Have you been to any varsity games yet this year? The answer for most students at Western is probably no. All the Mustangs teams — except for maybe football — struggle to fill the stands at their home games. Most universities in Canada deal with the same problem, but Western's is particularly bad when you consider the size of the student body and the strength of the athletic program. Here are a few ways to get more people in the stands.
Engage the London community
Give out free tickets to youth groups and other organizations in London to fill the stands. In the past when tickets have been given out to organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club of London, the stands have been full.
Athletes need to support each other
Athletes at the school need to develop closer bonds with other athletes outside of their respective teams. If you are friends with someone from another team, you are more likely to attend their games and cheer them on. This could be done if more athletes joined the Mustangs Athletic Student Council in order to meet other athletes. As a current member of MASC, attendance at the meetings is poor when you take into account how many athletes we have at the school.
Sell alcohol at Alumni Hall
There is a beer garden at Thompson Arena for hockey games, but this is not the case at the volleyball and basketball games in Alumni Hall. A designated section for drinking alcohol in Alumni Hall could help attract more fans.
Inform first-year students
Encouragement from sophs, residence staff and RAs for first-year students in residence to come out to games as a group. If students come out to watch in first year, they are more likely to come out to games in their next three years.
These are just a few ways the Mustangs could fill the stands. I'm sure there are many more, and I encourage the Mustangs marketing team to come up with more creative ways to do so. In the end though, it's our collective responsibility to get out and change the trend of poor attendance.