Ask TKP: How any of you would kick in money to attend an open practice or scrimmage?

Some Sunday food for thought.

Back in the Beamer days there were usually a combination of 3 open practices and scrimmages for fans to attend both during the spring and summer (6 total). On Fuente's watch, that's been whittled down to a single opportunity to watch Virginia Tech football before the season: the spring game (in person). The fanbase diehards loved the open practices and scrimmages. It was a great opportunity to get back to Blacksburg and take in some football. Many attended the mid-summer scrimmages and discussed what they saw. It created a buzz in the air about the program and got Hokie Nation excited about the upcoming season.

Locking down the football program cannot help fundraising, at least at the grass roots level (Whit can deliver a high-touch experience for large donors). To get people to pay for something, and more importantly keep paying for something, you have to interact with them at as many "touch points" as possible. Virginia Tech has few offseason touch points (most notably: the spring game and fan day). There is little keeping fans engaged in the offseason months, and that's not optimal.

Everyone is always talking about Virginia Tech, money, and the former not having enough of the latter. Well, why not both get more Hokies engaged in throughout the whole year (not only the football season months) and raise some coin. Hard hat β€” that's what Tech has recently branded around the football program. OK, open up some practices and/or scrimmages this offseason. Put a hard hat outside of every entrance for donations.

How many of you would show up, and drop at least $10 in?

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Comments

I wouldn't specifically make the trip from New Jersey to Blacksburg for an open practice or scrimmage, but if I happened to be in blacksburg, or if i lived a whole lot closer, sure... I'd drop in ten bucks to go in and watch

My wife takes the kids and leaves the house while I watch my Hokie games.........nuff said

I would've handed the money over for each practice while I was a student. Now that I live in Alexandria? I'd probably just pay entry/donate at the spring game. If I happened to be in Blacksburg you can guarantee I'd be dragging everyone I know to it and paying money.

I think this is a good idea and would easily generate a little more revenue for the football program. Will it be implemented while Fuente is coach? No. But maybe under the next coach, whenever that is.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

I wouldn't mind paying $10 to get in to the spring game. Also would spend some dough on concessions and merch even if it was limited to only a couple spots in Lane.

Seems the hotels have already jacked up pricing for the spring game as I had planned on making the trip this year until I saw those prices.

I am always in the more access is good camp, though I think I'd take everyone's phone away from them (to many twitter hottakes). It's a different time than it was when Beamer started opening practices.

But I do think if fans saw what went on in practice we'd have a better understand of where Hendon was last summer.

I just dont like the idea of some one having a bad day getting posted online. What if some one has a bad day because they are tired from waking up to a fire alarm every hour because people are dicks.

A couple of counterpoints:

Beamer had open access in the age of cellphone cameras, message boards and social media.

How is having a bad day in an open scrimmage any different than one in a nationally televised game?

Logan Thomas starting team lost to the 2nd team (spotted points if I remember right).

"You don't stare into a rearview mirror"

It's still sad to recall that Logan Thomas was the QB that, despite winning 11 games, led us through the transition from us to Clemson at the top of the ACC. Not his fault, but he was at the end of a great era.

My 2020 Season/Covid19 Challenge: only comment with Marvel memes.

My 2019 Season Challenge: only comment with Star Wars memes. (completed as of Nov. 29)

Ah yes, and Sam Rogers' spirit kept me believing...miss seeing that guy on the field.

Reach for Excellence!

VT Football: It'll get after ya!

Proud Hokie since 2004.

How is having a bad day in an open scrimmage any different than one in a nationally televised game?

Is it such a bad thing that Fuente wants a closed-off environment so only 90% of his players' football lives are subjected to social media instead of 100%?

Given how social media works, almost everything about the players' lives is subjected to praise/criticism by the cheap seats. There is almost no privacy. I think it's endearing that Fuente cares about his players enough that he gives them, forgive the phrase, a "safe space" for his players to evolve.

Take QP as an example. He has all the tools but is still an incredibly raw product. He's going to suck a lot in practice before he reaches his potential. I don't think it's healthy for QP to have thousands of people (90% of whom have no idea what they're talking about) comment on every unfinished iteration of his game.

I remember watching some daytime talk show where they were talking about kids getting bullied in grade school. 20 years ago, at least the bullying stopped when the kid got home. Today with the advent of social media, it's 24/7. I'm, not a psychiatrist but that's probably not a good thing. That's not a completely analogous situation but I think it kind of makes my point.

His motives aren't bad, but it's a policy to account for the absolute minority of the fanbase. The overwhelming majority of Hokie Nation supports the hell out of its athletes.

For all the years things were more open, most every take I can recall was a positive.

His motives aren't bad, but it's a policy to account for the absolute minority of the fanbase. The overwhelming majority of Hokie Nation supports the hell out of its athletes.

Unfortunately, the loudest voices in the room are the ones that get listened to the most.

For all the years things were more open, most every take I can recall was a positive.

We were also winning 10+ games/year for "most of the years things were most open". I'd be shocked if Beamer loved having it so open when we were 2-8-1.

I'm just curious Joe, why is this such a sticking point for you? Does having access to 15-20 hours of on-field practice really make a difference in the quality of content you put out or your personal buy-in as a VT fan? I remember you and French (among others) have made comments about this before, it seems like a weird gripe to have.

Unfortunately, the loudest voices in the room are the ones that get listened to the most.

Except this analogy doesn't hold. The loudest voices on social media are those with the most followers β€” that's the megaphone β€” not a bunch of Twitter eggs bitching about players.

And it's a sticking point to me because I think it's a wasted opportunity to engage the fanbase, create some damn enthusiasm for the program, and ultimately bring in extra cash. At the end of the day I don't agree with the policy and never will.

More than anything else the fanbase and sense of community makes Virginia Tech β€” the whole darn thing football included β€” special. That's an actual advantage Tech has to leverage, and Fuente has disregarded it. It doesn't make sense to me for a program that has trouble fundraising to disengage its potential donors.

And it's a sticking point to me because I think it's a wasted opportunity to engage the fanbase, create some damn enthusiasm for the program, and ultimately bring in extra cash. At the end of the day I don't agree with the policy and never will.

It's weird we're not seeing eye to eye about this, I usually agree with your takes.

I think an open practice in order to "engage the fanbase" and "create enthusiasm" for the program is a band-aid at best. The only thing that will actually create more interest is the same at any other program- winning to the standard we set for them. IMHO the "I'm happy with where the program is at" standard for VT is: 10+ wins, coastal crown, beat UVa. We were 0/3 last year.

It seems like a simple solution to me. But, if they want to control the narrative, I am fine with that as well, but they need to really up the content.

"You don't stare into a rearview mirror"

More than anything else the fanbase and sense of community makes Virginia Tech β€” the whole darn thing football included β€” special. That's an actual advantage Tech has to leverage, and Fuente has disregarded it.

I don't think that's a fair statement.

Fuente hasn't scheduled a series of open practices. That doesn't mean he doesn't value the fanbase and community.

What's not fair about that statement?

I would go if I was local and gladly pay. The school needs to do more to advertise and collect for the hokie club in general.

With that said, I think having media available for practice and scrimmage is ultimately what will create the most buzz. I still remember folks gushing over Ryan Williams and we knew to be excited when he stepped onto the field.

"You don't stare into a rearview mirror"

I would be down with this idea. I think the spring is more for evaluation of players anyway and I would think the gameplan would be very vanilla. I have absolutely no problem with this. It wouldn't surprise me if Whit may have already thought of this, but it was turned down by Coach Fu.

Count me in

I would not pay to go into a scrimmage; if I'm trekking up to Blacksburg, I'm going to be tailgating and likely too inhebriated to pay attention to the subtleties of a game (which is the whole point of watching a scrimmage).

That said, I would be far more willing to pay $10 pay-per-view to stream the game from home.

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Too far of a drive for me too. I'd also pay $10 to pay-per-view the spring game. Put the dang spring game on the ACC network! PLEASE! Many of us already pay for a different tv package to get the ACC network. We're already kind of paying.

JP

I recall going to a scrimmage in the spring of '15. That would definitely be a nice
thing to have back. I don't know about money or what it would or should cost,
but Blacksburg is especially nice around that time.

I would. I secretly hope Fuente is planning on reinvigorating the fan base by winning a lot of football games with plenty of style points thrown in and that he's going to do it in 2020. But if he doesn't, maybe he could consider opening up the iron curtain just a smidge to promote fan engagement and maybe get some of the resources he's ostensibly been lobbying for

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

I haven't chimed in on this yet, so my answer will be a bit off topic.

When Frank came in, we were an independent, under sanctions, and didn't really have a brand. Frank has been quoted many times as saying you were as likely to see UNC and Duke gear on campus as VT. This is the truth as anyone on campus during this time frame can attest. Frank was trying to figure out how to get the fan base interested in VT football, and did a lot of things that seemed to give the media more access, such as opening practices and scrimmages. Frank was also very shrewd and saved the good stuff for himself. You had to go to beamerball.com to see stats, player grades for play, weight room numbers, etc. And that was a pay site, so you might see a teaser on the outside, but had to be a member to get the dirt.

Justin came from a different background and has a different perspective. He went to Oklahoma to play for Schnellenberger, but he resigned after one year. OU hired John Blake as the new coach. If your not familiar with John Blake, you should look him up (BAD DUDE). He started Justin before he was ready, and threw him into a bad predicament. This is a guy who was the top high school football player in Oklahoma, and who went on to have great success as a QB at Murray State. But a bad coach ruined his career at OU. I think Blake completely had a lasting negative impact on Justin.

Which leads us to now. Justin is probably a little too protective of the guys that play for him. He understands what it can be like to be the goat and doesn't want the guys to have the negative experience that he did. As was mentioned previously, social media and football media isn't what it used to be. It is 24/7/365.25 and everything these guys do, good or bad on the field or off, is put out for the whole world to see. It's harder now than ever to control the narrative. All it takes is one "journalist" with a chip on his shoulder to do damage to your program. Look at the debacle just a few weeks ago about the transfer portal.

Now back to the OP. I don't think they should charge anything to see the spring game. It's my experience that if some people are giving something but don't get any more access than the folks who give nothing, then they probably won't give anything either (cost/benefit analysis). I think the Hokie Club should be doing a hella big member drive outside of the stadium though and could take donations there. I also think they should at least have it aired on the ACC Network. I also think Justin could open up the practices a little more to the media. I understand the hassle of having to stop practice to run people out like they do now, but it might buy a little goodwill with the talking heads who will slander you and the program. Doing these things would give fans a way to connect to the team and hopefully get invigorated about it.

Justin came from a different background and has a different perspective. He went to Oklahoma to play for Schnellenberger, but he resigned after one year. OU hired John Blake as the new coach. If your not familiar with John Blake, you should look him up (BAD DUDE). He started Justin before he was ready, and threw him into a bad predicament. This is a guy who was the top high school football player in Oklahoma, and who went on to have great success as a QB at Murray State. But a bad coach ruined his career at OU. I think Blake completely had a lasting negative impact on Justin.

This is something I forgot about but I'm glad you mentioned. Fuente's expereince at OU definitely influences how he treats his players.

Which leads us to now. Justin is probably a little too protective of the guys that play for him. He understands what it can be like to be the goat and doesn't want the guys to have the negative experience that he did.

I think this influences Fuente's coaching persona a lot, and I think it's both a positive and negative, depending on the situation. Overall, I'm okay with it.

I also think Justin could open up the practices a little more to the media.

This is really a low cost/high reward solution IMO. Put media in the press box at least once/week during the off season. Be clear that taking video or sharing specifics around play design will result in you losing your media pass. You've negating any potential downside, but having AB or TKP talk about breakout freshman, or sophmore slump for so-and-so or whatever is fine, and just creates more buzz during the offseason.

Twitter me

I would pay $20 for the spring game tbh, I've always really enjoyed going and seeing that, especially with it being Relay For Life weekend as well

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

They really need to bring back the August open scrimmages. I'd definitely kick in some money. I'd drive the two hours on a weeknight evening just to sit in the stands and watch me some totally vanilla summer ball. (I drove up for most of the open scrimmages during the Beamer era, because I could tie in some local work.)

My idea would be to call it a Back to School kickoff or something and have at least a portion of the proceeds go to a cause like backpacks for poor kids... in keeping with the Back to School theme. Just don't know why Fuente is so scared to let the kids loose during summer camp.

Leonard. Duh.

I'm too far away but if I were close by, I'd pay. But I also prefer the practice days at the TPC to watching the tournament, and I don't go on the internet and post and start rumors if star golfer X puts 5 straight drives OB during a practice round.

I don't mind practices being closed; we have a tabloid society right now and too many people, even if they are a minority, don't know how to handle information responsibly.

If you open them, they will come

How about a bidding war to see how much each news outlet would pay for access to practice (one open slot). Proceeds go to Hokie club. That news outlet could then charge us the consumer for the exclusive content.

"You don't stare into a rearview mirror"

If I was local I would pay and go, for sure. I think the money side of this idea would be secondary to what an open practice/glorified scrimmage could bring to VT in terms of planting seeds in the future generations that show up..

As for bad days, showing too much playbook, bad press, etc etc......The coaching staff knows its coming and they control what happens on the field. Very easy to make these very vanilla and then turn it into a skills competition like at the pro bowl. It's for connecting with the fans and the future.

Speaking of future make it donation based to get in (online and Hokie club out front collecting), but you can pay to "upgrade" to allowing the kids on the field at the end to play catch, meet the players, locker room tour. With the kids coming through you're recruiting without even having to recruit. That kid is going to remember playing catch with player XYZ who is now in the league. Give them memories of Lane and Tech football so when it is time to recruit it becomes a lot easier/you have a leg up.

Maybe I am way off. Seems what we are doing now is really pleasing the fan base and bringing in a ton of money.