A full Dog Pound cheers on Fresno State during its 66-62 win over Nevada Saturday at Save Mart Center. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)
Save Mart Center was rocking again Saturday night in a game that featured cash giveaways, and Apple TV giveaways, and past alumni back for a “Night in Navy” game against the Nevada Wolf Pack.
This came off another recent promotion by the Fresno State sports marketing department, which handed out iPads at the previous ‘Dogs home game against then-No. 25-ranked Wyoming.
The promotions have been doing wonders for Save Mart Center attendance so far. To put it in perspective, the last home game before the promotions was against San Diego State when 5,910 fans attended (a previous season high).
When the promotions were introduced against Wyoming, 8,118 fans attended the game. Saturday’s home game against Nevada brought in 7,945 fans to the arena, the best attendance numbers since last March against San Diego State when 14,801 fans were in attendance.
These promotions have been helping, and the Dog Pound has been barking louder than ever this season.
“Even though we heard about the promotion, it’s not why we’re here,” said Fresno State junior Timothy Compton. “We love coming to the basketball games because they are a lot of fun.”
Compton added that he believed the promotions were really increasing the fan attendance at Fresno State, although not necessarily for the right reasons.
“We were here last weekend and this weekend,” he said. “It’s cool, but last weekend it seemed like a lot of people came to the game because of the iPads and they weren’t necessarily paying attention to the game.”
The last game against Nevada has been a different story for Compton. Not only did he feel like the crowd had a better atmosphere, but that the returning fans “are more involved with the game, so Fresno State has been getting fans.”
The electrified atmosphere over the past two games has not gone unnoticed as compared with the past couple of years.
“It seems like there are a lot more students here than past games I’ve been to,” said Elizabeth Brown, a grad student at Fresno State.
One of the students standing front row in the Dog Pound, junior Jonathan Benson, believed it was great to have people coming back to the games.
“I think its great having bodies in the seats,” Benson said. “Once people get here they realize how much they want to come back.”
Although there were a lot of returning fans, some of the fans attending Saturday’s game were new fans who had never attended a game before. Second-year students and twins Abigail and Naomi Davis had not heard about the promotions but enjoyed attending the game nevertheless.
“There were a lot more people here than I expected,” the twins agreed.
Although it was just his first game, sophomore Ricardo Loza could not believe the atmosphere, calling it “electric” and “energetic.”
“I will definitely come back,” he said.
It seems like the promotions have worked toward both goals of getting more fans into the arena and keeping them.