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Month: July 2016

Intro videos are not for dancing, they are to incite a riot

Intro videos are not for dancing, they are to incite a riot

It’s game time, and the excitement in the stadium/arena is palpable. But you want your crowd not just excited, you want them loud, you want them foaming at the mouth, you want them to do things that would make last year’s holiday party look like a boy scouts meeting (Dave in accounting knows it was no boy scouts meeting.)

You’re sick, Dave. Source: professionalcourtesyllc.com

The intro video is the culmination of all those pregame jitters and anticipation prior to every sporting event. It’s the moment where you get to show off your team’s athletic prowess and incite the crowd to stomp their feet so hard that it shakes the whole building. The intro video IS the tone-setter for the entire game; making it crucial that it strikes a chord with the crowd in a visceral way.

No doubt about it, the song that you pick out for your intro video is the heartbeat that drives the emotional momentum. You want the song to reflect it’s sport, but you don’t want to go so far into whatever genre that is that it alienates your audience. Also, you are probably dealing with upwards of 50-70 events per year. It’s important to have several different song variations in order to keep things fresh on a game-to-game basis. So many places make the mistake of sticking to one song for far too many games, and for your biggest fans, it goes stale quickly. I highly recommend using old hair-metal songs (AC/DC, GNR), early 90s rap/rock (Rage, Beastie Boys), and modern Trap remixes (Trap City and Trap Nation). I’m personally not a fan of orchestral epics, just because they don’t really incite the hostile environment I look for. Once the song is picked out, try to cut it down to under a minute. For how intense you are aiming to make this moment, there’s only so much epicness you can make your crowd feel, and a minute seems to be the right length.

In the video I am demoing today, you can notice a few things.

  1. There are a million cuts
  2. There’s only one play call
  3. And there are not a ton of video effects

You can usually tell if you picked out a good song if you have to make as many cuts as there were in that one. It probably means you have a fast, yet fun beat driving the rhythm. The play call thing is another personal preference. I find that having too many play calls can take away from the song, and kills the momentum of the video. Though, having that one play call in there allows for a swappable moment for updates throughout the season. Finally, you see a lack of video effects except for key moments in the video (bass drops, finale, etc…) I do this because I like to have a large variety of songs/videos throughout the season. Essentially you can either dedicate a ton of man-hours towards making one video awesome looking or you can have a plethora of videos to choose from throughout the season.

Another short note: sync your fascia boards and rings (and stadium lights if possible) to your intro video! It makes a world of difference when the atmosphere you are trying to create reinforces the entire environment your crowd is standing in.

For anyone that has had the fortune of working on an intro video, they know that what the fans want is very different from what the team might want, especially if the coach is very hands-on. It’s important to find the right balance between the two groups. When it comes down to it though, don’t sacrifice ­­the crowd’s enthusiasm for what the team might think is a good idea. I recommend having an administrator willing to go to bat for you in these situations, otherwise you might find yourself getting bullied into some pretty bad ideas.

 

 

 

Your in-venue show starts when the gates open, not when the clock starts.

Your in-venue show starts when the gates open, not when the clock starts.

Security company motto, “It will all be over soon.” Photo Source: The Advocate.com

Something I hear from a lot of institutions is that their fans don’t show up to games until after the clock starts ticking. We act like this is the fault of the fan culture, but in reality it’s the fault of the organization. The second those gates open, it is your responsibility to entertain the people that went out of their way to be there early. Many of us fall into the habit of not owning the pregame, because we are so focused on what is going to happen in-game. But the reality is that if we want our fans to be there for entire games, we need to start courting them the second they walk in the doors. Well, maybe after they pass security. Ya, definitely after they have to deal with security. The point is it’s really hard to build the kind of atmosphere that garners a home field/court advantage if your fans aren’t even there on time.

So how do you entertain fans for the 60-90 minutes prior to a game? Well the obvious answer is pre-produced content; organization TV show, game previews and interviews, etc… But if you’ve ever met me, I’m very much for minimizing the amount of pre-produced content you use in an in-venue environment. They take a lot of time to put together and they are not very engaging. There’s a time and place for it, but if people wanted to watch TV they wouldn’t come to watch the game in person. People are there to be active and participate, so anything you might do pregame should fulfill those desires.

One of my favorite, new ideas that we will hopefully be implementing in the future is “bar trivia.” Obviously we’re not calling it bar trivia, but the concepts of the game will stay the same. Working with our rewards app developer, the idea is that we will display trivia questions on the video board relevant to the sport and within our rewards app fans will be able to compete against one another. Leaders each night will claim reward points, and boom; suddenly we’ve created not only an incentive for fans to come early, but for them to get involved.

You might hate him for winning, but damn you can't deny that this guy knows his trivia. Photo Source: Men's Health
You might hate him for winning, but damn you can’t deny that this guy knows his trivia.
Photo Source: Men’s Health

Once fans feel involved, that involvement will turn into energy, that energy will turn into cheers, and those cheers will culminate into the home field/court advantage we are all looking for. If nothing else, I guarantee that the one weird guy that wins your local trivia night every week will start showing up to your games.

Most days we all like to chalk up our failures to the supernatural; “our fans never show up on time,” “the fan energy was dead.” But when we really look at it, we can always find where we as show-runners might be lacking, and better yet, find new, creative ways to engage our fans. What I’m getting at is that there’s a reason for the way our fans act, and it’s typically because we cultivate the culture they take part in. So take charge of your pregame (and post game for that matter!) Give them a reason to come early and stay late! It will pay dividends when you need your fans most.