The Instagram increase: how USU soccer multiplied fans at home games this season

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The Utah State University soccer team has seen an increase in attendance for home games this season and social media is a big part of the reason why.

“Our attendance numbers overall this year have been up immensely,” said head coach Heather Cairns. “I think a lot of that is because of how our marketing team has been able to use social media to get the word out there.”

The Aggies have broken records in attendance twice this year with their game against the University of Utah, which attracted 1,438 fans, then again with the game against BYU with 1,945.

The average number in attendance for the home matches this season was 745. Last year, the team saw an average of 504 fans at each home game.

Cairns and her staff work with the sports information director, Megan Allen, to keep social media posts consistent. Morgan Talbot, with the athletics department of marketing, works with the team’s social media for promotions and exposure to increase attendance at games.

For the last home game of the season, the marketing department ran a “Freebie Friday” for the fans who attended the soccer game. The first 100 fans who showed up received free mugs from the marketing department. That led to a total of 605 fans in attendance, compared to the 507 who attended last season’s senior night.

Two starters from the team have noticed the number of fans increasing over this past season and said it has affected how the team plays.

“I really think having a bigger crowd has helped our morale,” said sophomore goalkeeper Grace McGuire. “Having the fans there to push us really puts a fire beneath our feet.”

Utah State soccer went undefeated at home in conference play this season and 7-4 in conference, finishing third in the Mountain West. Senior forward Jessica Brooksby said this is at least in small part due to the large crowd attendance at games.

“In conference we’ve been doing well at home, I think the crowd definitely helps,” Brooksby said. “Their energy is amazing. We’re excited to come out here and put on a show for our home fans.”

On top of the social media posts from the team’s official accounts, both McGuire and Brooksby said they make a special effort to spread the word about their team and their games through social media.

“Everybody on our team posts something on game day, through retweets and likes it seems that it ends up on pretty much everybody’s feed,” McGuire said. “In seeing it over and over again, people sometimes think, ‘oh, that’s a big deal, I should really go to that!’ And it has helped us a lot.”

Brooksby, who finished her final season with the Aggies this Fall, has been starting for the Utah State soccer team for four seasons now and said that, in comparison to other sports at the university, she thinks the fans could do even better than this season.

“It’s sad because you go to the Spectrum and you see it full and just think how crazy that would be to have it here,” Brooksby said. “But we’ve had a lot more fans this year than I’ve ever seen before so their support has been awesome and I love it, but I think they could do more.”

McGuire, who still has two years of eligibility on the team, predicted the attendance to continue to increase through next year.

“Hopefully attendance continues to be on the rise,” McGuire said. “I know the freshman class next year is supposed to be bigger than next year, so that really helps with our fan-base.”