Yesterday, Rutgers announced details of their promotion for the football season opener on Friday, September 1st at 8 p.m. against #7 Washington. Billed the “War Before The Shore”, there are several features and events taking place.
Here is a full breakdown from the press release that was sent out:
”We are excited to kick off the start of college football in a big way,” said Rick Thorpe, Senior Associate AD for External Affairs and Strategic Communications. “From hosting a showdown with a top-10, Pac-12 power in front of a nationally-televised audience, coupled with enjoying all of the shore-themed promotions that we have planned for the entire gameday, and you have a fantastic way to start off the long holiday weekend. Everyone from across the entire state is invited to come out to enjoy the action and cheer on your Scarlet Knights.”
Celebrating the launch of Rutgers’ new apparel partner, adidas, the first 5,000 fans into the stadium will receive a specially branded "War Before the Shore" beach towel. An exclusive student giveaway of a Rutgers football branded adidas tank top and a pair of sunglasses will go to the first 2,000 students in the student section.
Piscataway, N.J. will be transformed into an honorary shore town for the day with boats, carnival and boardwalk games along Scarlet Knight Way as well as Jersey-themed food trucks, and many other surprises and promotions.
The Block R Party will feature performances by Good Noise, a Jersey Shore band, volleyball nets, lifeguard stands and a 10x12 foot sand sculpture outside the stadium. There will also be a Kids’ Zone with inflatables, face painters, balloon animals, a magician and juggler.
Inside the stadium, students will have the chance to view the game from the best seats in the house - a pool or Jacuzzi atop the student section. There will be boats in the north end zone with all fans given the opportunity to win a seat and watch the game from field level. The High Point Solutions Stadium concession stands will also feature Jersey Shore-oriented options.
I’ll admit it, I thought it was clever, but didn’t prioritize writing on it. I thought the university did a great job launching the promotion, as the marketing of the athletic department, particularly on social media, has been on its “A” game for a long time now. I figured this was something we could cover closer to the actual game taking place. The title of the promotion was actually released last week, but the details of the event, including a jacuzzi OR pool being added to the student section, wasn’t announced until yesterday.
That last detail has received a ton of attention from the national media and several popular online sites. Inevitably, most articles written have taken yet another opportunity to make fun of our favorite football program. Alas, now it’s a story I realize we need to cover.
Rutgers students can relax in a Jacuzzi while their team gets trounced by Washingtonhttps://t.co/H78HfUdUaV— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 17, 2017
Rutgers will install a 'temporary pool or jacuzzi' at the top of the student section for opener vs Washington: https://t.co/TUZeWGArbS— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) August 17, 2017
Rutgers declares war on Washington, comes armed with jacuzzi for fans https://t.co/OxmOeu3adE— CollegeFootballTalk (@CFTalk) August 17, 2017
Want to watch Rutgers get blown out from the comfort of a Jacuzzi? Mark your calendars for Sept. 1 https://t.co/KJ3WZY37WM— SI College Football (@si_ncaafb) August 17, 2017
I commend the athletic department and marketing team for coming up with a fun, inventive way to ring in Labor Day weekend and do their best to pack High Point Solutions Stadium for the season opener. Part of me wished that they worried more about how certain ideas will be perceived, or more so, blown out of proportion, by the majority of mainstream online sites and national media. The reality is people love to make fun of Rutgers. I hate it and you probably do too. However, I do respect that university and athletic officials care more about the fans of Rutgers than the opinions of outsiders.
We, as fans, have lived through the ridicule to various degrees for years. The fact that this is being mocked and made fun of is the least surprising thing I’ve heard all week. My response is this:
Let them! Don’t let the lazy clickbait posts get you down. This is Jersey and our beloved home state has been getting criticized, ridiculed and has been misunderstood for decades. That’s why it’s actually poetic that in recent years, due to missteps on and off the field, that Rutgers has been treated the same way within the college sports world. It doesn’t make me like it, but it actually reminds me of why I’m so proud to be a Rutgers alumnus. I don’t need to point out to true Rutgers supporters of how many positive things that are currently taking place under the new regime led by athletic director Pat Hobbs. There is no point in educating the national media though, because hating on Rutgers simply sells and it would be bad business otherwise.
As I wrote earlier this summer when Big Ten fans complained yet again about Rutgers, it’s time to embrace the hate. I should have included the national media who jump on the bandwagon and mock all things Rutgers every chance they get as well. Let their ignorance of all of the positive things taking place continue. The more outside fans and media sleep on Rutgers, the more satisfying the eventual rise of our athletic programs will be. Take this for what it’s worth. They’re all looking for an easy, brainless post on a Friday afternoon in late summer.
If you follow any of the Rutgers teams or programs on social media, then you already know the marketing department is consistently great. It’s been a lot of fun to see Rutgers highlighted in such an inventive, visually appealing, and positive way. The athletic department deserves such support on this end, after not being marketed in such a smart and relentless way, pretty much ever. Just because certain promotions like this one might be ahead of where our teams are on the field, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy the entire experience and embrace the journey along the way.
And who knows, Rutgers might just come out on Friday night, September 1st and truly make this game a war on the field, making the action live up to the billing of this contest. Washington is used to a quiet bay environment, not a boisterous, enthusiastic, Jersey shore like atmosphere. The longer Rutgers can make it a battle on the field, the harder it will be for Washington to win easily, the way you know they expect to. To quote the great “Duke”, Apollo’s trainer from Rocky, let’s hope Washington fans mutter this phrase similar to the one from the iconic movie: “Rutgers doesn't know it's a damn show! Rutgers thinks it's a damn fight!
If you weren’t planning to attend the game already, use today as motivation to pack High Point Solutions Stadium two weeks from tonight. Let’s represent on national television and prove that nobody supports their team like Rutgers fans. If we can do that as a fan base, we will have the last laugh. Whether its two weeks from now, or down the road, we’ll have it on the field, too.