With Boston College football spring practices under way, the timer is ticking down to the annual Jay McGillis Spring Game, which will be held on April 11th in Alumni Stadium. If this is going to be like every spring game in the recent past, the stadium will probably be filled with no more than 7-8k fans, who will try and watch a confusing scoring system with no atmosphere whatsoever. Spring games are hard to sell to a fanbase, heck even some SEC teams can't fill their stadiums, but it's not impossible. Let's look at ways BC could fix the spring game.
1. Tailgating: This is a pipedream as BC would have to go through all the permits, getting state troopers and putting game ops on duty. But you want to get the young GOLD alumni excited about going back to the stadium? Give them a chance to grill in front of Comm Ave, drink a few beers and re-connect with their friends. Again, I don't see BC ever doing this because they haven't advocated to improve the tailgating experience during the regular season, let alone a free spring game.
2. Include Cheerleaders and Band: One of my observations during the spring game is how silent the game atmosphere is. It is in fact so quiet usually all you can hear are the coaches screaming at the players and the announcer. Why not include cheerleaders and the band? Would be great to have the cheerleaders there to help get the crowd going, and the band to end the game with For Boston and Alma Mater.
3. Advertise The Dang Thing: BC football is my thing. And because it is the end all, be all of my social existence, I know when the Spring Game is. But I guarantee that is the only reason I know it. And I bet most of you didn't know it was on April 11th, because no one is advertising it. I haven't seen mentions on social media, I haven't seen posts on BCEagles.com, I haven't gotten Save the Date emails. NOTHING. If BC wants to make this a legitimate event, you have to give the fans fair notice and get them excited. Haven't seen much of that in recent memory.
4. Open Concessions: Once you are in the gate, you probably want to grab something to eat. Good luck. There is usually one concession stand open, with LIMITED food options. Give the fans something to eat.
5. Giveaways, special contests, guest appearances: Advertising the game is one thing, but give the casual fan a reason to show up. Make entrance into the event a game. After every quarter two lucky fans will get season tickets for the 2015 season, free parking passes, tickets to the BC/ND game at Fenway, a signed jersey by Luke Kuechly. And in between quarters have contests on the field to win even more prizes. Field goal contests to win the starting kicking job for the Eagles (kidding), but gear from the bookstore. And there has to be famous BC alumni that Brad Bates could invite.
6. Get students interested. Student Superfans don't attend this event. BC would have to be creative again to get them excited. Again giveaways could be a way, but what about connecting this weekend into other campus events, like Modstock? Put a student only BBQ that students can attend (FOR FREE). Go to the game, get ND/BC tickets.
7. Fix the scoring: This is a perfect time for BC to fix the confusing, hard to follow scoring system that pits the defense against the offense. Let's make it the Maroon and Gold Game. The depth chart right now is really fluid, so you could split the roster in half. On one side, have Troy Flutie, on the other Darius Wade. On one side put Myles Willis, on the other Jon Hilliman. Keep going down the roster, until you have rosters filled. And use walk ons, younger guys on both sides if you need to.
For many the BC spring game is an afterthought, but I feel strongly that with a little ingenuity, BC could make this game attractive to their fans, which in turn would strongly improve attendance.