Fall sports set AU attendance records

AU athletic attendance has increased this year, bringing in record-breaking crowds at men’s and women’s soccer, field hockey and women’s volleyball games.

“Attendance so far this year has been tremendous,” said Andrew Bashuk, assistant director of marketing for Athletics. “I think that we certainly hope and expect that to continue … It’s about spreading the word and making sure students know when the games are.”

One of the three record-breaking athletic events so far this year was the women’s Aug. 29 volleyball game against George Mason University. It broke the record for the amount of people to attend a volleyball game in D.C. with 2,055 attendees.

The other two of the three record-breaking athletic events were the men’s soccer game against Bucknell University and the women’s soccer game against Georgetown University.

Record attendance numbers this year include the following, according to AU Athletic archives:

• Women’s volleyball: Aug. 29 game against George Mason University (2,055) • Men’s soccer: Sept. 25 game against Bucknell University (1,006) • Women’s soccer: Aug. 23 game against Georgetown University (1,511) • Women’s field hockey: Oct. 10 game against Duke University (1,013)

“Attendance at athletic games is better than it’s ever been before,” SG President Nate Bronstein said.

The Student Government and the Department of Athletics are coming together to ensure the continuing improvement and support of AU school spirit. Bronstein issued an executive order to combine the Blue Crew with the SG Department of Unity and Spirit, providing the student leadership Blue Crew was lacking before.

AU’s Blue Crew student group is an avenue for spreading spirit and encouraging students to attend athletic events on campus, Bronstein said.

“The Department of Unity and Spirit does not have the name or recognition of Blue Crew, but it does have the infrastructure,” Bronstein said. “Blue Crew has the name and recognition, but doesn’t have the leadership. What I decided to do was to combine them.”

As a result, Bronstein created the Blue Crew Representative position in the SG Department of Unity and Spirit. Bronstein has received multiple applications for the position.

Despite its new oversight by the SG, the Blue Crew would still be financed by the Department of Athletics.

“We want something that is not only good for next year, five years, ten years. We want to create something that’s lasting,” Bashuk said. “This is a way to have it down on paper and say this is what we’re doing.”

Bashuk said athletic attendance is only part of the equation. Although it is ideal to have a large turnout for games, spirit and support are more elusive aspects that make for a great season, he said.

“The crowd is important, but it’s more the support,” Bashuk said. “Sometimes it’s intangible, and we judge it by a crowd number. But there’s more to it than that. This is another step that will last beyond us.”

amooney@theeagleonline.com

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