Empty Dowdy-Ficklen stadium at ECU (Jeremy Brevard/US Presswire)
East Carolina isn't going to a bowl game this year, but that hasn't stopped the university's Pirate Club from selling tickets to one. According to an email sent out by the club to donors, the club is offering $50 tickets to East Carolina's "2011 Virtual Bowl."
That's right, $50 for a fake ticket to a fake game in a fake stadium at a fake date and time.
ECU Pirate (Jeremy Brevard/US Presswire)
Here's the text of the email thanks to WRAL Sports:
Our East Carolina University Pirate football team had an exciting season but fell one game short of qualifying for the program's sixth straight bowl game. The Pirate football team is in goods hands with Coach Ruffin McNeill and his staff. There is a tremendous amount of young talent and our program has a bright future.
East Carolina University Athletics wants to show the college football world the passion of the Pirate Nation, even in a "bowless" year for the university. The Pirate Club is excited to announce the 2011 Virtual Bowl. Our challenge will be to sell more tickets than our bowl-bound Conference USA opponents and bowl-bound teams from the Big East. The Virtual Bowl appeal will go through December 23.
Tickets for the Virtual Bowl are $50 a piece and can be purchase by calling the Pirate Club Offices at 252-737-4540 or by going online at ecupirateclub.com. Virtual Bowl tickets purchased will be tax deductable and donors will receive one priority point for every ticket purchased. All proceeds from the Virtual Bowl will go towards the "Step-Up To The Highest Level Campaign". Go Pirates!
So, instead of soliciting private donations for athletic facilities the normal way, East Carolina has challenged its fans to outsell actual bowl-bound Conference USA schools for a bowl game that doesn't exist? What's worse is that it's not even an event. The players won't be there to greet those who purchase "tickets," and McNeill won't be thanking anyone for their participation. It's just East Carolina asking for a handout.
This has to be one of the strangest and saddest marketing strategies to date.
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