The TCU basketball program will return to Stadium Drive this semester after playing at an off-campus location last year.
Purple Haze leaders are hoping the close proximity of the new stadium to campus will help increase attendance from last season.
“Last year was really difficult getting students to drive 15 minutes away for a game, so having the new arena within walking distance will be a huge help in raising attendance this season.” said Purple Haze communications coordinator Chris Conaty.
Last season, Purple Haze offered incentives to students who attended games in the form of points. The more points you accrued, the more prizes you were eligible to receive as the season went on.
That system will return this season — but with a twist. There will no longer be prizes offered during the course of the season. Instead, they will all be given out at the end of the season.
“At the end of the season, those who finish in the top 10 in points will all receive a prize and the winner with the most will receive a grand prize.” Conaty said.
Purple Haze members said they think by changing the system, students will be more motivated to attend all of the season’s home games.
Conaty said they will also be hosting dedicated theme nights in hopes of making the game day experience more exciting for fans.
“We’re just changing our focus a little bit this year from giving rewards to going, to creating a fun environment that students want to come and be a part of.” Conaty said.
First-year Purple Haze member Chris Bolig, a film, television and digital media major, said TCU basketball fans have a lot of fun themed nights to look forward to this season.
“The themes this year are going to be very unique and distinct which will enhance the game day experience,” Bolig said.
Junior business major and Horned Frog basketball fan Austin Birch believes these themed nights will be a major draw for students who aren’t necessarily ardent basketball fans.
“A lot of students at TCU just like having the opportunity to dress up and have fun with it,” said Birch. “Anyone can get on board with the theme nights, even if basketball isn’t your favorite sport.”
Student basketball fans said they have taken note of Purple Haze’s continued efforts across campus. For many, the organization has only helped to bolster their support of a much maligned basketball program.
Junior communication studies major Tommy Nelson said he is a dedicated fan of TCU basketball, and has already seen how Purple Haze’s presence at games has impacted the fan base.
“Purple Haze does a great job of getting fans excited to go to games. They have a great incentive system, and their giveaway and theme nights are always a huge draw for a lot of students,” said Nelson. “On top of all that, you can tell just how much they care about TCU basketball and just how much the team means to them.”
After finishing the 2015 season with a record of 4-14 in conference play last season, Purple Haze and the TCU faithful will be much needed once again in the stands this season.
“I want our student section to have the same impact at basketball games as they do at football,” Conaty said. “The team really feeds off of the energy that we create, so if we are doing our job, it’ll make their job a lot easier.”
The men’s basketball team opens its season on Nov. 13 against Southeastern Louisiana in the Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena, and the TCU women’s basketball team opens its season on Nov. 8 against Texas Wesleyan.