Going Coast to Coast

In the last ten years, the Bronco brand has continued to grow. Little known outside of Idaho prior to this decade, the success of the football team and great marketing has increased popularity of the brand. Now, legions of fans all over the country profess themselves to be Bronco fans, even though most never lived in Boise nor went to school at Boise State.

Since January 1, 2007 millions of Americans have become fans of the Boise State Broncos. You can call them bandwagon fans, you can call them champions of the little guy, or you can just call them Bronco fans. Regardless, it means people cheering for the team the plays on the funky blue field and it means "eyeballs" watching them every time they play a game on TV.

Other teams have had their success in the past and gained fans in the process. Notre Dame had huge successes in the 40's and again in the 60's and 70's, this built up multiple generations of Notre Dame fans, many, of course, who never attended the school. Miami's run in the 80's and the 90's created another whole set of fans for Miami around the country just because they were winners. Many of these fans still cheer for their adopted team today even though they are no longer in power. Pause for a moment and think about what a casual Boise State fan sees and hears about the Broncos. Maybe they watch "Sports Center" on ESPN and catch a highlight or two. When Boise State games are on national TV, these fans watch; but what do they remember? They remember the beat-down Boise State gave to Oregon, they remember trick plays in the two Fiesta Bowls… and if you ask them if they will watch Boise State when they are playing Virginia Tech… The answer is, "You bet, I wouldn't miss Boise State!"

Perhaps for some of these fans Boise State isn't their number one team, but they are still Boise State fans. I got married last year and many of my wife's friends and relatives are from Minnesota and Wisconsin and they are fans of those two schools (one or the other, never both schools). What did they do when they came to Boise for the wedding? Some visited Bronco Stadium and walked on the blue turf before our wedding, the day Boise State played Fresno State in Fresno. Others went to Bronco Stadium after our wedding before they went to the airport. It might not have been a priority for them, but it meant something to them to walk out on that blue field. My mother in-law still brings it up when she comes to visit, how neat she thought it was to walk out on that field.

My brother in-law grew up cheering for Wisconsin during some of the best years the Badgers have had. He now proudly wears a bright orange sweatshirt during the cold Duluth winters. I'm sure he has Badger gear too, but he loves his Bronco hoodie. Even my brother, a UofI grad, admits that when the Broncos are playing teams like Oregon and Oklahoma he cheers for the Blue and Orange!

A few other interesting facts about Broncos fans around the country. Bronco Stock has been purchased by people in 37 states, Ontario, Canada and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Boise State viewing parties happen all over the country. Last January, for the Fiesta Bowl, parties were held in Seattle, Portland, and Washington D.C. Other websites show Bronco viewing parties in Texas, Virginia, Georgia and Colorado.

Based on several recent ESPN polls, we know that Boise State at least has people's attention—whether or not they focus on it might be harder to determine. More than half the country likes Boise State's blue turf. Several other polls show the nation is highly interested in Boise State. Some college football fans out there might even hate Boise State, but they are still going to watch. Think of the team you hate the most and how you love finding them on TV so you can watch them get beat.

The more fans that support the Broncos the better off the Broncos and Boise State University will be. More fans means more revenues in ticket sales both home and away, in sales of Blue and Orange fan gear, and in increased donations to the school. It also means more people will want to come to Boise State University to get their education. For all those high school kids around the country considering what school to play football for, they and all their friends and relatives will know Boise State.

So to all the fans out there that haven't spent decades watching Boise State play, welcome! And to all the fans that have always bled Blue and Orange, thank you! Go Broncos!


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