Policies and new initiatives have been put into place by the University of South Carolina’s Athletics Department to answer the ongoing conversation of the student section and overall enjoyment at USC football games.
This season alone, over 90% of student tickets have been redeemed, but the problem that the Athletics Department has faced, is seeing the student section empty as the game progresses. The department took suggestions from all forms of the student body including student government, greek life, student life, student ticketing and even student athletes.
“We took these issues to the students and they came back with these suggestions,” Associate Athletic Director of Marketing Eric Nichols said.
The three categories of concessions, rewards and shuttling were of main focal point and will be applied to this Saturday’s game against Kentucky.
Two areas of concern about concessions have been possible discounts for students staying after halftime and the slow purchasing process when using a CarolinaCard.
Following the start of the fourth quarter at this Saturday’s game, all bottled water will be discounted to $1 for students in the two concessions stands in the north end zone.
The use of a CarolinaCard will be a quicker process at concessions. A minimum of six card readers will be in use at each of the two concession stands. At previous games, only two card readers were in use for each stand.
“New data lines have been run and hopefully that speeds up the concession lines to where students do not have to wait as long, not only at the beginning of games, but towards the end too,” said Director of Marketing Josh Waters.
A new rewards process has been implemented to where students can receive more loyalty points for staying until the end of the game.
“After the alma mater is over, as students are leaving they will be given a ticket that will be worth loyalty points,” Waters said. “On the Monday and Tuesday following the game, our marketing staff will be on Greene Street in front of Russell House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. scanning those tickets and transferring a certain amount of loyalty points onto the students’ CarolinaCards.”
Those points will be put into effect once scanned onto a CarolinaCard and will be applied to the next game’s ticket request.
In terms of shuttles, wristbands will continue to be handed out to non students, but will not be required to be put on by the event staff, which in turn should speed up the process of shuttles commuting to Williams-Brice Stadium. Following the game, landmarks estimating the time remaining at that point in the shuttle line will be displayed.
With the help of student government, the Athletics Department has come up with a social media hashtag. #StayCocky will be used throughout the week leading up to the game. Students can tweet to the student government account, @UofSCSG, saying why they stay until the end of games.
“We are very unique as a university to have the alma mater sung at both the beginning and end of the game,” said Athletic Associate Director of External Affairs Charles Bloom. “Having the alma mater to alma mater principle and having the students staying until the end is very important because I think the team really rallies around the support of the stadium,” Bloom said.