Go! Fight! Win! The traditional fight song that resounds through the stadiums, courts and gyms remains in the ears of students, fans and spectators long after leaving the game. So, why does this cheer seem to be so faint in the majority of sports at Fairfield University?
Fairfield University is a small liberal arts college composed of approximately 3,500 undergraduates, and when compared to the likes of mountainous student bodies like the Penn States of the country, the contrast in numbers certainly contributes to this depletion of attendance. With major successful Division I sports such as basketball, soccer, baseball and lacrosse, why do only a handful of students attend these games?
When it comes to Men’s Basketball, there has been a resurgence of fans attending games. Students have rallied around the basketball team’s success particularly due to the support of the “Stags In the Stands.” The founders are students who have instilled a significant amount of hype for every game through Youtube videos, Facebook events and promotions.
The Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard can fit over 9,000 people in its stands, so there is plenty of room for supporters, but even if every student attended the game, only a little over a third of the stadium would be filled. This calls into question, who is expected to be filling those seats? Furthermore, how do we get them there?
One Fairfield University student, Jay Fischer ’13, says, “Going to the games is a great time, but getting there and back can be a hassle.”
The Stags in the Stands are always very accommodating; there is always a bus or two that takes students to the games in Bridgeport. Although Webster Bank Arena is only a ten-minute ride down I-95, it would be even more convenient for students to attend and show their school spirit if all games were played on campus.
Claire Tully, a recent graduate of Fairfield University and employee of the Fairfield University Athletics Marketing Department, said: “I think that knowledge of a team brings people out to games. Yes, free give-aways also attract people, but I think when people know about the team, the players, and their season they are more inclined to go to a game. I think we have a great system that helps get the word out there about our teams, and I am really confident that in seasons to come, it will continue to get better.”
Trying to rally students to attend big games is something every school attempts to do. At Fairfield it seems like a struggle to get students out of their dorms or townhouses, but things seem to be turning around. With such incentive programs like raffles, free T-shirts, and free bus rides to the stadium and back, Fairfield is doing all they can to gain support.
With Men’s Basketball generating the most attention and overall revenue for Fairfield, most students and faculty forget there are games outside of hoops. Fairfield sponsors nineteen other varsity sports including baseball, men’s and women’s crew, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, men’s and women’s tennis and women’s volleyball. Due to the connotation of the majority of these sports as generally less popular, it makes attendance at those events rather poor.
Fairfield’s increased support in sports like basketball should be used as an example of how, through the help of one or two students’ initiative, the momentum of a school’s spirit can shift for any sport. Fairfield students should recognize the potential excitement of the 19 other sports as a distinct possibility for school spirit and should translate and disperse through more support and attendance.
Fairfield should target the staff members, community and alumni by offering free or discounted tickets to promote more attendance and communal support of the teams and school. By generating more involvement from a wider range of ages, Fairfield County would be encouraged to have a team to endorse – especially since Connecticut is not home to any professional sports teams.
Furthermore, our suggestions would generate more interest from teens to Fairfield University and with their parents’ involvement and participation. Their witness of Fairfield’s pristine reputation would make Fairfield a clear factor in their college decision. Therefore, with the added attendance of staff members, the community, alumni, and the further support of the students of Fairfield University, the Stag spirit would significantly be increased!