Demons use new ways to reach out to fans, students

New Year’s day is typically a day of quiet recover, but the DePaul Athletic Department wanted fans in the seats as the men’s team battled number one Syracuse so they employed a new tactic—Groupon.

“New Year’s day we have traditionally not been great days for us to host events, but it just seems like we keep turning up as being put in that position with our Big East schedule so we try to make the best of it and one way to really generate a lot of interest and enthusiasm we’re looking for creative ways to do that,” said Athletic Director Jean Lenti Ponsetto.

The discount site proved to be successful for the Blue Demons first go at it, selling almost 800 discounted tickets through the deal giving the game against the Orange an attendance bump.

“We knew it was a big game, big arena, it’s been awhile since we’ve been able to get over the 10,000 mark in the arena,” said Ponsetto. “So we thought it’s a big game we got coming in lets see if the combination, if all the stars are aligned except for it not being a great date, if we can generate some enthusiasm and get some people to come out.”

The game on Thursday night against Pitt had just over 8,000 in attendance. The attendance on New Year’s day came out to 12,102, a combination of Syracuse have good traveling attendance, a number one Orange team on a tear through the Big East and a Groupon deal.

According to Ponsetto, DePaul isn’t the only team that has tried the site lately.

“It’s just started to become a little bit more popular in college ticket offices. Georgetown and Seton Hall are also using it for a couple of their events,” she said.

The DePaul athletics department will continue their Groupon experiment with the women’s game against Pitt on Saturday and the men’s game against Georgetown on January 17. And Ponsetto thinks the experiment will be a truer test against Georgetown when they won’t blast the deal to people already in the DePaul database.

“We’re looking for a new group of fans. We’re looking to attract the college basketball fan.”

“We’re going to let it go viral on it’s own,” said Ponsetto. “We’re going to let the groupon list do its work.”

Athletics campaign isn’t ending there, though. They want to get the students hyped up—including pizza deliveries by DePaul players

“We’re going to create a little more excitement and energy every week throughout the basketball season especially during the Big East season,” said Ponsetto, “and do more pizza deliveries and I think next week the women’s basketball team is going to do a bagel promotion and be around.”

Some of this school pride seems to already be working. The women’s basketball team sold out their game against UConn on Jan. 21. Ponsetto went on to say that student support for the women’s teams against UConn, Marquette and Notre Dame has always been really high.

“We’ve had a history of sellouts with those three programs in particular,” she said.

The Athletic Department will continue its efforts both on and off campus to garner high energy sport to fuel a high energy season.

“We’re just looking for creative ways to create awareness to let students in particular that we have a really fun and exciting product in men’s and women’s basketball,” said Ponsetto. “We’d like to develop some school pride and school affinity around those programs.”