Football, bleachers, hot dogs, Weber wear, screaming fans, referees, cheerleaders and marching bands are some reasons people go to Weber State University athletic events. This year, WSU has set a new goal to be continually enhancing the fan experience.
“We are never going to stop looking how to improve,” said Jerry Bovee, WSU athletic director. “Our goal from the start is to enhance the fan experience.”
Bovee went on to say the athletics department has already taken steps to accomplish the goal, starting with the new logo. Bovee said at the time the logo was unveiled that it “is a fresher, more marketable look” and will help create consistency in marketing the athletic programs at WSU.
This year, Bovee said, the athletics department hopes to work on the restrooms at Stewart Stadium, making them more accessible to fans.
“When they come to a game, they can buy a hot dog and find a restroom; they can do all the things they need to do to have a well-rounded experience for them and their families,” Bovee said.
Ann Millner, WSU president, said she hopes the fan and community experience will be more than just tailgating, but everything before, during and after games.
“Maybe it’s different than just tailgating, like tailgating downtown as well as tailgating around the campus,” Millner said. “There are other activities before and after games that make it a game, but also a whole experience.”
Student Body President Andrew Gardiner said enhancing the fan experience and getting more attendance for all the games starts with the students.
“One of my goals is to at least start with the students, and then I think it will bleed to the community,” Gardiner said.
WSU Athletics and the WSU Student Association are working with the WSU Bookstore to get more WSU paraphernalia, such as flags and stickers.
“One thing I want to do is get more flags in the bookstore, and other cool Weber stuff that students would want to put in their houses,” Gardiner said. “Just little things like that, I think, will get more school spirit.”
Gardiner said part of the fan experience depends on making Ogden a college town.
“When you hear ‘college town’, it doesn’t mean traditional students; it’s when you are in that town you know what school supports town and what town supports school,” Gardiner said. “I want people to visit Ogden and see purple and Weber State things everywhere.”
Bovee agreed that he wants Ogden to be known as a college town.
“That is the biggest thing we want to be known, that we are a college town, and Weber State needs to be that college,” Bovee said.
Mayor Mike Caldwell said a connection between the community and a fan experience needs to happen.
“There needs to be an experience,” he said. “If you go to the U or BYU, they’ve got tailgate parties that are going on, and there are all kinds of activities. At Weber, they’re starting some of that, but there wasn’t a lot of that for a very long time.”
Bovee said he is looking forward to creating a new experience for fans.
“We want to provide more fan engagement,” Bovee said. “You never get to a point where you say we have arrived, so we are always looking to enhance, and our focus will always be how to enhance the fan experience.”