Sports Outside the Beltway

FIU handing out $500 scholarships to lure football fans

Call it South Florida’s newest raffle. From the Miami Herald-

In an attempt to get students to come out and support their football team during home games, Florida International University is offering some creative incentives.

Here’s the pitch:

During each of the next four home games — starting with Saturday’s contest — three students will be chosen at random in the fourth quarter to receive a $500 scholarship for college expenses.

Another four students will win coveted parking upgrades. The sweet deal would allow the winners to park in faculty parking spots for a month.

“We are doing this because we want to create a fan experience and build an affinity for FIU,” said Sandy Gonzalez-Levy, senior vice president of external affairs.

Admission is free to students at the 18,000-seat FIU stadium at its main West Miami-Dade campus, yet the last home game attracted only about 8,000 fans. The school has 35,000 students and tens of thousands of alumni.

And those who come to the games, usually leave early.

“We’re offering some of the gifts in the fourth quarter to persuade them to stay for the whole game,” Gonzalez-Levy said.

It sounds like a good deal to me but will it work? It may draw more spectators on a short-term basis but long term I am pessimistic. You can’t make people interested in a sport who aren’t inclined to watch it to start with it.

That FIU hasn’t had a football program for long and haven’t been very successful either, aren’t likely to help the school bring fans to its games.

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