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OPINION: Three Things Georgetown Can Do to Improve Outreach

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The season quickly approaches, fans await news, roster update

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 06 Georgetown at Butler Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Today is October 8th, 2021 and the following Tweet—a very solid video on its own—is about the most insight that fans of the Georgetown Hoyas have seen since the 2021 recap on April 30th. The Hoyas’ first game is 36 days away and fans don’t even have an updated roster! This humble lunch blog contributor is a patient, optimistic GU supporter, but the grumbles of Hoyas fans are growing louder—we need more access and insight to this year’s team!

Only a fool would think he could get the good folks at McDonough and the Thompson Center to have a series of meetings about speeding up the release of basketball news. We understand. We get it. Resources are limited—the video producers are clearly stretched thin. Finalization of social media posts moves slowly. Things have to be approved by coaches, administrators, lawyers, sponsors, lobbyists and other bureaucrats. Plus, it’s been a tough year.

But then a Hoyas fan might look at other programs inside and outside Georgetown—including the GU women’s basketball team, which does have some player spotlights and a new roster updated—and ask, why not Patrick Ewing’s team? It’s hard for a the Hoya faithful not to be envious.

Outreach in the pandemic era seems to be as important as ever and a has shown to be a great investment in businesses’ stakeholders. Brand leaders everywhere have embraced the virtual touch point and not hesitated from producing interviews, videos, and calls for engagement. Waiting COVID out isn’t going to work. We have had a year and a half of this mess under our belts and should know how to plan months ahead, right? Other programs in the BIG EAST seem to have figured it out. Georgetown seems to have stepped backwards.

For example, Georgetown finally made an announcement about an NIL partnership last week with the press release of The Blueprint. With NIL rules coming into play on July 1, 2021, an October 4th release is not all that bad timing-wise for Georgetown. However, the press release included a quote from INFCLR CEO saying “We’ve been working with Georgetown since 2019.” That seems like a while that INFLCR was kept on the down-low. One might even suspect that the INFLCR press release was stuck in Review Purgatory so long that it caught up to the Athliance announcement and the two were merged. Kidding, kinda. Moreover, everyone knows Georgetown was working on something for NIL long before July 1st because, well, President Jack DeGioia is Chairman of the NCAA Board of Governors and clearly saw this rule change coming. The point is, portions of Georgetown’s “The Blueprint” were likely ready for reveal to the world this summer but took months for it to be reviewed and published. Why? Who made the decision to delay this very-marketable info? Was there a bottleneck? How can we fix it?

And it might not just be the fans who suffer from the delay. Denver Anglin remains the solo commitment for the class of 2022. If you believe several Hoyas news outlets and message boards who follow recruiting well, one might say that Ewing’s staff has “whiffed” so far on the other ‘22 recruits, after having about a dozen very highly ranked recruits visit campus in June. A couple recruits said Georgetown presented some good NIL ideas regarding D.C., so maybe they saw the video we just received. Of course, recruiting has its own issues, to be addressed on another post, but increased social media presence seems like an easy way to show off for potential recruits. It can also help develop NIL opportunities, which aid recruiting and retention.

In March, Georgetown Basketball had its best momentum in years—with a top recruiting class coming in, a BIG EAST Tournament Championship, and trip to the NCAA Tournament—and it still feels like the Blue & Gray are chanting “Georgetown does it’s talking on the court.” Sure, winning games would cure a lot, but perhaps Ewing and Co. have missed out on a recruit (or donor) based on a lukewarm social media presence.

That’s not to say that there haven’t been a few positive signs from GU Athletics fairly recently. The lower bowl ticketing plan sounds promising, the GU social media and video teams are working wonders for all sports (though, stretched thin), and the Kente birthday posts are a nice touch. Fans thought we were making huge headway two seasons ago when Patrick Ewing started a weekly radio show on SiriusXM, but that feels like forever ago in time and philosophy. It almost feels like the program took a few steps back in communication with their most ardent supporters since the BIG EAST Tournament win—especially considering that the man who allegedly set the tone of silence for four decades, John Thompson Jr., passed away.

Again, this blog post is not going to expose any potential choke points in the McDonough-Healy information flow. This is not going to be some wake-up-call passed through the AD’s office via email and Teams calls. Casual Hoya has lovingly referred to the program as “the Kremlin” for a reason—it’s been built like this for almost half a century and it’s not changing. But maybe something small comes from shouting into the wind. Maybe we get a roster or an open practice or something to tide us over until Dartmouth comes to town.

Still, I plead that Georgetown Athletics needs to find a way to allocate more people and resources to marketing and social media, specifically for the biggest money-drawing sport, Georgetown Men’s Basketball.

In the meantime, here are a couple events that fans have been crying out for loudest.

1. Hoya Madness

In fairness, this event has been on life support since rapper Fabolous was hired, then fired. Timing for a true, in-person Hoya Madness has passed, but Georgetown could still find a different form for this event this year… or make some announcement?

An in-person event is largely unreasonable. It’s understandable for Georgetown to not want to risk exposing the basketball team(s) to several hundred fans, but even Kenner League had an announcement of its hiatus. There was not even a whisper about some sort of fan outreach around the traditional midnight madness this year. It’s reasonable to skip it another year, but it’s really rough seeing other schools put on their shows.

Knowing how cautious the Hoyas would be, there were two options: (1) have some sort of pep rally and introduction to the winter sports teams on Cooper Field or (2) do another Zoom show with Patrick Ewing answering John Fanta’s carefully pre-selected questions. There’s still time.

Anything that produces quotes and video is a social media goldmine. An event like this would be great content to re-cut and share for the next four weeks. Georgetown Basketball needs some kind of Hoya Madness.

2. Announce an Open Practice

Open Practice used to be a great family-friendly event, where season ticket holders and donors could mingle with the coaches and players, get autographs and photographs. It can be a deal driver for ticket sales.

Again, with an in-person event like this, risk of exposure is probably too great, but this smaller crowd size might allow for a Ewing speech outside McDonough, plus some social-distanced seating inside. There are other options to hold a similar fan-outreach event.

Marquette has an open practice and a Halloween event. UConn has their “First Night” televised and streamable. Villanofun actually live-streamed and recorded their scrimmage. Whether it’s an open practice or madness-type presentation, fans need to hear about it soon.

Now, in this case, there actually are some whispers of an NIL-meet-and-greet in the works, but it’s not a GU-sponsored event and it may be at least a month away. Again, even a live stream of layup drills on a Tuesday afternoon would go a long way.

3. Update the Roster

This issue has taken on a life of its own—almost exemplary of a perceived indifference. Some fans on Twitter have noted that they might be upset when, one day, GUHoyas.com no longer presents #0 Jahvon Blair, et al. as the current roster for the Georgetown Men’s Basketball Team. I will not be one of them. Still, I’m not holding my breath for a 2021-22 roster update any time soon.

GUHoyas.com

One has trouble fathoming a potential hold-up in this update. Everyone on the team appears to be on campus and photographed. The women’s roster is up-to-date. It’s not hard to imagine that some fans are starting to forget the new names already. Ewing adds five freshmen and two transfers, and the average fan is supposed to know them and love them before a game next month? Yikes. Not to mention, some folks are actively questioning whether one or the transfers will be playing this season. The roster silence seems to indicate there is something more to the story than bio write-ups.

@atg.treking

For what it’s worth, the roster last year was updated in late October, but that was a really, really messed up pre-season. Perhaps the roster comes out today on this warm autumn Friday afternoon. Maybe not.

BONUS OUTREACH: Hire Allen Iverson

Okay, I realize that including this one may undercut the legitimate gripes that are presented above, but a recent interview with hall-of-famer Allen Iverson revealed a desire to help the Philadelphia 76ers organization. The Sixers have their own issues right now, and if A.I. is offering some expertise on a consulting-basis, Patrick Ewing and the Hoyas need to talk to him. Seeing him at the Iverson Classic with a former Georgetown recruit, Iverson has sway with younger players and may be able to coach some of intangible skills needed for high-level competition. It would also be a recruiting tool to mention to guards.

It’s a win-win for him, too, as Iverson can show off his maturity and plant further seeds within the NBA and Sixers’ organization that Allen can be a successful, serious, dependable and punctual coach. Sure the interview is done as a promotion for his new cannabis venture, but you can’t ever question Chuck’s heart.

These aren’t asking much. I don’t want to be too critical of a program that I love and school that I give a lot of my time to—especially considering that other sports have been doing so well. Georgetown Athletics appear very healthy as the posts and videos have improved, NIL appears to be growing, and crowds are showing up to games and matches.

But Georgetown Basketball is still shying away from available limelight and risking alienating some diehard fans. Things should have been amping up these past few weeks, but Georgetown appears behind. It was excusable last year, but it’s hard not to worry about losing momentum and falling behind rival teams and recruiters right now.

Georgetown has released ticket sales info and, as a reminder, tickets are available for free for the opening game on November 13th.

Ticket Announcement:

Coach Ewing brings in a Top 10 nationally ranked recruiting class and we need you in the stands to welcome them to Georgetown! In order to celebrate the return of fans to the arena, anyone can register for up to 4 FREE tickets for the Hoyas season opener v. Dartmouth on Saturday, Nov. 13 at 2PM. Register for free seats by filling out this form with your information.

The Hoyas have an exciting home schedule this season. Secure your seats for the reigning BIG EAST Tournament Champions’ biggest games with a mini-season plan. Get the games you want at whatever price, location, and flexibility you choose. There are two different partial season options available:

Hoyas Flex Plan

10-ticket pass for $199 (Less than $20/ticket!)

20-ticket pass for $299 (Less than $10/ticket!)

The Hoya Flexa Pass is the most flexible ticket option for Georgetown Basketball fans! You choose the matchup and the number of tickets needed for each game as you go - all 2021-22 home games will be available.

For maximum flexibility, you can redeem your tickets before the season starts or as late as halftime of any given game!

To purchase, visit here for 10 vouchers or here for 20 vouchers. More information and ticket redemption limits can be found here.

Hoyas Mini Plan

The plan you know and love, but with a twist. We wanted fans to be able to fully customize their plan to fit with their schedule. Choose any four to six home games, choose your seats in advance, and head to the arena on gameday. It’s that easy!

Ticket prices per game vary. Options start each game at $18 or $23.

To purchase, visit here.

HOYA SAXA