Athletics has plans for basketball, wants fans ‘get rowdy’

Andrew Clausen

The Appalachian State University Athletics Department is implementing several new promotions during and relating to the men’s and women’s basketball games.

The first of which will come Tuesday at the home-opening doubleheader in the Holmes Convocation Center at 5:30 p.m.

Free shuttle buses will run from the Kidd Brewer Stadium Lot and the Belk Library Circle to the Holmes Center and back. The shuttles begin running at 5 p.m. and run until 30 minutes following the conclusion of the men’s game.



Other promotions include T-shirts for the first 1,000 Appalachian students that enter the arena and dinner provided for students by Appalachian Food Services in between the two games, however students’ App Card IDs are required.

These promotions are all a part of a new strategy to get more student involvement in basketball events, said Patrick Meiburg, director of marketing.

“We want students to be involved in the promotions,” Meiburg said. “We want students to come and have fun. I think [Holmes is] a terrific arena to have a ton of students come out to because during my time at N.C. State as a student, there was assigned seating and you kind of got lost in the crowd. Here it’s a very intimate arena.”

Meiburg said that since App State has basketball games Tuesday and Thursday nights, when away teams are less able to travel with their team, there’s an opportunity for students and fans to fill the stadium.

“We really want to get student involvement at games,” he said. “That takes us getting the message out there to get students to get rowdy, to enjoy the game, to dance, to cheer.”

Part of getting the message out will come with an attendance incentive program for fraternities and sororities called the App State Hoops Greek Life Challenge.

The participating games for the challenge are the Tuesday double-header, the Nov. 15 women’s basketball game against Lees-McRae, the Dec. 8 men’s game against UNC Charlotte, the Feb. 1 double-header and the Feb. 15 double-header.

“One of the groups on campus that is about 1,000 people is the Greek community,” Meiburg said. “I think that’s a community that we can tap into. We’re trying to get them to come back to the Holmes Center.”

However, there is the caveat to promote an “even playing field” among organizations.

Each person will be a part of a percentage of the overall population of their fraternity or sorority. That way, if 50 members of a smaller organization show up, that means more than 50 individuals from a larger organization.

“At the end of the program, the fraternity/sorority with the most points will have an opportunity to hold an event on the Fifth Floor of the Athletics Center,” Meiburg said. “Other awards include cash prizes and an award from the bookstore.”

Other students won’t be left out of promotions, however, as Athletics has many things planned for non-Greek organizations, too.

There will be two half-court shots at the Charlotte game and the Feb. 15 double-header. For the Charlotte game, the prize for hitting the shot is $5,000 tuition credit and for the double-header, it’s a $5,000 cash prize.

There will also be other, unannounced “significant contests” at the aforementioned home game dates.

The TApp Room is doing promotions for games that will be indicated on the T-shirts that the first 1,000 fans will receive Tuesday, where there will be specials before and after the game.

“We want people to eat, drink, be merry at the TApp Room beforehand and then you and your friends come over to the basketball game,” Meiburg said. “And then afterward, if you want to go have more fun, you’ll go back.”

Meiburg, who stepped in as marketing director at the end of last December, said he is excited for the season.

“I know that the teams will play well,” he said. “It’s just a matter of can we create that environment that will help them score 10 more points or play better defense on a crucial play. That’s what we need to create, that environment: To be loud, for students to be excited. Because, with the Holmes Center, the structure provides that.”

Meiburg thinks that one of the things they have to battle in attendance is the wintertime weather in Boone.

“I know it’s not that far of a walk, but when you’re walking from Stadium Lot to the Holmes Center and the wind is blowing 30 miles per hour and it feels like 20 degrees outside, it’s hard to get students to come to a basketball and sacrifice their bodies,” he said. “But we want to create an energy and a great environment for both men’s and women’s because we have a great product and we have a great space.”

Story: Andrew Clausen, Sports Editor