Tailgating and Socializing are the Season Ticket Draw
Published: Sunday, September 9, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Though Boston College football may not have the same hype surrounding it as an SEC or a Big Ten schools, it has history. The school’s current reputation and prestige is deeply rooted in its football past. With its very successful (at times) past, there is always anticipation going into a BC football season, regardless of the past season’s record. After last year’s football season, however BC’s most recognizable and awarded football player, Luke Kuechly, left the team to enter the NFL Draft. Though this was a celebrated and exciting moment for BC football fans, particularly with his ninth overall first round pick to the Carolina Panthers, it left a lot of students with the sentiment that next season would be more difficult for the team without his presence on the field. Then with the departure of several athletic department staff members, including the recently announced retirement of athletic director Gene DeFilippo, the season began looking even murkier for student fans.
“I went into this season with absolutely zero expectations for the team,” said Alex Schlatter, A&S ’14. “I’m not predisposed to thinking that they will have a bad year, but I am also not predisposed to thinking they will have a good year. Just zero expectations. I bought season tickets for the social aspect of the football season.”
Others were less willing to repurchase student tickets. “I debated buying season tickets this year, until all of my roommates told me that they were planning on doing so, and that’s what kind of convinced me,” said Rachel Rudder, CSON ’14. Rudder had purchased season tickets in years past, but said her initial hesitation came from a noted decreasing interest in attending the games as the season progressed. Other students related to this tendency toward disinterest.
“Last year I got student tickets, and I only ended up going to two games,” said Hannah Westfield, A&S ’14. “I still bought them again this year, but the motivation was the socializing aspect of game day. I still wanted to be able to participate in that.”
The social aspect seems to be the major draw for most. “Tailgating, tailgating, tailgating!” responded Sam Prince, CSON ’14, when asked why she purchased season tickets again this year. “I just go and have a great time no matter how the team is doing. I rarely end up attending the games for more than a quarter anyway.” It is apparent to those who do stay until the end of the game that most fans have taken a similar approach to Prince’s, leaving once the game starts turning the wrong way, or when they simply grow disinterested. This lack of commitment to the game is a major and often-noted difference between BC fans and those of other football schools.
Yet, almost every ticket holder can be spotted lingering around the stadium, either on Shea field, Edmond’s lot, or the parking garage several hours prior to the official start of the game. The concept of tailgating seems to be the biggest draw for BC students in their decision to purchase student season tickets. Over 5,000 student season tickets were purchased for this year’s football season. This number has remained consistent over the past five years, showing a willingness among the student body to still attend games, or at least participate in the socializing aspect of game day, despite the team’s lack of success in the past few years.
“Ratio wise versus our entire student population, of close to 9,300 undergraduates, there is a strong percentage of students attending the football games,” said Jamie DiLoreto, associate athletics director. “Next to the student section in the end zone we also sold close to another 1,200 Young Alumni season tickets this year, with many of them still wearing their Superfan shirts to the games.”
“I’m still going to go and attend the games regardless of the team’s performance,” said Kelsey Barnes, A&S ’14. “It’s a huge part of college life, especially during the fall semester, and I think the whole game day experience is still a great time no matter what the scoreboard says.” This presents an unusual dynamic for the freshman class—a situation where the students are excited about game day, but somewhat lackluster in their enthusiasm for the actual game.
“Coming into the school year, I had heard that the team was average, but I’m still looking forward to cheering them on at games,” said Emily Schmicker, LSOE ’16. Schmicker lasted longer than most upperclassmen at the season opener against University of Miami, leaving with only four minutes remaining in the final quarter.
Given the latest mass email from the captains stating, “We appreciate your support each and every game from the Eagle Walk, pregame warm-ups, kickoff, to the final play,” it’s clear they want more students to take Schmicker’s approach. Yet as in most collegiate situations, the upperclassmen pave the way, and this year it seems that the tailgate is the main event every Saturday.