My friends and I road tripped to Los Angeles this past weekend to attend the ASU vs. USC football game. Despite the embarrassing Sun Devil loss, we managed to have a great mini-vacation.
We purhcased our tickets through the ASU Alumni Association, so our seats were in the ASU section (which, of course, was the worst section of the stadium). The entire sections was mostly gold t-shirts, with the exception of a few USC fans. Even before we started losing by more than a touch down, I was embarrassed by our fans’ behaviors.
First, a fight broke out between a group of ASU students and a USC fan sitting near them. As the USC woman, who was obviously drunk, was escorted out of the section, the students began chanting “ASU” at her. It was as if they forgot we were sitting in their stadium and losing by a lot.
Later, ASU fans began fist fighting with each other! Then, because the students didn’t realize that the fight was among our own kind, the “ASU” chants started up again. Classy! USC security had to break up the fight and calm down the crying, drunk girls.
The entire experience was pretty embarrassing for me and my well-behaved friends. I couldn’t help but make the public relations connection. Team brands are heavily influenced by fan base behavior (Oakland Raiders, anyone?). ASU fans seem to be on track to develop a bad reputation. If we keep this up, other stadiums will stop offering us tickets – and rightfully so. What a PR nightmare that would be.