Marquette Wire

MUBB undergoes changes to pregame ceremonies

New visuals, fan initiatives added to 10-minute program at BMO Harris Bradley Center

Photo+by+Doug+Peters%2Fdouglas.peters%40marquette.edu
Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.edu

Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.edu

Photo by Doug Peters

Photo by Doug Peters

Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@marquette.edu

Dan Reiner, daniel.reiner@mu.edu

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For years, fans attending Marquette men’s basketball games at the BMO Harris Bradley Center have been rooted in pregame routines. Fans cheered on notable basketball alumni in the “Remember the Titans” video, then roared through the “Marquette Madness” video before the lineup was introduced. AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” ensued, followed by students tossing a flurry of white and gold paper bits in the air after the first made home basket.

After a down 2014-’15 basketball season, the athletics department, prompted by head coach Steve Wojciechowski, decided it was time to make some adjustments to the traditions. The goal was to get people into their seats earlier, which would create better energy in the building before tip-off.

“(Wojciechowski) wanted to have more bells and whistles,” said Deputy Athletic Director Brian Hardin. “He went to a Bucks playoff game and liked some of the stuff they were doing and asked if we could try to take advantage of being in an NBA arena.”

Changes to the pregame ceremonies, which comprises all functions before tip-off, includes an updated “Remember the Titans” video and different music. There is also a “tunnel vision” camera which shows players in the stadium hallways making their way to the court, a coinciding hype video featuring recent Marquette highlights, and light towers, confetti cannons and a fog machine on the court. Hardin said his staff drew elements from college and professional football games to enhance the fan experience.

“When I try to describe what Marquette basketball means to our students and alumni, it’s that it’s similar to what football is in other places,” Hardin said. “We wanted to develop a pregame program that would, from the 10-minute mark until the opening tip, be a natural crescendo of enthusiasm in the arena.”

The most prominent addition to the pregame program is the on-court graphics which sync with the “Marquette Madness” video on the screen above. The high-definition production, which displays from cameras underneath the video board, also features moving images and autographs of players as they’re introduced.

“I’ve seen a lot of NBA teams do it recently, but I think it’s cool that Marquette was able to get it,” said Sam O’Melia, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences. “It really makes the school look more professional.”

While athletics has improved the visual appearance of the pregame, some aspects have been criticized. The disappearance of The Gold Mine, the goldenrod news publication found on students’ seats that was torn up and tossed in the air after the first Marquette field goal, was dropped from the Marquette Student Government budget for the 2014-’15 school year.

“Last year’s MUSG Budget Committee and Communications Vice President decided to no longer print The Gold Mine,” MUSG president Zack Wallace said in an email. “Those individuals felt that printing paper to be ripped up and thrown on the ground was not a good use of the Student Activity Fee, nor an environmentally friendly practice.”

Without this long-practiced tradition, students were introduced to a massive flag that reads “we are Marquette” with a large Jordan brand logo at the bottom. The intention of the flag is for it to be waved over a portion of the student section, but students have not yet embraced the concept. The flag has collapsed into the crowd each time it has been used.

“I think it’s fun to start new traditions, we just need to find one thing and stick with it,” said Madison Smeltzer, a sophomore in the College of Nursing. “I feel like it’s been changing … Last year there was the paper, this year there’s the big flag, what’s going to happen next year?”

Hardin said the athletics department is still having discussions about ways to entertain not only the student section, but the entire 18,600-seat capacity at the arena. The staff is looking for feedback from fans but they are already considering the possibility of community tailgates and other visual methods to get the crowd more involved before and during games.

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