear prominently in Tennessee and Texas A&M's gray jerseys).
One final note: Can you name another college football team with using the lead initial from its nickname "Z" instead of school name "A" as a helmet decal?
More programs should borrow this idea from Texas Tech
How do you get your players to treat a scrimmage like a game? By getting your fan base to treat a scrimmage like a game. And how do you do that? By moving it 120 miles off campus.
On Saturday, Texas Tech's football program packed up and left Lubbock for the roughly two-hour drive south to Midland, where more than 10,000 red-and-black supporters showed up to fill the local high school stadium. More than just a practice, this was an event, complete with the appearance of the Masked Rider and tailgaters. If you didn't know any better, you'd think it was a fall Saturday.
Saturday's scrimmage was a break of the spring ball monotony, a gesture of goodwill for Tech's Midland fan base and, most importantly, a wonderful day of brand management.
“Tech could do this all day in Lubbock,” said Texas Tech graduate Tim Culp told the Midland Reporter-Telegram. “But it’s a huge benefit to the Permian Basin and not just Midland and Odessa, but to Monahans, Andrews and Big Spring, and it draws a lot from the rest of the Permian Basin.”
For a school looking to establish itself as the state school of West Texas, the Red Raiders would be wise to hold similar days in important West Texas cities like Amarillo, Abilene and San Angelo.
And why shouldn't more programs do this? College football is a wonderful sport with a strange schedule. Thirteen games (if you're lucky) and nine months of off-season means passionate fan bases spend more than 90 percent of the calendar separated from the teams they love.
If Texas Tech can get 10,000 fans to watch practice in Midland, how many would show up to watch, say, Ole Miss in Memphis? Or Wisconsin in Milwaukee? Miami does a swell job of barnstorming its spring practices around south Florida but, outside of that, college football is missing a chance to sell itself to a willing audience.