Kyle Bruderer, Staff Writer, @BrudKyle
The fan base of sports here at Utah Valley University is on the rise after a great year for the men’s basketball program and a cross country conference championship.
There was even a small group of UVU students that traveled to the Western Athletic Conference tournament in Las Vegas. There are, however, a staggering number of empty seats when it comes to athletic events. The Athletic Department has a plan to fill those seats, which has been set in motion by hiring Preston Darger as the new director of athletics marketing.
“I saw a lot of potential here for me and for the department. I am pumped,” Darger said.
After years of studying the art of advertising and marketing at Brigham Young University, Darger wants to make going to games a fun experience, whether or not the attendees have a deep passion for the sport that they’re coming to watch.
“The game atmosphere is going to change a lot,” Darger said. “It will be much more of a party with loud music, flashing lights and better use of the new video board.”
If you have been to an athletic event at UVU, you’ve probably seen a small group of fans dressed in wild wolverine-green attire that is beyond enthusiastic. That group is the core of the student section called the Mighty Athletic Wolverine League, which Darger is planning on working with closely to improve the fan experience and truly create home-court advantage for the teams as well.
“The MAWL is a great organization that I feel was underutilized last year,” he said. “We want old people at the game, but they’re not the ones who create the home-court advantage.”
Getting more students and fans to games is going to be a process and will take some time, but that challenge is one that Darger is very excited about. He believes that the most effective way to fill seats is not by posting flyers on campus or online invitations.
“The best marketing is old-fashioned personal invitations by student athletes,” he said. “I could run the best campaign in the world, but personal invitations from players while wearing their jerseys would still be better.”
There’s a lot of excitement in the soccer community because of the World Cup having taken place this year, and UVU is set for its inaugural season of men’s soccer. The green and white game will take place Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m., so if you’re a fan of sports or just having a good time, get out to Clyde Field.