Theme nights prove to be huge success

By Eric Albury |

Many may scoff at the theme-flavored events for home games presented by the Flagler Athletics Department, claiming they are silly and don’t do much for the sport.

But that is not the case. These events have dramatically improved the games for players and fans alike.

“The men’s soccer theme nights have had excellent attendance, averaging 546 attendees per game. The average non-theme night attendance has been 119, considerably less,” said Ryan Erlacher, assistant director of the department and the think tank for theme nights.

This increase in attendance affects the players as well as the attendees. The players get a more interactive, rowdy fan base that can often be the deciding factor in close, competitive games.

“I think everyone would rather play in front of a sell out crowd then a crowd that has just a few fans in the seats,” Erlacher said. “We have had a number of student-athletes come up and thank us for implementing these theme nights and tell us they love the student involvement.”

People are more willing to attend these events for a few reasons. One is the fact that prizes are offered. These may be presented by raffles or by audience participation in games.

Another reason is to appeal to people who may not be sports fans.

“Theme nights give students who may not necessarily be sports fans, an avenue to come to an athletics contest and still enjoy whatever theme is going on that particular night, perhaps, get them out to an event they normally wouldn’t attend,” Erlacher said.

Finally, games tend to be more interactive when there is a larger crowd. Fans hype each other up, as well as their team, making the overall game a different experience.

Erlacher plans on carrying the theme nights through to other Flagler College sporting events. There are discussions of bigger promotions, bigger prizes and more student involvement, just to name a few.

“With the success of our fall theme nights, we have decided to implement basketball theme nights, the first starting this Monday, Nov. 14th, at 7 p.m.,” Erlacher said.

“Nettles Night” will be giving a half karat diamond and two Pandora bracelets at the event.

“Whenever you start a new initiative you never know what to expect,” Erlacher said. “The success we have had this fall is a great sign that we are providing events that students are enjoying and want to come back and participate in.”

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