When Kansas State officials met with members of the school's student advisory committee last month, they sought feedback on what types of giveaways would entice more students to attend women's basketball games.
Students weren't especially enthusiastic about traditional promotions like free T-shirts, bobblehead dolls or slices of pizza, but there was one more creative idea that proved to be more intriguing.
"It was really honestly more of a joke when we threw it out to the committee at first," said Bethany Cordell, a graduate assistant in Kansas State's Fan Experience and Sales office. "We were like, 'What about bacon?' When we got such an overwhelmingly excited response, it was something we definitely had to look into."
Kansas State announced Tuesday that it indeed will test whether America's most sizzling phenomenon can drive student attendance. Students who attend Friday night's women's basketball season opener against Tennessee State will receive five slices of bacon apiece if they show a valid student ID.
Word of the promotion spread so quickly via blogs and social media that Kansas State had to triple its order to its concessionaire. Caterers will now cook 300 pounds of bacon for the students instead of the 100 Kansas State initially requested.
"We're ecstatic about how it has been received," Cordell said. "We definitely anticipated a strong response from our students because we had done our background research but the national attention we're really surprised about and appreciative of. We're just excited to have everyone talking about K-State."
Cordell anticipated about 1,000 students attending Friday night's game, a huge turnout considering the opponent. If that many students indeed show up, don't expect the bacon giveaway to be a one-time-only thing.
"We'll see how it goes on Friday," Cordell said. "If people are just as excited about it on Friday, this is something we'll definitely look at doing again."
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