With the group of universities in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Jeremy Christopher, senior account executive of group sales for the Texas Rangers, said the organization wanted to take full advantage of the opportunity to appeal to all locals.
“We saw many of our fans were wearing their college gear to Rangers games and we thought that we could create a promotion where they could show their team pride by representing the school and the Rangers all at once,” Christopher said.
When FOX Sports Southwest first introduced the idea to TCU Athletics, the Marketing department was excited about the opportunity to work further with Fox.
“FOX is our television partner so we’ve been working with them on other marketing ventures,” Julie Austin, assistant athletic director for marketing and fan engagement, said. “We have good relations with them.”
The promotion centers around discounted tickets, and offers fans, students and alumni of universities in FSSW’s coverage territory a special experience unique to their school.
“I would say that as a baseball fan, I would be willing to go to a Rangers game without the discount if the seats are decent and reasonably priced and if the team coming into town is good,” supply chain major Trampas Tanklage said. “However, I would be more inclined to go to any Rangers game with the TCU discount.”
Sophomore environmental science major Jarrett Blasingame concurs.
“If they offered discounted tickets, I would definitely be more interested and could see myself going,” Blasingame said. “I think having that little bit of an incentive makes a big difference and would make a game that much easier to go to. The cheaper ticket would make me feel like it was worth more to go to the game instead of just watching it on TV or going and spending my money somewhere else.”
Tickets for TCU’s selected game are about $6 cheaper than a non-discounted game.
TCU is one of seven schools scheduled to participate in the program. Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, University of Texas, University of Oklahoma and UT-Arlington will all receive their own themed night.
“We look forward to another successful University Days campaign and providing Rangers fans the opportunity to celebrate their school spirit for the fifth consecutive season,” FOX Sports Southwest Senior Vice President/General Manager Steve Simpson said.
The experience will include a limited-edition Texas Rangers cap rocking each school’s colors and the school’s logo for purchase and an on-field pregame activity by the school’s coaches, players or acclaimed alumni.
Last season, TCU head basketball coach Jamie Dixon and former quarterback Bram Kohlhausen were in attendance and Dixon threw the first pitch.
— Pat Doney (@PatDoneyNBC5) April 15, 2016
Following the pitch, Dixon said he was excited to see the thousands of TCU supporters in attendance.
Over the years, University Days has evolved, and Christopher and the Rangers have plans to improve the promotion for years down the line.
“We have seen more involvement from the schools beyond just the person throwing out the first pitch,” Christopher said, “We have seen more and more fans coming back each year as the caps have become a collector’s item. We are always looking to improve the program and keep it fresh, without giving any inside information I can say that there are some exciting ideas for the future.”
Austin said TCU’s athletic departments continue to see benefits from this program over the years and would love to stay involved in the promotion.
“Two things come from this promotion: Royalties on merchandise that our logo is used on and free publicity for us,” Austin said. “We use this to promote a head coach or athlete throwing out the first pitch or doing on-air television interviews. This promotion serves as good exposure for the university.”
Blasingame has been a Rangers fan for 20 years and has yet to make the trip out to the ballpark. He hopes the discount will lead to his first baseball experience at Globe Life Park.
“Seeing how I’ve been a Rangers fan since I was little I thought I would be able to go to a game being closer to the park at school,” Blasingame said. “But after being on campus for a couple years I, unfortunately, haven’t found myself buying a full price ticket and going to a game.”
TCU’s University Day at Globe Life Park will be held Thursday, May 3 as the Rangers play host to the Boston Red Sox. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.