TigerBlog Jr. and his friend Matthew (a 12-year-old with size 12 shoes) strolled into the PA booth at Princeton Stadium Saturday afternoon before kickoff for the Princeton-Columbia football game.
They were ready to do their usual: eat, drink, wander around, come back, ask for money, eat more, watch the game, ask for more money, run around for the fifth quarter. It's pretty standard procedure by now.
This time, though, TigerBlog was one step ahead of them. How would they like to take the FlipCam and spend the game walking around the stadium interviewing kids? Put together a video for goprincetontigers.tv?
The video itself is filled with some cute moments, none cuter than when the shy little girl with the big blue eyes runs back to her mother and hides on her shoulder. If there is one that rivals that moment, it's when the little boy says he's going to get "popcorn and water."
There's also Matthew's brother William, who announces that No. 94 is his favorite player. No. 94, of course, is Kevin Sochovka, a promising freshman linebacker who has not played yet. And it was good to see how many little kids there were at the game, and it was nice to see how they warmed up to the camera.
Also, TBJ captured much of what goes on at Princeton football, with a good look at TigerTown and some footage from the sidelines, especially of the postgame handshake ("good sports," TBJ says in the background, "good sports.").
The most telling thing to TB about the video, though, is at the end, when TBJ is on the field for the fifth quarter. He asks three somewhat older kids (maybe in the 12-14 range) how they liked the game, how they like the fifth quarter. Then he asks if they're bummed that Princeton lost.
"Yeah, but it's still exciting," one of them says.
That, in a nutshell, is what we here at HQ are trying to accomplish as far as football marketing goes. It's a Trenton Thunder theory - get families to the game and provide them with a great atmosphere, and if the game is secondary to that, that's okay.
TigerBlog has always assumed that very few people who go to Thunder games know the players, know who won, know what the Major League affiliates are, know the standings of the Eastern League. They go for the event, for the atmosphere.
It's not 100% the same at Princeton football, because 1) there are five or six home games a year instead of 71 and 2) because the Ivy League football championship is a more tangible goal than the EL championship, where the issue is more on player development. Still, there is a great segment of the audience to whom we are marketing who are coming for the entertainment.
To that end, we are not competing against Rutgers or the NFL for ticket buyers. We're competing against the movies, against roller skating parties, against mini-golf, against trips to the shore, against an expensive dinner out. At least as it applies to the families who attend.
We're doing this with low ticket prices (lower than the movies, that's for sure), and with the kind of entertainment that TBJ got in his video.
Princeton lost to Columbia 38-0 Saturday. At physical therapy Monday morning, Sue greeted TigerBlog with a thank you for the tickets and a mention that Paige, her nine-year-old, loved the game and asked when they could go again.
That's a big part of what we're looking for here at HQ.