The Discussion 2

I know nothing about MAG and thus totally flubbed this one πŸ™‚

If you were hired as a consultant for men’s NCAA gymnastics programs, what would you tell them to do to improve exposure and meet attendance?

The question was posed to gymnastics bloggers around the world for this edition of The Discussion. Here’s what they had to say:

Ron Noe (Stick It Media): Probably to somehow get the respective business schools onboard to create marketing plans for the teams. This would make for a great project for a student or group of students, and would be a win-win for both parties. The list of promotional ideas is endless, and could easily be communicated via social media.

The schools with world-class talent (Olympic hopefuls) are sitting on wonderful assets to promote. Ads should be taken out by the teams to be placed in the school paper to promote the team and its star athletes. You should be able to ask any typical student at Illinois, Oklahoma and Ohio State who Paul Ruggeri, Steven Legendre and Brandon Wynn are (repectively), and they should answer in the affirmative. I guarantee you, most Ohio State students know who Terrelle Pryor is.

Not saying the star gymnasts should be selling their memorabilia for profit or receiving free tats to get that notoriety! Get their faces out there! Maybe put on tumbling/pommel horse demos out in the quad. If none of these ideas work, a combo 10-cent beer night and win a date with Alicia Sacramone contest would be gold!

Anne Phillips (Gymnastike): 1) Build relationships within your community. Get out to your local elementary schools and do exhibitions for them, meet and talk to the kids and parents, then personally invite them to your meet. This is how both Utah and Georgia built their women’s gymnastics following and Utah still does this on a consistent basis. If you establish personal connections with these people you are giving them a vested interest in you and your team. Then, once you get them to your meets make it fun for them and give them a reason to come back!

2) The men’s NCAA coaches need to run their programs like a business. They have 2 equal jobs as head coach- one is to market your program and ensure that collegiate gymnastics thrives, the other is to well, coach.

3) Continued exposure of your program and your gymnasts. I don’t mean slapping a few competition videos on a youtube page, I mean introducing your athletes and the personalities of your team to the gymnastics community so that fans can feel a personal connection to them as people as well as gymnasts.

Romila Storjohann (GymNiceTic): Oh, I’ve a great idea: Get topless! This will for sure attract a lot of new fans πŸ™‚

Rick McCharles
(Gymnastics Coaching): Combine meets with NCAA WAG. Perhaps a WAG/MAG combined championships. This year, again, both are on the same weekend making the MAG meet second best.

More competitions against international teams. That’s the main benefit of the men’s collegiate program having switched over to FIG rules.

Vanessa Steck (Wild Precious): Lots and lots of vids of the guys shirtless.

Dave (Aunt Joyce’s Ice Cream Stand): I’d work on creating an atmosphere as exciting as the women’s meets. This is something sorely lacking. If a school with a strong men’s team had a strong women’s team, I’d definitely recommend holding meets together if they improved attendance.

Clara (STOI): I find all the stuff about sexing it up pretty pathetic. Those programs that also have a successful WAG team on the campus or even nearby, should think about forging links and trying to piggyback on the women’s profile. For example, maybe the men can exhibition at the women’s competitions where possible. Or people who have paid for a ticket to the university women’s team can get one for half price for the men.

For MAG in general, I always advocate rating big, brainstorming skills most highly in order to encourage interest. Because that’s what gets the casual viewer interested, in my experience. So for example on high bar, that would be releases, particularly Kovacs and Gaylord variants, rather than pirouettes, hops and less spectacular stuff.

People that aren’t codeheads see a routine like e.g. Alexei Nemov’s in β€˜04 be beaten by one like Morgan Hamm’s, they don’t understand, and it makes them think badly of the sport. That’s not to say that I want it to become some kind of extreme sport, with people throwing quads on floor with flexed feet and landing on their faces. The Soviets showed us that difficulty can be combined with good form. I’m just talking about spectacular, crowd pleasing skills being more highly-rated than the equally-difficult but less-exciting elements.

However, I don’t know enough about men’s NCAA to know whether they’re doing this already. Maybe they are, and it just isn’t working.

Martina Eggeling
(Gymnastics United): I would try to do something with marketing, maybe some public appearances and little show offs to catch the interest of people and get more viewers. During meets to think of something to animate the people so that it turns out to be a great athmosphere. Work out some gymnastics personalities people will know. Try to get TV/online coverage times and stuff like that.

Blythe Lawrence (Gymnastics Examiner): What Anne said about exhibitioning for elementary schools and getting kids excited to come to the meets. What Ron said about beer (or maybe like, 10-cent baskets of curly fries or something if they don’t sell beer at NCAA functions?) and Alicia Sacramone. But um, if you want to draw a crowd, I don’t think going shirtless every now and then is a bad idea either…

Enjoying The Discussion? Here’s a list of recent topics addressed by bloggers from around the world.

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