Selling TCU Football grassroots style
John Roach '61 forms the Committee to Back the Frogs this summer to increase season ticket sales, football game attendance.
by Rick Waters '95
Updated: Tuesday, August 18, 2009
To lend a hand to TCU Athletics Marketing, John V. Roach ’61 formed the Committee to Back the Frogs, an echo of the Committee of 100 in 1994, which helped raise home football attendance by almost 28 percent and season ticket sales by almost 30 percent.
John V. Roach ’61 is a TCU fan, and he wants everybody in Fort Worth to be one too. Or at least attend Horned Frog home games. Earlier in 2009, Roach formed the Committee to Back the Frogs, an echo of the Committee of 100 in 1994, which helped raise home football attendance by almost 28 percent and season ticket sales by almost 30 percent. Together with TCU Athletics, Roach hopes they can add 5,000 more fans in 2009. Last season, the Frogs averaged 30,388. Roach shared some thoughts about the committee before the season began:
How would you assess the Committee’s efforts so far? It’s a widespread effort. We have 14 or 15 sub-committees working on various areas, such as schools, businesses, marketing, Internet, all trying to sell more tickets and put more fans in the stands. We’ve made good progress, but the real test will be when the games are here.
We hear that local school districts have committed to putting 6,500 students in the upper deck during the season. That will be a nice impact. It exposes kids and ultimately their families to TCU. The game is the main event, but other activities like Frog Alley and Bleacher Creatures are going to give them added incentive to come back for all the games. Bob Bolen has been instrumental in working with the schools.
What efforts are you taking to get more tailgaters into the stadium? We want them to have a good time, and we’re glad they’re here. But when it’s game time, it’s time to leave the parking lot, get inside the stadium and support the team. That’s why we’re here. We’re going to be overt in telling them that. A cutoff time like other universities use has been suggested, but we’re not going to implement that this year.
How does this effort compare to 1994’s Committee of 100? The Committee of 100 had great results, but it was helped by the team tying for the conference championship in the second to last year of the Southwest Conference. We had Kansas and Texas and Texas Tech on the home schedule that year and averaged better than 37,000. That’s probably not realistic this season, but we could come close. In those days, a good percentage of people at the game were the other team’s fans. That’s not the case anymore. We have a top national program now and a top national coach. We have a larger fan base, but we need more. I think we can move the bar up a notch or two.
Why has TCU football attendance historically been such a struggle? For a period of time, TCU Football was subpar and the community drifted away. Now, we have a superior product on the field but there is great competition for the sports dollar. I think we have the best bargain in all of North Texas in terms of price and experience.