As members of the marching band began to play the Temple University fight song and audience members began to sing, Temple pride filled the Gittis Room in the Liacouras Center during the Sports Enthusiasm competition held in late February.
And pride was the ultimate goal as students competed for the best idea to increase attendance at Temple sporting events. The competition for Temple University students was held jointly by the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute and Temple Athletics.
Sponsored by Temple alumnus Lewis Katz, the five finalists received cash prizes ranging from $500 to the $5,000 grand prize.
The finalists presented their ideas for boosting attendance in front of a panel of sports marketing professionals and students who were members of the university pep organization the Cherry Crusade.
All together, the IEI received 170 entries from 14 schools and colleges at Temple. The top six ideas were presented by five students at the event, which also featured Temple cheerleaders, Hooter the owl and members of the Temple band.
In his search for a winner, panelist Kevin Woerner was looking for an idea with long-term possibilities. “The winning idea needs to be feasible,” said Woerner, a business major. “As a freshman, I want to see it develop throughout the rest of my time at Temple.”
The ideas ranged from courses being added to the school curriculum to a student sports lounge at the Howard Gittis Student Center.
“We hope to incorporate elements from all of the ideas to increase attendance,” said Scott Walcoff, assistant athletic director for marketing and promotions.
The winning idea, presented by Tyler student Rachel Eschenbach, was a rewards program called “Earn Your Colors.” Students would register online and then check in at the program table during sporting events to receive a Temple bandanna. This bandanna would earn them discounts and prizes around campus based on the number of games they attended.
“Students will see the rewards the bandanna holders get, and they’ll want to be a part of it,” said Eschenbach. “It will start a movement.”
Finalist Michael Reilly incorporated his own unique perspective as a transfer business student. He targeted first-year and freshman students with a required Temple sports class. “Athletics should be a core part of the college experience,” said Reilly.
Junior Sean Massenberg, also a Fox School student, had the opportunity to present two ideas, one utilizing a sports lounge and a second idea revolving around an advertising campaign in campus eateries. At halftime of the Temple’s men’s game against UNC Charlotte, the winners were presented with oversized checks.
“We hope these ideas will increase support for the Temple Owls,” said Jaine Lucas, director of the IEI. “We want everyone to get involved.”
— Written by Ann E. Acri
For the Fox School of Business