The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

OPINION | Why SLU football needs greater fan support for next season

Strawberry+Stadium+has+been+the+proud+home+of+Southeastern+football+since+1937.
Randy Bergeron/Southeastern Louisiana University
Strawberry Stadium has been the proud home of Southeastern football since 1937.

Southeastern football did not enjoy a very successful season on the gridiron this fall. Following a Southland Conference championship in 2022, the Lions faltered in 2023 to a final record of 3-8.

However, this is no excuse for the lack of fan support at times for some of the Green and Gold home games.

Strawberry Stadium has 7,408 seats according to lionsports.net and is widely regarded as one of, if not the best, venues in all of the Southland Conference. The ‘Berry was first built well over three-quarters of a century ago in 1937 and has been home to your Southeastern Lions football team ever since.

After the sport took a hiatus, renovations were done in 2003, when football officially returned to Hammond, America.

Since then, SLU has enjoyed its fair share of success on the field, winning SLC titles in 2013, 2014 and 2022 as well as making five FBS playoff appearances all within the last decade.

For the sake of my non-sports people out there, I’ll stop going on about the tradition of SLU football. I am presenting you with this background information to let you know that we have a really good football program right here at Southeastern and despite how they performed on the field this season, they have consistently been a winner at not only the regional, but also the national stage.

Remember when I told you that Strawberry Stadium held a capacity of 7,408? Yeah, well this season SLU had an average attendance rate of 53.4%. That means that in five home games on the year, roughly 3,956 of a possible 7,408 were in the stands.

Now remember, this includes away fans, although there usually aren’t too many outside of the River Bell Classic game vs. Nicholls.

While that’s not terrible, it definitely could be a lot better. I think a reasonable goal for 2024 is to try to get the average attendance rate up to around 60%.

Now I will address the elephant in the room. Why should you go to more SLU games, if any at all?

Firstly, as a student at Southeastern, it shows great school spirit and pride to support all of your athletic teams but no one can deny that, especially in Louisiana, football is the number one sport.

Financially speaking, I know college and classes are far from cheap and students are always looking for a way to save money. Football games are free for students!

Also, keep in mind that the more attendance at the games, the more notoriety for the program and ultimately more national recognition, which can lead to more money being made for the school, benefiting students in the long run.

Even if you don’t enjoy sports, football games are a great way to spend the afternoon with your friends and bond over your love for Southeastern.

The tailgates are always fun. Greek life and numerous other organizations host tailgates in and around the stadium in the hours before kickoff. It’s a time and place where food and drinks are abundant, as well as just an overall good time with friends and family too.

I do think that going to home games for football should be advertised to students as well. This would help with the overall attendance.

Overall, going to more Southeastern football games not only shows great school spirit and helps the team play better but it’s also an opportunity to bond with current friends as well as a way to meet new ones.

Seeing the Green and Gold throughout campus on an SLU gameday is truly something special. It’s a day when our quaint little town of Hammond can come together and root for the Lions!

The louder the crowd at the ‘Berry, the tougher it is for the opposition in the actual game and trust me, the players feed off the energy. Success in collegiate athletics often can carry over into academics and overall improvements to a university, the more notoriety a program achieves.

Keep that in mind and try to attend at least one home football game next fall. I promise you, you won’t regret it.

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About the Contributor
Chase Gispert, Sports Editor
Chase Gispert is a communication major with a concentration in sports communication. He joined The Lion’s Roar in March of 2021 and now serves as sports editor. Chase is a native of Madisonville. He has a strong passion for sports and is excited about where the future may take him.
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  • J

    Joey GrazianoDec 18, 2023 at 4:31 am

    Sincere article… made good points.
    More direct advertisement to students and groups (Geeks, clubs) and faculty /staff could help attendance as well.

    Over last couple years I’ve been to football, basketball, and baseball games. SLU does a great job with game management. Event presentation and pageantry are excellent… crowds are good at times but better attendance would enhance the experience.

    The River Bell Classic was impressive! Nice crowd and atmosphere. Team played their hearts out. It was real college football.

    Reply
  • R

    Rosemary GARDNERDec 15, 2023 at 7:36 pm

    NO ONE in Ponchatoula, Amite
    , or Kentwood wants to watch out of state players play locally.
    SLU could draft athletes from Parish schools and have large turnouts at their games. Band members, dance teams, also draw parents and friends to games. Bring in local talent and their followers will attend games. SLU has had less than stellar teams with outside the Parish talent, why not recruit locally? I say bring in LOCAL PLAYERS and you will see a much needed increase in fans to fill the seats!!!

    Reply