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8 Ways to Boost Crowd Engagement at College Sports Events



8 Ways to Boost Crowd Engagement at College Sports Events

In a world of rapidly changing interests and evolving entertainment options, one thing remains constant. It is the sports enthusiasts’ unwavering passion for their favorite teams or athletes.

As per the Sports Fan Insights survey conducted by Deloitte, the commitment of today’s sports enthusiasts is noteworthy. The survey indicates that more than 75% of participants rated their sports fandom at seven or above on a scale of one to ten. 

Furthermore, a remarkable 90% of fans stated that their dedication to their teams has either significantly increased (37%) or stayed unwavering (52%). In this context, college sports events stand as vibrant arenas where this enthusiasm finds its expression.

In this article, we explore the strategies and elements that can transform a routine sports event into an unforgettable experience. 

1. Creating a Pre-game Atmosphere 

A pre-game atmosphere that is simultaneously festive and informative is paramount in elevating the overall experience at college sports events. Live music performances, pep rallies, and spirited tailgating activities infuse an air of celebration, sparking excitement and anticipation among attendees.

But it’s not just about the revelry. It’s also an opportunity to educate and connect. Displays showcasing team history, memorabilia, and achievements honor tradition and enrich the understanding of the sport and the institution. 

Such exhibitions serve as a visual journey through the team’s past. They offer fans a chance to connect with their team on a more personal level.

2. Incorporating Interactive Elements Into the Game Experience

Live polls and trivia contests, conducted via mobile apps or stadium screens, provide fans with a sense of involvement. Additionally, inviting fans to partake in on-field activities during breaks or halftime, such as shooting contests or relay races, creates a memorable connection. 

These interactive features enhance the excitement and empower fans to feel like integral contributors to the overall event.

3. Using Flags and Banners

Harnessing the power of flags and banners at sports events is an exceptional way to infuse a visually engaging and patriotic atmosphere. 

Flags Unlimited notes that encouraging fans to proudly wave flags representing their teams or universities adds a vibrant burst of color. The fluttering flags create a powerful sense of identity, belonging, and camaraderie among fans, turning the stadium into a sea of passionate supporters.

To enhance this experience, universities can consider using American-made flags, supporting local businesses and reinforcing a sense of national pride. Whether it’s the Stars and Stripes or the school’s emblem, these flags symbolize a deep-rooted connection to both the team and the broader community. 

The sight of flags waving fervently in the stands makes the college sports event a memorable and immersive experience for all in attendance.

4. Recognizing and Rewarding Fan Engagement

Offering incentives such as giveaways, concession discounts, or featuring fans on the jumbotron can help organizers show appreciation for the fans’ enthusiasm. These gestures amplify the excitement and cultivate a sense of belonging, encouraging fans to actively participate. 

Feeling recognized, fans are more likely to invest emotionally in the game, nurturing a vibrant atmosphere. In turn, this fan enthusiasm becomes contagious, creating an electrifying energy that permeates the entire stadium.

5. Creating a Sense of Community Among Fans

A sense of community is pivotal in elevating the atmosphere of college sports events. This cohesion is evident in the remarkable transformation of Penn State football, which, in 2004, found its fanbase in a state of stagnation. 

FanNation notes that recognizing the need for change, the program’s branding expert initiated a groundbreaking idea – the Penn State White Out. What started as a simple concept rapidly evolved into a grand spectacle, symbolizing unity among fans and the university. 

Penn State strategically employed various initiatives, from fan clubs to social media groups and alumni associations, to promote the White Out. Students took to classrooms and dining halls, explaining the concept, while interns with bullhorns encouraged fellow students to don white attire. 

The university’s athletic department even produced commercials and utilized mascots to generate excitement. This concerted effort transformed Penn State’s game days into an unparalleled experience, showcasing the power of community-driven initiatives in sports fandom.

6. Partnering With Student Organizations to Promote the Event

Offering free or discounted tickets as incentives not only makes attendance financially feasible for students but also encourages their active participation. This synergy between the university and student organizations not only fills the stands but also infuses the event with youthful energy and school spirit. 

As a result, these partnerships increase attendance and create a lively, engaging environment where students are deeply involved.

7. Using Social Media to Connect With Fans

Leveraging social media as a tool to connect with fans before, during, and after the game is a transformative strategy. It enables universities and teams to build a vibrant online community around the event, cultivating engagement and anticipation. 

Encouraging fans to use event-specific hashtags and share photos and videos of their experiences cultivates excitement and extends the event’s reach beyond the stadium. Fans become active contributors, spreading the enthusiasm to a global audience. 

Moreover, post-game interactions keep the conversation alive, fortifying fan loyalty and maintaining the connection long after the final whistle.

8. Being Responsive to Fan Feedback

Listening to fan feedback is paramount in enhancing the college sports event experience. ASU’s responsiveness to fan concerns serves as a prime example. 

In 2017, a survey by Cronkite News revealed that 71.5 percent of ASU fans were dissatisfied with the overall game day atmosphere. Fast forward five years and ASU has been diligent in addressing these concerns. 

Notably, ASU’s commitment to fan satisfaction is reflected in its average home attendance. In 2022, with 43,787 attendees, it constituted 81% of the stadium’s 53,599 capacity. In 2021, the school ranked 39th overall in attendance among Division I schools, boasting 47,248 fans per game. 

ASU’s proactive approach extends beyond game days. They send surveys to fans after each season to gather insights, emphasizing that fan feedback is an ongoing conversation in the sports event experience.


In today’s changing world, these ideas aren’t just improvements. They’re like magic sparks. They transform college sports events into moments etched in our hearts forever. 

Think of them as the secret ingredients that make games unforgettable. As universities keep finding new ways to excite us, these events don’t just survive. They flourish. This means the special connection between fans, teams, and the whole community stays strong and unbreakable. 

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