UTEP unveils themed nights for 2017 football season
EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) —
UTEP is introducing a slew of changes for the 2017 football season to create a more enjoyable and interactive experience with fans.
The University of Texas at El Paso’s athletics department announced the “We Are Miners” marketing theme that will be branded on social media, posters and schedule cards.
It’s also going to be more inclusive when it comes to community outreach.
"We're trying to cover all different parts of the city and don't leave any part out,” athletic director Bob Stull said. “We are bringing different student athletes and coach to other areas we haven't been."
People are all for the Miners going on the road around El Paso.
"We need to promote the university because that's all we have besides the Chihuahuas,” Elias Garrdio said. “But I think in the college aspect it's the best thing we have and the prices are good."
"UTEP is the mascot of the city,” Ashley Avla said. “They should not only represent the West side but all other sides of the city."
“We Are Miners” merchandise will also be available at the UTEP Bookstore.
For the upcoming football season, UTEP’s food service, Sodexo, will debut premium burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs and nachos at the Sun Bowl.
Each home game will have a different theme, starting with “Hometown Heroes Night” during the game against Rice on Sept. 9; “Military Night” against Arizona on Sept. 15; “Youth Football Night” against WKU on Oct. 7; “Spirit Night” against UTSA on Oct. 28; and “Teacher Education Night” against LA Tech on Nov. 18.
But getting all of El Paso into the Sun Bowl is going to take more than some pickaxe nacho bowls.
The Miners football team’s average attendance has decreased steadily over the last five years. It was 29,374 in 2012; 28,375 in 2013; 28,377 in 2014; 23,212 in 2015; and 23,001 in 2016.
Basketball’s numbers were stellar either. 8,490 fans showed up on average from 2012-13 season. It was 8,088, 8,458, 7,386 and 6,400 the following years.
"People get upset if you don't fill your stadium or the attendance is down but if you're not playing well you're going to have some of that,” Stull said. “I don't care if you're the Dallas Cowboys or whatever. But I can tell you we have the best fans in Conference USA."
At the end of every home game, fans will be allowed on the field.
UTEP’s annual “Fan Day” at the Larry K. Durham Center on Aug. 26 will be family-oriented with activities for kids, meet and greets with the coaches and players, and an autograph session.
Fans will also have the opportunity to interact with the coaches and players, as well as tour the Miners’ Larry K. Durham Center, at the brand-new season ticket pickup event on Aug. 4.
Additional UTEP football game day details will be announced later this summer.
People have some ideas to get people to the games.
"I think what they got to do is more promotional as far as when you get into the game. I think El Paso reacts pretty well when you give them things,” Garrido said. “Everybody kind of gets excited about all that stuff."
Like Stull said, however, wins will get fans in the stands.
"If they keep losing the true fans will keep going because they are true fans,” Alva said. “But if they keep winning a lot of people will keep going."
This won’t just apply to football, but to all of UTEP athletics. The department will figure out the best ways to involve El Paso depending on the sport.