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  1. #1
    Supporting Member IndyTreeFan's Avatar
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    How does ISU football move the needle?


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    Jason asked that question over on the basketball forum. And yes, we've discussed it before. But never coming into a season in which we are expected to be good. Quite good, actually. So this year is a bit different.

    So what do you all think? How does ISU football become a thing, rather than an afterthought?

    The floor is open...

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    Supporting Member IndyTreeFan's Avatar
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    Well alrighty then...

    I guess a good place to start would be to maintain high quality over a span of years, rather than have the odd winning season breaking streaks of losing seasons. Winning cures all ills. That's fairly consistent through all sports.

    Perhaps play up the wonderful atmosphere of our tailgating area. We really do have a great setup there, and I think they should make hay with that. It's a great facility for fans and tailgating. However, we've got to get the tailgaters into the game. That's a whole different issue.

    What y'all got?

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    Quote Originally Posted by IndyTreeFan View Post
    Well alrighty then...

    I guess a good place to start would be to maintain high quality over a span of years, rather than have the odd winning season breaking streaks of losing seasons. Winning cures all ills. That's fairly consistent through all sports.

    Perhaps play up the wonderful atmosphere of our tailgating area. We really do have a great setup there, and I think they should make hay with that. It's a great facility for fans and tailgating. However, we've got to get the tailgaters into the game. That's a whole different issue.

    What y'all got?
    A new, on-campus, state-of-the-art stadium with all the bells and whistles.

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  6. #4
    Supporting Member SycamoreStateofMind's Avatar
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    +1 on at least a vision & or plan for a new stadium...

    Iíve been guilty of this in the past myself - so pot calling the kettle black here but I think it starts with everyone realizing were all in this together. A lot of people lately want to pit one program vs. another peogram as if thatís supposed to be some slam. At this level all programs are going to go through ups and downs - football and other sports have certainly experienced both. Bashing one program while supporting another program really does more harm than good.

    I was remain really disappointed with the decisions surrounding tailgating, The Walk and Homecoming Tent City. I donít think any of these decisions did anything to help move the needle. If anything - they hurt that effort. I really have considered not renewing my football season tickets because of these decisions - my passion for Indiana State will likely win out.

    But beyond that - I donít have many more suggestions that havenít already been discussed. LONG way to go.
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    The University has got to get the message out to the public that Indiana State University Plays Division I Sports!!!!!!!

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  9. #6
    Administrator Jason Svoboda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IndyTreeFan View Post
    Well alrighty then...

    I guess a good place to start would be to maintain high quality over a span of years, rather than have the odd winning season breaking streaks of losing seasons. Winning cures all ills. That's fairly consistent through all sports.

    Perhaps play up the wonderful atmosphere of our tailgating area. We really do have a great setup there, and I think they should make hay with that. It's a great facility for fans and tailgating. However, we've got to get the tailgaters into the game. That's a whole different issue.

    What y'all got?
    I don't think winning solves it anymore. College sports attendance has been down year over year and even juggernauts like Alabama have issues with keeping fans in the stadium. Before framing this, we probably need to first determine what we'd think would be considered successful? Just to set some numerical basis, here are some 2018 numbers:

    FBS Avg Home: 41,509 in 815 games. It was down -277,424 clicks from 2017, or -599 change in avg.
    FCS Avg Home: 7,330 in 654 games. It was down -329,773 clicks from 2017, or -468 in avg.
    MVFC Attendance: 9,864 in 61 games and down -833 in avg from 2017.

    The plus was State did have some growth:

    State Attendance: 28,287 in 5 games for an avg of 5,657. In 2017, we had 22,444 for a 4,489 avg.

    Now, the NCAA doesn't provide this for FCS, but they have a section that shows the largest avg attendance increase from previous year. It may make sense to study some of the smaller FBS schools on that list to see if you can find out why, how, etc. The best comparative school I found was UL-Monroe that went from 10k to 14k/game in 2018 -- 8th best in FBS. Monroe has a sub 50k population, they play in what is typically considered the lowest FBS conference and they went into 2018 off of a 5-7 season.

    If I'm someone that works at Indiana State, I think I may make a call to their sports folks and inquire.
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  11. #7
    Supporting Member SycamoreStateofMind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Svoboda View Post
    I don't think winning solves it anymore. College sports attendance has been down year over year and even juggernauts like Alabama have issues with keeping fans in the stadium. Before framing this, we probably need to first determine what we'd think would be considered successful? Just to set some numerical basis, here are some 2018 numbers:

    FBS Avg Home: 41,509 in 815 games. It was down -277,424 clicks from 2017, or -599 change in avg.
    FCS Avg Home: 7,330 in 654 games. It was down -329,773 clicks from 2017, or -468 in avg.
    MVFC Attendance: 9,864 in 61 games and down -833 in avg from 2017.

    The plus was State did have some growth:

    State Attendance: 28,287 in 5 games for an avg of 5,657. In 2017, we had 22,444 for a 4,489 avg.

    Now, the NCAA doesn't provide this for FCS, but they have a section that shows the largest avg attendance increase from previous year. It may make sense to study some of the smaller FBS schools on that list to see if you can find out why, how, etc. The best comparative school I found was UL-Monroe that went from 10k to 14k/game in 2018 -- 8th best in FBS. Monroe has a sub 50k population, they play in what is typically considered the lowest FBS conference and they went into 2018 off of a 5-7 season.

    If I'm someone that works at Indiana State, I think I may make a call to their sports folks and inquire.
    Free craw-fish boil prior to every game! You can go ahead and count me in. Craw-fish and beer. Yes please.
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  12. #8
    Supporting Member IndyTreeFan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Svoboda View Post
    I don't think winning solves it anymore. College sports attendance has been down year over year and even juggernauts like Alabama have issues with keeping fans in the stadium. Before framing this, we probably need to first determine what we'd think would be considered successful? Just to set some numerical basis, here are some 2018 numbers:

    FBS Avg Home: 41,509 in 815 games. It was down -277,424 clicks from 2017, or -599 change in avg.
    FCS Avg Home: 7,330 in 654 games. It was down -329,773 clicks from 2017, or -468 in avg.
    MVFC Attendance: 9,864 in 61 games and down -833 in avg from 2017.

    The plus was State did have some growth:

    State Attendance: 28,287 in 5 games for an avg of 5,657. In 2017, we had 22,444 for a 4,489 avg.

    Now, the NCAA doesn't provide this for FCS, but they have a section that shows the largest avg attendance increase from previous year. It may make sense to study some of the smaller FBS schools on that list to see if you can find out why, how, etc. The best comparative school I found was UL-Monroe that went from 10k to 14k/game in 2018 -- 8th best in FBS. Monroe has a sub 50k population, they play in what is typically considered the lowest FBS conference and they went into 2018 off of a 5-7 season.

    If I'm someone that works at Indiana State, I think I may make a call to their sports folks and inquire.
    I don't think you can totally discount the "winning factor," though. No, it alone, is not going to get us an average of 12,000 fans per game. But it's going to be easier to attract 8,000 or 9,000, or even 10,000 a game if the team is a consistent winner. Nothing will help if our "normal" remains 4-7. But put a serious winner on the field for several years, and attendance will go up, and it will be easier to get people interested.

    I don't know what you do to get a generation of people who live on their screens to show up to anything in person. (I say as I type this on a screen...) Society has become so disconnected that anything that could bring people together is almost laughed at by those who are living in their virtual world. I don't get it. Maybe we should have a contest that if you Tweet the most pictures from ISU athletic events this school year, you'll win free tuition or a car or something. But the attention span of said people is too short to do that. They'll lose interest...

    I'd be really interested in what UL-Monroe did. Anyone with any insight on that?

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  14. #9
    Administrator Jason Svoboda's Avatar
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    Right, I was just saying that it won't be just winning that will get it done. In thinking about this some more, I think it may make sense to set a goal and then attack it by groups. If our average was 5,600 and the MVFC average is just under 10k having freaks like NDSU and SDSU in the conference, I'd say 7500-8000 is the mark I think we should set and aim for.

    Then what you could do is split that up and aim to hit goal numbers by specific group type like:

    1) Current Season Ticket Holders - First and foremost, you bend over backwards to retain 100% of your season ticket base. The hardest thing to do is to get leads and make a sale, so you dare not push away those you've already got in the fold.

    2) Current Students - I believe the last enrollment numbers I saw we had just under 10k undergrads. Shoot for a goal of 5-10% of that total to attend games.

    2) Current Faculty and Staff - I don't know the current numbers here, but I'd venture a guess between 1000-1500. Shoot for a goal of 5-10% of that. This number should be folks not included in season ticket holders or there working in an official capacity.

    3) Local Alumni - Again, don't know current numbers but I know there are thousands of local alumni within 1.5-2 hours of Terre Haute. Shoot for a goal of 5% of that number.

    4) Local Sponsors - I'd say they actually do this decently by having a bigger sponsor for most games -- ie Ford, Pepsi, etc. The one complaint I do have is they put them on the other side of the field which does nothing for filling in the crowd or noise.

    5) Local special interest groups - I'd say they do this decently as well as they usually have someone to showcase at games -- local youth football, charities, etc.

    6) Friends and family of current players - This one is low hanging fruit of sorts, but one that players can help with themselves. When you also have a roster of kids from the immediate area, this number should be fairly significant. For example, I remember a couple years back the McCoy family bringing half of Greenwood to a game.

    7) Former players - Obviously a subsection of other categories, but something that should be focused on nonetheless. It usually feels like you only get these guys twice a year -- opening game or Homecoming.

    8) Opposing fan bases - This is why I've been adamant about scheduling as local as possible, but I think our non-con should include EIU every year and if we're going to play a lower level school, make it Butler, Valpo or someone within a couple hour drive to capitalize on their traveling fans. When we've played Butler in the past, they've brought quite a few folks up the road from Indy.

    999) General Terre Haute Population - Probably the toughest sell so they literally should be the last group focused on.

    I know I'm missing a couple other groups I thought of when I was brainstorming, but that is what getting old does. If you can think of other groups, throw them up.
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  16. #10
    Supporting Member BrokerZ's Avatar
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    I'll admit that I'm a casual college football fan. I like the game and love the NFL, but college football has never meant much to me other than passive entertainment. That's primarily because I've never had a team I emotionally care about actually succeed. So, for me, I'll admit that winning and winning consistently is what will move the needle with ISU football. A few barely-over-.500 seasons just doesn't do it for me.

    Now, I'm excited about this season because I think we actually can and will win, and my passive (maybe call it bandwagon) fandom will come out of hibernation. I'm still going to need the same experience next year and the years to come afterward to really get me invested; otherwise, I'll kind of come and go with football as I always have.

    I also understand that the needle is different for those in and around Indiana and Terre Haute. For me as a long-distance fan, to really get excited I need to see a winner on the field more often than not.

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