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For Sarge and other ZERO U fans.


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USA Today

Friday, August 24, 2007


Jump on The Bandwagon; Literally: Sooner Fans Among Least Educated


Norman, OK - A new study released last month by the Sports Statistics

Foundation, a research and statistical think-tank based in Dallas ,

Texas , shows that Sooner fans are among the least educated in the

nation, and dead last in the Big 12.


The study was commissioned by the Big 12 last year to assist the sports

marketing department. "We thought the information would be valuable in

determining where to place our TV, radio, and print advertisements",

said Bill Brenner, Big 12 Executive Director, "but we never expected

these results."


The study looked at the percentage of each school's fans that have a

college education. Only 4.7% of sports fans identifying themselves with

The University of Oklahoma had completed a college degree, lowest among

the Big

12 teams. OU ranked in the lower 5th percentile nationally.

Additionally OU ranked 3rd in the nation in number of high school

dropouts claiming allegiance to the school as a percentage of the total

fan base.


The survey results were both good and bad for the State of Oklahoma .

Oddly enough the study showed the Oklahoma State University had some of

the most educated fans. According to Brenner this wasn't so surprising,

"OSU is known nationally and internationally for several programs that

are consistently recognized for their quality. It's not all about cows

and corn there in Stillwater ."


OU fans, get ready. Change is on the way. "Due to the surprising

results, we're going to have to reevaluate our entire advertising

campaign", says Joe Castiglione, University of Oklahoma Athletic

Director . "Historically our strategy has been to target wealthy,

educated professionals in an attempt to increase season ticket holder

revenue which carries higher profit-margins.

Now we see a more targeted economic class approach being appropriate,

focusing on the low-income, uneducated fan base."


What does that mean for the fans in Norman ? "We'll have to explore more

non-traditional ad spaces, says Castiglione. We've started a pilot

program in two separate trailer parks in the OKC metro area in an

attempt to increase the Sooner brand awareness there, passing out OU car

flags and lawn signs to residents. We've also purchased ad space in

several gentlemen's clubs."


These tactics may seem extreme and even bizarre, but this could be just

the tip of the iceberg according to Castiglione, "We've just begun to

explore innovative advertising for the low-income, low-education

demographic. We're currently in discussions the Oklahoma State Prison

system about providing free televised OU football games, as well as

plasma TVs in exchange for exclusive broadcasting rights within the

State's prison system."


It's hard to say if the campaign will be successful according to

Brenner, "We commissioned the study to help schools generate athletic

revenue through improved marketing. How they choose to implement ad

campaigns is up to them.

Though I can't imagine the prisoner fan-base is the way to go. I

wouldn't want to be known as the official school of the state



- Stanley Greer is an AP sportswriter covering college and Olympic

athletics and can be reached at sgreer@usatoday.com.

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