University Of Ottawa Intercollegiate Sports Case Report Essay
Luc Gelineau, the Director of Sports Services at the University of Ottawa, has to increase attendance at the university’s sports home games in order to acquire a potential sponsorship from the Royal Bank of Canada. This method of alternative funding is necessary due to budget cuts to the “Big 5” intercollegiate programs (male ; female basketball, hockey, volleyball and football). From 1992 to 1996, there has been a significant decrease in total ticket sales for most sporting events. The Royal Bank won’t sponsor the intercollegiate sports teams if the overall lackluster attendance trend continues.
Even if the University of Ottawa teams are competitive and successful, the student population simply does not show up for the games. Sports Services isn’t doing enough to raise attendance at the Gee Gee’s home matches. By bringing the attendance to what it once was, corporate sponsors such as the Royal Bank will gladly associate themselves with the University of Ottawa intercollegiate sports teams. Analysis The financial situation of Sports Services has force Mr. Gelineau to look for alternative funding due to the recent budget cuts.
There are several threats which are directly linked to the lack of proper funding for the University of Ottawa sports teams. Because of the financial constraints caused by the university’s budget cuts, Sports Services has no longer the funding to maintain its sport programs. With more budget cuts likely to occur if outside sponsorship fails in regards to the lack of attendance, Sports Services won’t have enough funds to manage and operate their teams. This would eventually lead to the actual termination of certain sports programs. With the continuous decrease in attendance of sporting events at the university, more budget cuts would be seen.
Furthermore, with less and less money geared towards sports, it would be very difficult to maintain the sporting facilities or to purchase new equipment. Most of the sports teams would become less successful on the field as a result. Also, students who attend the university based on athletic scholarships or play for the many intercollegiate teams won’t be able to continue their sporting career at the university. Some potential students may be dismayed to enroll at the University of Ottawa due to the lack of sport activities and intercollegiate teams.
Sporting events play an important part in university life and if it were diminished or even eliminated, there would be an irreplaceable void. Many opportunities exist in regards to increasing overall attendance for the Ottawa Gee-Gee’s home games. With nearly 25 000 full-time and part-time students enrolled in the university (with 77% of the alumni remaining in the Ottawa area), the potential to increase attendance is quite possible. The university has plenty of activities for students, especially freshman.
Using the first week of class as an orientation, these students get their first taste of university life and are looking for activities to participate in. By attracting new students during frost week for sporting events, they will attend their first university sports game and will likely return for more games as the school year progresses. By bringing more freshman students (who are 35% of the total student) to the games, chances are they will continue to attend as sophomores, juniors and seniors. Moreover, coinciding with the first week of class is the first football game of the year.
Football is shown to be the most attended sport compared to all others. Good attendance numbers for football could very possibly carry over to the other sports which follow when the football season is over. It’s a sort of chain reaction with respect to attendance for all the sporting events at the university. The university has nine faculties that organize many events but few are associated with the intercollegiate teams. By joining with the other faculties, the games could be turn into greater event for the student body. The marketing survey showed that people enjoyed the games more when they were turned into event rather than just a game.
Most students rather go to a social event than a sports match. It is therefore important to make the game into an event. In the Ottawa region, there are several professional sports franchises for football and hockey. However, they both are experiencing many problems with their product and the most noted one is the decrease in attendance. The people of Ottawa are known to support their teams yet because of the high ticket prices and poor competitive performances, they don’t attend professional games. These residents are willing to spend their money on entertainment but instead of professional sports, they look to other forms of entertainment.
The opportunity to bring professional sports fans to the university games is very well presented. These fans can come enjoy the competitive university sports teams at a low cost. Also, the University of Ottawa desperately needs more consistent attendance numbers to solidify their position. Events like the Panda Game between Ottawa and Carlton draws big number in attendance yet it doesn’t carry over to the other games. By using such crowd-drawing sporting events as a platform, the other regular season games could enjoy the same attendance numbers as the bigger events.
The potential for spectators at the university home games is present whether they are students or residents of the community. There are weaknesses in regards to Sports Services which have lead to the present situation. The university’s budget cuts and the low attendance have created a lack of finance towards all of the different sports programs at Ottawa. The overall student awareness of sporting events and accomplishments by the university athletes is so low that students simply don’t care. Most students aren’t even aware of when games are played. The sporting venues are far for some student who are then discouraged to go to the games.
The information about the home games isn’t presented to students in way that will attract their attention. School pride for the Gee Gees is almost none existent. The overall perception by students of the sports teams is poor, which isn’t true at all. The gender equity rule has also hurt funding for male-dominated teams which are usually the more attended games. This rule forces funding based on gender (larger overall female student population) rather then which sports attracts more spectators. With the lack of funds and unawareness by students, it’s has become very difficult to present the University of Ottawa’s sports teams in a just manner.
A very clear strength that the university has going is the fact that most of their intercollegiate sports teams are successful. By being competitive against the other universities, it demonstrates the quality of Ottawa sports. A national champion will get better exposure than a losing team. The extra playoff games create more attendance numbers and revenue. Rivalries with other universities (especially the ones which are located close by) give for a more exciting game and bragging rights for the winner. With 15 intercollegiate teams, people have the choice between many different sports.
Some may prefer watching football while others are more interested in basketball. The university is also well equipped with several sports facilities to accommodate nearly all sporting activities. Another asset is the pricing scheme for the “Big 5” intercollegiate programs. The price to watch any Ottawa game is very reasonable even for students who may struggle to simply pay their tuition fees. By making all the big sporting events affordable to all, no one is excluded. The sports programs at Ottawa are of a very high quality, at low priced and can be easily sold into a big draw for attendance.
Alternatives A strategy to increase the attendance at sporting games at the university of Ottawa would be the make the games themselves into events. Therefore, if people attended a Gee Gees match, they would be going to see a show rather than just a sports match. To create this effect, many different elements would be added to the game. Events like tailgating, halftime shows, after parties and pep rallies are just some measures which can be added to spice up the game itself. Many of these events can be organized by one of the many faculties in the university.
Since they already plan many events for the student body, the sports game can be associated with many of their activities. Several of the calendar events can be used to coincide with matches like Halloween for example to create theme nights. Other promotional day such as “2 for 1 tickets”, “ladies night” and “meet the players” can be added for certain games. Shuttle bus and car pooling services would be ideal for bringing in groups of student to come to the games together. The promoting of the game now becomes larger in the sense that there is more to promote then just a sports match.
Advertisements in the school’s newspaper, radio and websites can announce the game and what events may be taking place. Posters, banners and mailing lists can be also effective in alerting the students of the games. By making the sports matches into bigger events, more students will be attracted in attending. A student who may not enjoy football can simple come for the party atmosphere and the social setting. By involving the other faculties, the entire university can feel like a part of the game instead of simply having sports fans participate.
The arts faculty could make the posters and banners or the administration faculty can create the mailing lists. And since students are the ones working on such activities, the cost is very low for Sports Services. Making the games into huge parties will definitely create school unity and pride. A drawback by having these activities at the sporting games pushes the athletic element aside. This could alienate real sports fans who come to watch the games for the actual sport. Furthermore, there is a heavy reliance on the promotions which may be very hard to create when students get tired of the same old deal.
Students won’t come to the games if they aren’t interested in the event. Another alternative strategy would involve the university’s alumni population. Working with past graduates of the University of Ottawa could help draw a new crowd to the games. With a large number of graduates still living in the Ottawa region, they are still close to the university and can come to the sports matches. Some graduates may work for several corporations which can be enticed to sponsor the university’s sports program. Many alumni could convince their company’s to buy corporate seating for the sports season.
These individuals can also promote the intercollegiate teams in their communities and at work places. In turn, those individuals who no longer want to watch professional teams can come see the university teams play. By bringing spectators from outside the student population, there can be a much bigger draw for attendance. Donations from alumni will definitely help the sports teams for new equipment, facilities, etc. The university could also name new facilities in the name of alumni who give large donations. Having graduates at games would definitely bring an air of tradition and pride for the university and their sports teams.
If many non-student people came to the games, they would pay more than student which would lead to larger revenues. A negative point would be that the actual current student population would be ignored. And, not all alumni may want to participate in helping university’s sports programs. Recommendation We recommend that the all the sports games be created into their own events. This strategy solves the definite problem of low attendance at the University of Ottawa’s sports home games. By making the sports “the event” to go to on campus, most students will attend the games as a social activity.
Appealing to the entire student population is a sure way to bring more people to the games. Having activities tied in with the sports will appeal to everyone on campus. The atmosphere at the game will now be very festive and enjoyable to all who attend. And with the current financial situation of the sports programs, the cost is minimal since the work would be mostly done by students (volunteers from different faculties or students working for class marks). By involving the other faculties in the intercollegiate teams, a sense of unity is created which is spread throughout the university.
The students who attend the University of Ottawa will be aware of the sporting events and how successful their school is athletically. Focusing on the first sport of the school year, football will help build a steady attendance base for the other sports which follow. Also, bringing the new freshmen students can solidify the fan base for the next couple of years. This will eliminate the erratic attendance trend and assure good attendance numbers later on. This strategy will boost the overall attendance at Gee Gee’s game and help Sports Service in getting the Royal Bank sponsorship.
Action Plan The action plan for the recommendation will be set throughout the school year. Luc Gelineau, Director of Sports Services, will need to create a team of interns who will be in charge of all the events for all the sports games during the year. The most crucial part of the plan occurs within the first week of class. But even before then, the team must organize themselves with the other faculties in order to figure out who can do what. Planning events based on the games and the faculties’ activities is very important so that the logistics can be arranged.
Many volunteers will be needed to organize the tailgating, pep rallies, after parties, etc. With the events planned for the specific games; the team can concentrate on promoting these events to the students, especially the freshmen. Massive promotions of the intercollegiate teams and the events happening for certain games will be done in the first week of class. It is important to make sure that the new students know the when, where and what in regards to the games. Since the first football game is played during the first week of school, the attendance needs to be very high and the more extravagant promotions will be needed.
This way, there can be a carry over to the next football game and to the other intercollegiate teams. If student enjoy the first game of the year, they will want to come an enjoy the next one. It is essential to create new promotions and ideas to attract the students so they won’t get tired of the same old events. Surveying the students about the games they have attended to find out what worked and what didn’t, this way, the promotions can be arranged to match what the students want. After the school year is complete, the team can analyze which events were more successful than other and then adapt for next year.