Indiana University athletic director Fred Glass met with members of the Indiana media Monday afternoon to talk about all the new Game Day experiences that will be in store for IU fans this year.
Here is the press release put out by the university with all of Glass’s remarks about the changes.
Indiana University Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Fred Glass today announced another series of initiatives designed to greatly enhance the gameday experience of IU football fans at Memorial Stadium.
"While I believe we have made great progress in improving the gameday football experience for our fans in and around Memorial Stadium, this is no time to rest on our laurels," said Glass. "We hope that these new initiatives will continue to improve the experience for our fans as well as continue to improve attendance at Memorial Stadium."
After increasing 32 percent during his first year as athletic director from a per game average of 23,667 to 41,833 (the third largest percentage increase in average attendance in the country and the then highest average since 1991), football attendance has continued to expand, attracting an average of 44,353 last year (despite having eight home games), the second highest average since 1991 (2012 being the best at 44,802).
IU season ticket sales remain strong in an environment where many schools are seeing a significant decrease in total season ticket sales. IU's general public season ticket sales are in line with last year and large walkup crowds are expected.
Gameday experience initiatives in and around Memorial Stadium will include:
Ribbon Board: A large "ribbon board" on the façade of the north end zone to provide more in-game information and entertainment for our fans. The ribbon board is 200 feet long and three feet tall and is valued at $300,000. Approximately half of it was paid for by IU Athletics' media rights partner, Learfield Sports, as part of its contract with IU Athletics.
"Purple Lot" Improvements: Thanks to President Michael McRobbie and his continuing commitment to enhance gateways to the University, this summer the University dramatically improved the old gravel "Purple Lot" parking area northwest of Memorial Stadium. The project not only paved the lot and increased the number of parking places by 50% from 1,200 to 1,850, but also created eight acres of grass greenscape which will add 730 new trees to be planted this fall. The lot also boasts 22 new flag poles. The total cost of this project was $6.8 million paid for by the University.
Engagement by Ushers and Event Staff: To help make sure our fans have the best experience possible, our ushers and event staff will wear large buttons saying "Ask Me. I'm Here to Help". Fans will be specifically and uniformly welcomed to IU and thanked for coming to IU. Ushers and event services staff will have access to "Hoosier Bucks" for use at our concession stands, that they may provide at their discretion to fans who may be in need of a little love as the result of a spilled drink, dropped hot dog, or the like. Fans will be encouraged to get assistance for any unruly or abusive behavior through "Don't be that guy" messaging and texting event services to alert them to problems at (812) 369-MYIU (6948).
Better connectivity: Updated Digital Antenna Systems (DAS) is being installed to upgrade cell phone and texting connectivity for both AT&T and Verizon. This system will be operational by the second home game on September 27th against Maryland.
Firing Up the Defense: "Tap Outs" (when the defense gets the ball back on downs or by a turnover) will now be tracked in the northwest corner of Memorial Stadium (in the view of the students) as well as on the video and ribbon boards. McDonalds will provide buy one, get one free double cheeseburger coupons if the team gets ten or more Tap Outs or scores over 50 points. If the team does both, fans will also get a coupon for large fries.
More Fun: A new remote camera will go into tailgate lots, stands and concourses to show fans on the Jumbotron. More t-shirts will be shot into the crowd from our t-shirt Gatling Guns. Popcorn will be served in Old Oaken Bucket replica popcorn tubs. We'll have a "selfie station" at Memorial Stadium to encourage fans to text and tweet tem to family and friends. Tweets by fans will also be shown on the Jumbotron.
Free "Green Water": As part of our Greening Cream and Crimson sustainability initiative, fans will be allowed to bring in empty water bottles to fill up with water at water stations inside the stadium.
In addition to these new gameday experiences, IU Athletics will be promoting the games in a variety of ways:
New "Countdown Clocks" have been placed at Kilroy's on Kirkwood, Kilroy's Sports, TIS, and the IMU counting down the hours, minutes and seconds to kickoff for the first game. In addition, a digital billboard in Indianapolis on 465 will also have that countdown plus real time updates of the ISU game score.
Staying engaged home and away, we will reveal what helmets the team will wear via social media and publish spirit posters for the away games as well as the home games.
"Victory Flag" is now the official designation of the traditional IU flag such as the ones that fly in and around Memorial Stadium. "Victory Flags" will be prominently marketed on-line and in campus stores as such. This week IU Athletics is distributing 100 Victory Flags to Bloomington businesses encouraging them to fly or hang the Victory Flags in their storefronts during game weeks. IU Athletics social media will post pictures and retweet pictures of IU fans with their Victory Flags.
The Million Fan Challenge will track the total number of fans attending all IU events, starting most prominently and significantly with football. Our goal is to attract at least 1,000,000 fans to IU Athletics events (last year we totaled 890,000). Fabulous prizes will be given at various milestones (50,000th, 75,000th, 100,000th, etc).
The Fan Advisory Board will have 25 members representing various segments of fans attending primarily IU football and men's basketball games who will provide feedback and ideas on how to improve the gameday experience in key categories such as arriving, safety and security, gameday staff, in game enhancements and technology, game entertainment, concessions, and leaving the stadium. Board members will serve as "secret shoppers."
Senior Staff Support on improving gameday experience is being set by the creation of the new senior staff positions of "Associate Athletic Director for Strategic Communications and Fan Experience" which has been filled by Jeremy Gray and the "Director of Fan Experience" which has been filled by former IU student-athlete Dana Mayeron.
The aforementioned initiatives are in addition to, not in replacement of, existing gameday experience initiatives such as:
• The Walk
• Kicks for Keeps
• Knothole Park
• Red Light Special
• William Tell Overture
• Fan Run Ons
• Back Home Again in Indiana
• "We Are IU" anthem
• Bison Introduction Video
• Victory Flag
• Red Victory Lights
• Roving Bands and Cheerleaders
• Big Jake
• First Down, Touch Down, Third/Fourth Down, Tap Out Cheers
• Friday Night Spirit Patrols
• On Campus Pep Rallies
• Smoke and Fireworks Team Entry
• Super Fan
• South End Zone Greek and Dorm Flags