Navy’s clever promotion: Free tickets for fans who win at rock-paper-scissors

Attendance at Navy basketball games has long been sparse on weeknights, so associate director of marketing Chris Grosse spent some time earlier this winter brainstorming ideas to entice families to bring their kids on a school night.

The promotion he came up with is clever and original enough that it just might work.

Fans who attend Navy's Feb. 5 home game against Boston University will have a chance to play rock-paper-scissors against the school mascot at the door. Those who beat Bill the Goat will receive free admission into that game or a future game and those who lose will have to pay full price.

"The idea really just came to me randomly as a lot of ideas for promotions come," Grosse said. "I talked to a couple of people around the office, and everyone liked it. We have a few people who work in minor league baseball here and they were surprised they hadn't seen it before. I was surprised nobody had done it before too because it's a popular, fun game with kids."

The logistics of setting up the promotion have been easy – with one exception. Grosse had to double check that the mascot had hands instead of hooves.

"Obviously that was a big thing," Grosse said with a chuckle. "If he didn't have fingers, everyone would have just thrown paper and won."

Having lost 9 0f its last 11 games to fall to 7-12 overall this season, Navy basketball isn't exactly a hot ticket this season. Grosse isn't expecting a huge bump in attendance next Wednesday, but he has been encouraged by the response to the promotion on social media since it was announced Monday night.

"It will be interesting to see if it does bring people out," he said. "I expect we'll see a few more people than we usually do. I don't think it will be a 700-person line at the door or anything, but the publicity via social media should help."

(Thanks, Eye on College Basketball)