Spring sports at FAMU are about to change as we know it.
The FAMU Athletic Marketing Department has made strides this year to increase attendance at spring sporting events. Those sports include baseball, softball, track & field, tennis and golf. Basketball is also played during the spring semester, but is sometimes considered a winter sport. Plans are also in the making to bring more people to Tallahassee for spring sports next year.
“The main thing that we want to do is increase awareness of these sporting events,” said Earl Kitchings, FAMU Director of Athletic Marketing. “We’re advertising anytime we can through fliers, radio, newspaper and TV advertisements.”
Much of the marketing has been focused on the Rattlers basketball team. According to the FAMU Sports Information office, the attendance for the men’s basketball games jumped from 342 people at the home opener against Alabama State, to 3,299 at the last home game against Norfolk State.
“Basketball has definitely benefited from marketing,” said Kitchings. “However, the turnout at the FAMU Relays will show us how well we’ve done.”
The FAMU Relays takes place March 7-8. According to Kenneth Plummer, FAMU Asst. Director of Athletic Marketing, plans are being made to have a Spring Sports Carnival next year centered around the FAMU Relays.
“We want to bring the same recognition as we would a home football game,” said Plummer.” We plan on having vendors, food and music to draw attention not only to the FAMU Relays, but all FAMU sports going on at that time.”
However, some sporting events are not as easy to market. According to Kitchings, sports like golf, tennis, baseball and softball are often left out when it comes to funding.
“It’s difficult to do when we’re not on common ground with other universities,” said Kitchings. “The funding that FSU and UF receives is enormous, and to compare our program with theirs is not fair.”
Plummer agrees that the playing field is far from even.
“We’ve attempted several assertive ways to market these sports with as little revenue as possible,” said Plummer. “The funding simply isn’t there.”
Through affiliations with Clear Channel Broadcasting, Jo Jo McToy of 100.7 FM, The Capital Outlook and other media outlets, Kitchings hopes to give FAMU sports “maximum visibility.”
Students flock to Bragg Memorial Stadium for football games. Kitchings believes that FAMU students and alumni should show the same support for spring sporting events.
“We need our fans to be true fans, and not just focus on football,” said Kitchings. “They need to support Rattlers whenever they can do so.”
Antione Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.