Students gather near gates 3-4 in Worthen Arena to get free t-shirts during Ball State athletics second annual Social Media Night
Piles of unclaimed shirts left at Social Media night
Ball State Athletics' second-annual Social Media Night drew out the fifth-highest attendance of the season, but left behind piles of unclaimed free T-shirts.
The 3,100 fans in attendance weren't able to move Ball State (15-9) past Ohio (15-8) on Feb. 09. Some spectators, like sophomore Drew Happe, noticed a change in the atmosphere.
“There has been an increase since last year, and it looks like there is a little more students here than normal,” Happe said.
While Worthen was still not pushed to the capacity of 11,500 seats, the draw of free T-shirts was enough to put a few more students in the stands.
Many of the students who do not normally attend games admitted that the free T-shirt is what drew them out to the Mid-American Conference matchup.
“Not very often, if there were enough incentives I would come to more games,” student Katie Mustard said.
Even with the incentive, there was not a very noticeable spike in attendance rates from other games this season.
Sophomore Kaitlyn Young usually helps broadcast the games as part of student media and was looking forward to the game. This year's free long sleeve T-shirt with a customizable Twitter handle on the back was a fan favorite compared to last year's short-sleeve shirt.
“I usually do [attend] but I don’t get to actually watch,” Young said. “The shirt this year is a long sleeve and I love long sleeves. The team is also playing really well and I want to see the game.”
Freshman Kathy Bernhill is a member of the Student Government Association who partnered with Pepsi to pay for the shirts.
Bernhill helped hand out the shirts but the amount of people in attendance was "definitely not as many" as she would have originally thought.
For the students who could not show, they can still claim their customized shirts.
“We’ll get in contact with them or they can pick it up at another BSU sporting event,” Bernhill said.
Even with the amount of empty seats in the game, sophomore Jolee Edge did not let the empty seats deter her experience as she described her favorite part of the game.
“The bomb T-shirts and the excitement of the close game were the highlights of the night for me,” Edge said.
While the success of the Social Media Night promotion can be debated, the fans who attended saw a near buzz beater from redshirt junior Ryan Weber, as the Cardinals fell 69-72.