The colors of the leaves have changed. The sun has set and the energy in Lincoln, Nebraska shifted. More than 90,000 people have piled into Memorial Stadium. Fighter jets blaze across the sky as the national anthem is sung.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers grace the field and all feels right in the world.
With tradition like this, it is no secret that Nebraska has taken great pride in its college football program. Without professional sports, Husker football for generations has been the sport that many have put their energy, loyalty and time into.
Memorial Stadium is said to be home of some of the most electric games and with time has turned into one of the hardest atmospheres to play in as an opposing team.
While Nebraska football itself has grabbed the attention of many across the country, the atmosphere is more than just the sport itself. Marketing and game day media have become such huge parts to what makes game day experiences better and more memorable for fans.
Nebraska’s athletic marketing program has provided ways for students as well as fans to get involved and help create the best possible gameday experience for everyone in attendance.
Maeve Lorimer, a senior at Nebraska has been involved with the athletic marketing team as a gameday intern and has loved every second. While the job was rewarding during football season, it took great dedication for the interns to provide the full game day experience.
“A football Saturday for a Husker marketing intern entails usually waking up at 5 a.m. to be at the stadium by 6 a.m.,” Lorimer said. “We usually have to have everything set up 4 hours before kick off, which is usually 11 am right now!”
Lorimer said marketing is important to create the best possible experience at Memorial Stadium.
“Husker marketing is super important for game days because we focus on the fans, not just the athletes.” Lorimer said. “It’s our role to keep traditions strong and the crowd upbeat.”
Evan Etzelmiller has also played a big role during game days on the media side for the creative and emerging media department.
“My role is to capture the events that take part on gameday and post them to the Instagram story,” Etzelmiller said. “From tailgates, team arrival, warm-ups, the tunnel walk, and in-game action, I am in charge of getting content and sharing it on the Huskers account so that fans are able to experience game day even if they were not able to attend the game.”
Media allows for people to grow as sports fans even if they are not present in the stands.
It also allows for teams and players to tell their story and get it to a much bigger audience. When teams utilize social media for reasons such as this they then also grow their fan base and their connection with fans.
“I believe effective media can be a tremendous force for good and can create much more awareness about the sport, team, individual players, and game,” she said.
While media and marketing play a big role in how people experience the game, the Scarlets dance team also affects the experience overall.
Dance teams have been a tradition for years at colleges and this allows for entertainment during the game as well as getting fans excited and pumped up before the games.
Halle Olson, a junior on the team, is from Egan, Minnesota Olson believes that along with media and marketing, the Scarlets dance team also plays a major role in the overall experience that fans hope for at Memorial.
“We always bring all the energy we have to the eight-hour game day experience,” Olson said. “We always are moving, jumping, dancing, and cheering for four hours straight to try to get the crowd engaged and loud, especially when our team may be down. We truly love being there and it is really fun to show all the spirit and love we have for Husker nation and to see it in the stands on game days.”
The dance team is very important to getting the fans excited and that is exactly what they work towards each week.
It is not always as easy as some may think. The Scarlets face long weeks in the fall to mentally and physically prepare for fans and game days.
“We have practice four days a week and lift in the mornings twice a week to prepare for the football game,” Olson said. “We show up to every football game 4 hours early to warm up, practice, and attend multiple appearances. We clean and practice our dances and review pregame performances every week before game day.”
While marketing, game day media and the Scarlets dance team all vary in many ways, the three come together to create the ultimate fan experience. They allow for fans to get more than just a football game and they bring the team and crowd together to create a bigger picture.
Winning the game is always a fan favorite, however, enjoying more than just the final score Nebraska’s record setting sellout streak, now at 382 games have made Memorial Stadium one of the most well-known Saturdays in college football.