Earlier tonight, a pep band member submitted his name three times to a raffle in the Fox Gittis Room of the Liacouras Center. He won each time.
Attendance was indeed thin at an event intended to help improve just that, attendance at Temple athletics.
“We are very disappointed,” said Jaine Lucas, who coordinated the event, the finals of the Temple’s sports enthusiasm competition. Lucas is director of the university’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute.
At times, less than 30 people, including just a scattering of fans, watched five Temple students present the six top ideas to help further attract fans to the games, matches and meets of NCAA sports at this university.
Rachel Eschenbach, a senior sculpture major, won $5,000 for her plan to create a loyalty rewards program, in which students earn points for attending games that can be redeemed for discounts on campus from participating vendors. She was presented an oversized novelty check at halftime of tonight’s men’s basketball game against Charlotte, which the Owls won 75-61. The other four students who presented were also announced on the Liacouras Center court.
As The Temple News reported last month, this enthusiasm competition was the brainchild of Lewis Katz, a 1963 Temple graduate and current member of the Board of Trustees. He put up $10,000 to award the top six most innovative ideas to boost fan turnout.
“Lew Katz loves sports, and Lew Katz loves Temple,” Lucas said. “So much so that he made a generous donation to help us find ways to increase attendance at Temple sporting events.”
Katz, who has had stakes in the New Jersey Nets, New Jersey Devils and the New York Yankees, couldn’t be in attendance at the event.
By the Feb. 13 deadline, more than 170 entries were submitted.
The top 24 were given to a preliminary panel of judges, which cut them down to the top six ideas that were presented tonight. One student, Sean Massenburg, a junior marketing major, presented two of his proposals, both of which were among the top six.
Massenburg’s proposal to put athletic schedules on cafeteria trays won him $500 and an honorable mention, and he was awarded $1,000 for his suggestion to replace the commuter lounge on the second floor of the Howard Gittis Student Center with a “sports enthusiasm lounge.”
“It’s the living room of Temple,” Massenburg said of the student center.
Second place went to Colin Clancy, a backup quarterback on the Temple football team and an entrepreneurship major in his third year, who suggested creating a university sports promotion class in the marketing department, charging 50 students each semester with increasing attendance in a for-credit, academic environment.
Michael Reilly, a junior actuarial science major, and Todd Putman, an MBA student, both also received $500 and an honorable mention for their pitches. Reilly proposed making a sports enthusiasm 1-credit seminar class for first year students. Putman suggested a swipe card that included a point system similar to Eschenbach’s, though her idea included bandanas to be distributed to students who attend events.
“You could tie them to your backpack,” she told the crowd and panel of judges. “It would start a movement.”
The panel included six professionals with marketing backgrounds and three members of the Cherry Crusade, a group that organizes student fans. The professionals were Dennis Brown, the marketing account manager of corporate sales for the Philadelphia Phillies, Shawn Tilger, senior vice president of business operations for the Philadelphia Flyers, Ed Donovan, founder and principal of EGD Communications, Terry Lefton, editor at large of Street & Smiths Sports Business Journal, Jamie Robinson, founder and managing partner at Alliance Marketing Partners, and Dave Spadara, editor of PhiladelphiaEagles.com, who is also a graduate of Temple.
The Cherry Crusade panel members were Luke P. Butler, a sophomore psychology major and vice president of the group, Amy VanDerhei, an actuarial science, risk management and insurance, and economics major and treasurer of the group, and Kevin Woerner, a freshman journalism major who is a general member of the group.
If, how, or when Eschenbach’s, or other suggested plans to improve attendance, will be implemented was not announced.
Tonight’s men’s game against Charlotte drew a crowd of little more than 4,000, well below the season average of nearly 6,500.
Christopher Wink can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read about the men’s basketball team’s win over Charlotte: “Men’s basketball team stops Goldwire, beats Charlotte”
Read about sophomore Ryan Brooks’ performance against Charlotte: “Building Brooks”
Read about the women’s basketball team’s victory over Saint Louis: “Staley’s squad remains atop A-10 with win over Saint Louis”