It’s all about revenue, right? Revenue doesn’t just happen, it takes planning and hard work. It takes investing, except investing is risky… unless you know your ROI, which is why I want to talk about your ROI from investing in your student section.
Here are the 4 (R)eason’s to invest in your student section.
Recruiting is vital to the health of a university. The unique advantage of a student section is that it directly impacts recruiting for both enrollment and athletics.
Enrollment: Many students come out of a spirited high school experience expecting college to be the same. Unfortunately at many schools, as soon as freshman witness and experience an apathetic culture, that passion is extinguished. However, schools with robust student sections attract high school prospects and get them involved immediately as freshman.
Athletics: Every athlete wants to showcase their hard work. If your stands are empty, athletes won't feel the support. If your stands are packed, they will be excited to play in front of everyone. Better recruits = more winning.
Getting students and athletes to your school is one thing, keeping them is a different beast. How does your student section play into this? Emotional attachment, bigger ties, friendship, fun events, community… all the key triggers why students either leave or stay at a school. If athletes don’t receive that support, you run the risk of them transferring. If athletes do receive that support, they dive in and plug into the community, maybe even staying for a fifth year of eligibility.
How much is brand awareness worth to you? I lost count of the articles and stories done on the Havocs, but I know Barstool Sports recently posted an Instagram video with around 4 million views. 1 video. 4 million views. An invested and rowdy student section draws attention. Not only will sponsors and media take interest, but it leaves a huge digital footprint as well. Hundreds or thousands of students posting, tagging and hashtagging your brand. Each of those students has a unique following, so you can see how the reach becomes exponential. Nothing better than free PR and marketing. If you feel far away from getting recognized, let me share a personal story.
I wrote this in 2014 before the Havocs got much attention but I had a dream, a goal and a plan:
Fast forward to now, it happened. And this type of attention can happen to your school. It simply takes a dream, a goal and a plan. If you google GCU Havocs this is what comes up:
What is the benefit of recruiting? Revenue.
What is the benefit of retention? Revenue.
What is the benefit of recognition? Revenue.
What are all the ways your student section drives revenue? Better recruits, more winning, enrollment tuition, tuition retention, media deals, ticket sales, concession sales, sponsorship opportunities, merchandising sales, membership sales, season ticket sales, general admission sales, community engagement (sales), generous boosters (donations). How? The student section makes or breaks the collegiate environment. If the students are excited, everyone else is excited. If the students are apathetic, everyone else is apathetic.
Gone are the days of viewing the student section as a club that demands more pizza and t-shirts. Welcome to the new-age student section, a robust well-oiled machine that drives revenue in all areas. I’m sure none of this is new, but hopefully this gives you a crystal clear picture of why investing in your students is powerful and brings a monetary return, because it’s all about revenue, right?
To your success! -- Brandon