Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Marketing that works: Parents Weekend Patsies

As we know the BC season ticket base is relatively fickle. The big games are always packed, but some lesser opponents keep people at their tailgates or even at home. BC cannot play a murder’s row schedule every year, so how do you increase ticket demand for some of the less desirable games? Easy! You pawn them off on BC parents in town for Parents Weekend.

Although I am cynical about this sort of scheduling, it is brilliant in its execution.

Here is why:

1. Parents don’t care who we play. They are in town to see their kids, see the campus, go out to dinner, and sample the BC experience. They hear about the tailgating. They see BC on TV. Now they get a chance to go to a BC game. They are willing to see any game. So it’s not Notre Dame or Clemson. It’s still BC football. And by playing a patsies, a win is highly likely, which sends them home happy.
2. It also serves as our “good for New England game.” When the postseason restrictions on playing FCS programs (fka DIAA) were eased, Gene introduced the good for New England game. He spun that playing a New England DIAA school helped the regions’ football. Like everyone would be talking about the great BC-UNH rivalry if we just played them once every six years. The reality is that we are just playing fodder like all other programs do now. If every college in New England dropped football, we'd still play a FCS opponent. But the bright side of playing the schools in your backyard is that they will actually buy tickets. If we played North-Central Middle of Nowhere State, their fans wouldn’t come. When we play UMass or Northeastern, the stands are full.

So by increasing demand via BC parents and local fans from other schools, BC has made their annual DIAA game an easy sellout.

If BC were the only school playing this type of game, I’d be disappointed. But we were actually behind the curve. When other schools were playing DIAA programs, we were still filling out home dates with the service academies. (In fact if you look back in the '90s, parents weekend games were often against Temple, Rutgers or Army.) Now patsies are just part of a Parents Weekend tradition like Pops on the Heights. Despite my tone, I am not complaining...I am applauding.


Big Jack Krack said...

Slightly off point, but I just checked the SI - Mandel Top 25, and I think it might be fun this year to come in under the radar for awhile. Whether we agree or not, the pressure of being ranked #2 last year was pretty intense for the team, perhaps.

I think we'll be better than some of these teams currently ranked as the season progresses. I know we have problems, but I think we have some real talent on our team - and we're going to overcome our deficiencies. I'm an optimist and a huge "homer".

One key, of course, is to hope and pray the injuries don't pile up like last year.

Rob said...

No issue here with scheduling the patsies during parents' weekend. You're right, every program plays a coupld clunkers every year, usually early on.

Joe Bags said...

"When we play UMass or Northeastern, the stands are full."

That's easy for you to say down in Atlanta. I'm the one who has to sit among them in the south upper end zone and listen to their recycled barstoolsports.com jokes for 3 hours. Last year's UMass game saw the worst visiting fan behavior at Alumni since BC left the Big East.

Eagle in Brighton said...

Gotta agree with JB:

UMass fans last year were horrendous: like Rutgers/WVU territory.

Eagle in Brighton said...

Still, I agree on principle with the regional whipping boy for 'rents weekend.

Greg said...

My brother went to ND (I know, I know), and I remember that Parents Weekend was always an easy win (I think it was Navy a couple of years, my how times have changed). My parents would joke about the game, but always went and had a great time.

Oh, and as an aside...ND being bad sucks b/c now when I give my bro crap about us winning he just says, "yeah, we suck." Just not as much fun.

theguymoney said...

i disagree with the cupcake parents weekend, the rents don't want to see a garbage game. So Cal's family weekend is ASU. Thats what im talking about.

Willy Mac said...

Eagle, no offense but perhaps the BCAD should focus more on controlling their student section and the demeanor of the environment around the stadium. I went the the BC/Clemson game and it has to be the worst I've ever been treated... and I've been to some really bad places.

Eagle in Brighton said...

Gotta disagree WM: thought the student sections been passionate yet very civil the past two seasons (even in defeat v. GTech two weeks back).

The only season in recent memory where it was an issue was our first in the ACC (Gtech and Clemson bitched a little afterwards).

Beyond that, it's a non-issue.