Football concert series: Mercer’s bold new plan to increase football game attendance


Image: Suzanna Arul

Ethan Payne performs at the concert series.

Mercer University’s athletics department launched an exciting plan to increase their football game attendance numbers for the 2019 season.

Partnering with the Ford Motor Company, Mercer Athletics announced that the university would hold a concert on Black Field before every home game. The series will feature well-known local talents.

The concert series kicked off Sept. 14 with a concert dubbed “478 Day,” representing the Central Georgia area code.

Molly Stevens, who headlined the show, was a former contestant on “The Voice” and a Mercer graduate. Floco Torres, who continually performs at Macon music festival Bragg Jam, performed as well, in addition to Ethan Payne, a former contestant on American Idol’s most recent season.

Associate athletic director Daniel Tate said the athletic department hopes to improve fan attendance with the new initiative. 

“We wanted to create a game day experience that would be inclusive to both the community and fans,” Tate said. “We hope that we will attract those who may not have a strong interest in football to come out and enjoy the atmosphere that Mercer has to offer.” 

According to a tweet from Mercer Athletics, nearly 12,000 fans attended the game, and Tate said well over 1,000 attended the concert.

“It was really good. I enjoyed the performance. I like what they’re trying to do in order to get people out to the games,” senior Gabby Sims said.

 Tate said the athletics department hopes that the concerts will recruit athletes, community members and prospective students to come to Mercer. 

“Athletics is a big part of the university. Our win over Duke in 2014 played a big part in recruiting students and athletes alike to Mercer University,” Tate said. 

Tate credits the university administration with allowing departments to have free range with creative ideas to come up with unique ways to increase student engagement.

Freshman Hannah Bonney said the new concert series is a great way to get more people out to the games.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Bonney said. “I’m not super into football, but I’ll definitely go to the games now that they added the concerts.”  

To further increase fan engagement, the university plans to use the new jumbotron to allow fans to tweet in, ask questions and choose songs. Tate said Mercer football head coach Bobby Lamb even jokingly floated the idea of letting fans call a play. 

The concert series will take place on Black Field located behind the endzone before the games. The athletics department will post any changes revolving concert details to the Mercer Athletics social media accounts.