How College Football Teams Engage with Audiences

Anyone who has been to enough college football games can appreciate how college teams inspire a special kind of passion and excitement. College football teams rely on traditions and ambience of their stadiums to build loyalty, even during losing seasons. Brands can learn a lot from the ways college teams build audience engagement. Here are some of the factors that create excitement in the stands:


The University of Washington’s Husky Stadium overlooks Lake Washington, giving audience members stunning views of the Seattle skyline, the Olympic Mountain Range, the Cascade Mountains, and Mt. Rainier. While you cannot always choose locations that are this idyllic, it’s important to consider the effect that location has for your brand. For example, think about the impact of creating an event video along the beach at golden hour versus shooting the same commercial in a generic retail parking lot in the glaring mid-day sun. The location and time of day will give viewers a completely different perspective on the same car.

Interesting Experiences

The experiences that stick with fans the longest often have little to do with the game of football. Consider the University of Tennessee’s Volunteers football team. Having won its last national championship in 1998, the team has gone through a couple decades of pretty mediocre football play. Fans, however, still flock to Neyland Stadium to attend Volunteers games. One of the most charming and interesting aspects of Volunteers games is the “Vol Navy,” in which fans take their boats to the game, dock them on the Tennessee River, and then make the trek across Neyland Drive to the stadium.

Similarly, brands should seek unique ways to make an experience memorable. From offering personalized party favors created on the spot at a major donor event, to holding a companywide contest in which the grand prize winner is awarded a trip, develop memorable experiences big and small alike that are fitting for your brand.

The Power of the Visual

The University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium may not be the biggest college football stadium, but Ducks fans sure know how to make up for it with noise. One of the highlights of any Oregon game is watching the football team take the field following a motorcycle with the Oregon Duck mascot riding on the back. It may seem hokey to create a mascot for your brand, but consider the larger lesson about the power of a visual image. A truly memorable visual imprint makes you think of a company or product instantly. In fact, some brands to incorporate mascots into the ways they engage audiences, a few notable recent examples being the GEICO Gecko and the Aflac Duck.

When you’re stuck in a rut with your brand and have exhausted all of your usual sources for inspiration, head to a college football stadium on game day. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn in a single afternoon.

For a complimentary 30-minute consultation on how to build your brand and inspire an audience through events and communications, please contact Brian Duffy by calling 630.427.4235 or by emailing


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