Alex Rivera/Staff Writer
Saturday night’s C-USA match up was a game to remember: a terrific win against a conference rival, a night dedicated to the 1995 FIU Basketball Sun Belt Championship team, it was Alumni Night, and t-shirts.
The shirt for Saturday’s is known as the 305 Panther Pride tee, and for the first 1,000 students at the game, it could be theirs just for attending the game. But this was not the first time the men’s basketball team had a t-shirt giveaway, not even the first time this season.
Of the eight games with a reported attendance, three games featured a shirt giveaway: the games against Keiser, FGCU, and Saturday’s game against Middle Tennessee. The first two games took place on a school night, the third on a Saturday and all three with a tip-off time at 7pm.
Of the 8,258 reported in attendance, 4,638 have come from these promotion driven games. While not everyone in attendance was able to receive a shirt, the idea of receiving one most likely drove them into showing to the game.
When considering for other factors that may drive up attendance, the answer always points to promotions. Of the six games that started at 7pm, three had an attendance of more than a thousand (the promotional giveaway games). Of the three games held on a Saturday, only the Middle Tennessee game brought in a crowd of over a thousand.
For the most part, FIU Basketball has their bases covered: have games on a day and time that is accessible to the most students as possible. But even then, with the price of admission being free, students only show when there is something tangible to take home.
As for the shirts, based on what is available on the bookstore website, the average cost for a t-shirt is about $25.64, with the lowest-priced t-shirt going for $14.99 and the median-priced shirt costing $20. Considering the shirt Saturday night was a school pride shirt, with a graphic design on it, it would most likely be priced at $19.98 and up. Students who want to show Panther pride, but not have the ability or motivation to pay the price at the book store can attend a basketball game for free and a shirt on top of that.
The estimated market value for the 1,000 shirts given away? $19,980. While this is not indicative of the price that was paid by the promotions team, the value to the students who received a shirt cannot be stressed enough.
The Panthers have gone 9-0 this season at home, but when it comes to attendance, it takes an additional incentive to draw in a student crowd. But clearly there is an idea behind the promotion: to give the students a chance to see their basketball team (in these three cases) win, show them the energetic atmosphere of the games, and turn those students in to returning fans.