EDITORIAL: Rutgers heats up its football games
Hot tubs in student section may be intelligent marketing strategy
As another academic year begins, students are trying to transition from the relaxation of summertime to the hustle and bustle of college life. And while it may be difficult for most to find the motivation to start off the semester strong, one asset of Rutgers life has already hit the ground running — Rutgers football.
With last season ending with a 2-10 score and the attendance from student fans pandering, the potential turnout for this year’s games was looking bleak. And with a season-opener on the Friday night of Labor Day weekend, it did not seem as though the chances of a large audience were getting any higher.
But Rutgers football thought on its toes and created the “War Before the Shore” promotion. It is a tradition for many to take a trip to the Jersey Shore for Labor Day weekend, and so this promotion attempted to convince students and fans to watch the game before their trip. Not only were boats placed within the stadiums for students to sit in and watch the game from, but the stadium also featured hot tubs in the student section.
At first the idea of hot tubs may have seemed unorthodox (and possibly even unsanitary and dangerous), but if its implementation was meant to cause an influx of student attendance at the season-opener, then it did its job. Students and fans tweeted pictures of them sitting in the hot tubs and enjoying the game, and based upon these pictures, the turnout for the game was particularly impressive, especially for the date and time. Plus, the concern of safety was already taken care of by the University, as there was a lifeguard on duty at all times of use. And as for sanitation, the hot tubs were not just a “free-for-all.” Students had the chance to win the seats. This controlled the number of students that were able to sit in the hot tubs and also even created a bigger buzz around the game. Enticing people with the chance to win something — especially something as luxurious as a seat in a hot tub while watching a college football game —usually does the trick.
It is not uncommon for Rutgers football to be scrutinized for its spending habits, and it is not far-fetched to say that some people may view Rutgers' decision to include hot tubs and boats for students as “excessive” and “unnecessary,” but the “War on the Shore” promotion brought the organization a lot of attention, and almost none of it was negative. This is not just good publicity for the Rutgers football team itself, but the University as a whole as well. When prospective students look up Rutgers and consider it as their future school, seeing the fact that it has gone above and beyond to create an exciting and unique experience for their students can definitely provide the push toward Rutgers that those students need.
With a new year comes new beginnings, and although Rutgers did not win its season-opener against the University of Washington’s Washington Huskies, it did put up a pretty good fight. The buzz that the University was able to create is a positive indicator of what is to come in the following season. And even though the hot tubs and boats are all temporary, its effects are not. If Rutgers continues to create promotional ideas as well as this one, then there might not ever be another problem regarding student attendance at games again. And perhaps the positive energy from larger crowds will serve as a greater motivation for the team as well.