PantherU

Madness returning is good for all

While I wait on details from Milwaukee Athletics concerning the reinstating of Panther Madness, I’d like to just talk about how I think this is a great move for the program as it tries to push forward.

I’ve long been a proponent of reaching out to students with Midnight Madness and to season-ticket holders and alumni with the Preseason Intrasquad Scrimmage.  While the season-ticket holders will always be pulled in by the basketball and are very interested to see how Paris Gulley, Shaq Boga and the rest of our incoming class are fitting in, students will be drawn in by the spectacle of Midnight Madness.

For schools, especially basketball-only schools, Midnight Madness is a tradition that gets students very excited for the basketball season.  And we have a lot to sell them.  Students will not just get home games against a slew of postseason teams (including the national runner-up again, who we went 2-1 against last season, and Wisconsin), but they’re being introduced to CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS.  This is something that we’ve been unable to tout since the 2006-07 season.  Unlike that team, we’ve got a lot of pieces with proven D-I chops returning and a slew of highly touted incoming players.

So, with this in mind, here’s an idea for the Milwaukee Athletic Department to put in action to get students amped up for the return of Panther Madness.

Panther Madness Countdown Clock

Louisville counts down to their rivalry game with Kentucky

What we know of students is that in the past, they have complained of being unaware of when games are as one of the main reasons they don’t go to basketball games.  Of course there are several reasons, chief among them the long travel times to the Cell, but this is a reason students give that we can thankfully kill with a “Countdown to Madness” clock.

That is, several of them.  Strategically placed, Milwaukee Athletics can use a mandate from Chancellor Mike Lovell to get these inexpensive clocks installed all around campus.  Here are my suggestions: over the Spaights Plaza entrance to the Union, over the entrance (both sides) of each dormitory (Sandburg, Riverview, Cambridge), at the entrance of both the west and east side of the Golda Meir library, on the bridge over Maryland Avenue, and at the southeast corner of Engelmann Stadium’s tall fence.  By my count that is 12 countdown clocks that can be hung up high and used to let students know exactly how much time is remaining before Panther Madness.  Instead of posting information next to it, you can register the domain name PantherMadness.com and post only that on every clock.  Naturally students will be intrigued by it, so with any iPhone, Android, Windows phone or computer they can immediately enter in the URL and find it linked to a page, hosted at the current UWMPanthers.com website, that contains a promotion video for this year’s Panther Madness.  It doesn’t have to be long – just the date, time, Klotsche Center, Conference Champs (push that), some cool music and a promise that it will be a night to remember.  With PantherFest so fresh in students’ minds, they’re just looking for the next big event for the university to go to.  Panther Madness is that event.

And when it’s over?  Replace the “PantherMadness.com” placard with signs for the next home basketball game, then reset the clocks.

Basically, we’re taking the A-Frame concept and making it cooler, crisper, more professional, and a whole lot more difficult to steal.

In addition to that, start a hashtag – #MKEMadness, #PantherMadness, #MadnessatKC or something that students on twitter can use to get riled up and talking about the event long before it starts.

Using the hashtags to create buzz is good for Panther Madness.

The other thing that we get out of it is that we can put student-athletes and coaches out there on Twitter, also getting excited for Panther Madness; then, we can do two things: get students and alumni following Panthers on twitter, giving them more info about now and the future, and then we can drop them little hints as to what’s going down at the event.  For instance, have Ja’Rob McCallum tweet “Workin extra hard in the gym, getting ready to drop truth bombs in the 3pt contest at #PantherMadness,” or looking down the timeline you see “K_Kelm: What kind of dunks should I try in the #PantherMadness dunk contest?”

You get students conversing with the players, then they’re getting the social media full-court press on #PantherMadness.  Of course, the full-court press includes Facebook.

On Facebook, you can use the Milwaukee Panthers and Pounce Panther pages to promote each other and the event, or create a whole separate page and post the video, the info, and get discussions going about the contest.  It’s a great way to get students engaged in the program and #PantherMadness without pushing them to put in a lot of effort.  Students will absolutely take this and run with it, and you’ll get a lot of them coming from the dorms to the KC.

All it takes is effort from the program and a couple hundred dollars, and then we’ve got something to get students excited and working to find out more about the program – it’s the future of athletics marketing, and Panther Madness is a real big way for students to get excited about the program.  Or should I say #PantherMadness.

Go Panthers!

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