Bison Nation Gameday app encourages student attendance at athletic events

Elise Covert, Sports Co-Editor

Those who attended the men’s basketball Patriot League Championship game last winter can attest to the electric atmosphere an excited student section can bring to any game. The department of athletics has been looking for ways to replicate that same atmosphere and school spirit for other teams and during the regular season.

Two weeks ago, the department announced the release of their new mobile application, “BU Bison Nation”, which has been in the works since the spring. The app engages fans by allowing users to check in at athletic events on campus, share photos of themselves at the games with the Fan Cam, check the calendar for upcoming events, and keep up with the latest social media updates on their favorite Bison teams.

Each time a user checks into an event, they earn points on their account. Students who accumulate enough points are eligible to receive prizes, such as athletic gear or food from local restaurants. Users can compete against their friends and view leaderboards to see where they stand against the biggest Bison fans.

“Our primary goal for the app is to foster a new level of awareness and engagement between our Bison teams and the community as a whole, whether it is students, faculty & staff, or fans from the local area. The app makes upcoming games easy to discover, and it’s fun to use,” Associate Director of Athletics and Director of Athletic Communications Jon Terry said.

The app provides a user-friendly up-to-date events section that shows upcoming games, as well as their locations and the expected weather. Users can favorite events that they are planning on attending and can add the events right to their smartphone calendar. Additionally, users are eligible to receive special offers from corporate sponsors of Bison Athletics, including The Bull Run Tavern and Pizza Phi.

Increasing student support for athletics has been a point of focus for the department in recent years.

“We are always looking for creative ways to encourage students to come out and support their peers. The games are fun; they are played at a very high level by a dedicated group of student-athletes. What better way to take a study break or blow off some steam than by cheering loudly for the Bison,” Terry said.

Athletes and team managers alike confirmed that having an involved student section helps them to perform better in competition. Ryan Ott ’18 and Tyler Peterson ’18, both Bison men’s soccer players, testified to the improved atmosphere when more fans come to their games.

“When you come out of the locker room to a packed stadium cheering, it really pumps us up. We feed off this kind of energy. It makes game day that much more special,” Ott said.

“Not that we don’t play hard when there are not [as] many fans, but when there are, we want to play that much harder for them,” Peterson added.

Associate Athletic Director of Operations and Events Chad Mason and Game Operations Coordinator Jourdan Semmel in partnership with Mike Trudnak, general manager of Bucknell Sports Properties, worked to have the app up and running for the kick-off of the varsity sports seasons last week.

Terry and the rest of the athletic department staff hope that, once word spreads about “BU Bison Nation”, the app will contribute to the wider community rallying in support of Bison sports.

“We would love to replicate the atmosphere of the Patriot League Championship game last March on a routine basis,” Terry said.

Bison women’s basketball student manager Danielle Baer ’18 agrees.

“A larger crowd in Sojka will definitely give us a leg up on our competition. Playing on the road is always a challenge, but playing in front of a large group of opposing fans is extremely intimidating. For our players, it is always nice to see familiar faces in the stands,” she said.  

Search “BU Bison Nation” on the App Store and start earning points for supporting your fellow Bison students.

 

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