Tourism Marketing During College Football Season

Posted on November 5, 2009

I love football.

When I was a baby, my mom made me wear an Auburn University cheerleader outfit. At age 5,  I could throw and catch a football with all the boys on the playground. In middle school, I knew every team in the SEC and which teams I hated most. After high school, I went to Auburn University and never missed a single home game. Even now, the only thing that makes me happy about the end of summer is the beginning of football season.

College football is not only a very exciting time, but it is a multi-billion dollar industry. Think of all of the miles football fans drive to get to their beloved stadiums, the T-shirts bought, the hotels slept in, the hamburgers grilled and the tickets sold.

If your city is located in or around a football stadium, you cannot afford to ignore it! Your convention and tourism bureau’s Web site should cater to every fan making a trip to your neck of the woods. Blogs detailing the atmosphere each day leading up to game day, places to buy game day memorabilia, maps of restaurants in town showing the game, hotel locations with proximity to the stadium, links to your social media accounts to keep fans informed in real time and weather updates are every fan’s best friend. You can make your destination irresistible without even trying too hard. The idea is accessibility for your future tourists.

Here are a few examples of CVB sites I found across the Web who cater to football tourists:

  • Of course, I have to mention the Auburn and Opelika (Ala.) Tourism Bureau. From the first glance at this site, the bureau uses the college-town atmosphere to draw tourists into a fun setting reflecting the area.
  • Another CVB that is doing it right is Central Pennsylvania’s Convention and Vistors Bureau. Their slogan is “Tour.  Roar. Explore… more!” based on Penn State’s mascot, the Nittany Lions. This site hosts a perfect balance between the excitement and thrill of college football, and the relaxation of spas, exploration of trails and parks, appreciation of arts and historical attractions. A link awaits all meeting and sports planners at the top of the site, providing all pertinant information as well.
  • CVBs don’t have to dedicate their entire site to football traffic. posted this video on their site to add a cultural insight on how important University of Florida football truly is to residents there. In the South, football is practically religion, and this video captures the heart of tailgating, mascots and tradition.
  • Lest we forget the bowl games. If your state features a bowl game, what a great way to show off all of the places to visit and things to do to football tourists. The Arizona Office of Tourism mentions the Fiesta Bowl on a page dedicated to sports. On this page, they provide links to other things to do while in town for the game, as well as important information about the game.

The football fans will come to your city, regardless of how much or little information you post on your Web site. However, you have the ability to extend their stay and increase your tourism revenue by providing basic information on your site. The rules apply for pro football too!

If you aren’t sure where to begin, we’d love to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.We know how to run the option and throw trick plays to get people to your destination. Let us tackle your Web project today.

Jessica Swink is a freelance writer specializing in articles about Social Media Optimization and SEO for travel Web sites.

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