September 28, 2012
Game Starters: Derick Stoulil, director of fan experience
Derick Stoulil, director of
fan experience for Purdue athletics. (Purdue University photo/ Steven Yang)
Derick Stoulil, director of fan experience for Purdue athletics, says his job combines the best of both the business and sports worlds. Having been promoted in December, Stoulil has tackled a winter, spring and now fall sports season in his current position. He is working to increase student ticket sales and to improve game day festivities.
What duties does your position include?
I put together the marketing and promotions plans for all 18 intercollegiate athletic sports. I also work to improve the fan experience to make sure that the games and surrounding events are fun to attend. In addition, I'm working with a team of interns to increase student ticket sales by reaching out to them and getting them more excited about Purdue football.
How did you get involved in promoting and marketing sports?
I've always been a sports fan and I was an athlete in high school. During college, I took a full-time job working for the Clinton LumberKings, a minor league baseball team in Iowa. The connections I made during that job have led to my other positions and where I am now in my career. I love that I have been able to join my interests of sports and marketing in my career.
How are you working to improve the fan experience before the game?
We're turning our focus so that the experience isn't just about the day of the game, but also about the whole week. I want fans on campus to know that there is a home game going on that weekend because of the atmosphere. To do this, I've worked to add student events like pep rallies and meet-the-team events to the schedule. We've even hosted an event for international students to get them involved in the culture of football.
What is new for fans on game day?
We've improved and moved the 12th Boiler student tailgate area to where Lambert Field once stood. We've collaborated with student government and student groups to make it bigger and better than ever. Student organizations are able to get parking passes and have space to tailgate so that they're really immersed in the game day atmosphere.
This is also the second year for Boilermaker Crossing, which targets families with children who want to attend the game but not necessarily tailgate. Boilermaker Crossing includes a rotation of activities such as a rock wall, and other sports teams will be there to interact with fans. There's also a live music element that we've added that I think will really help to boost the atmosphere at the games.
How do you feel the fan enthusiasm affects game day?
At home games against big teams like Notre Dame, when we get the stadium filled with all 60,000 seats, the environment and excitement is just awesome to be a part of. It's a lot louder, more intimidating for the other team and pumps up our players. I love seeing the energy that the students create -- it's like nothing else.
What does a Saturday home game look like for you?
I get to the game early to set up the Boilermaker Crossing and work with the musical groups to prepare. During the game, I'm down on the field making sure all of the promotions are going on smoothly. I'm on the headset making sure everything -- the band, video board, performing groups and any promotions -- is being executed properly and on time. My job is crazy, but it's fun to see everything I've helped to put together work at the games.
Writer: Rachel Florman, email@example.com