What was called a “watch party” might have been more of a “watch get-together.”At the Athletic Department’s watch party held in the Sun Dome, an “announced” crowd of approximately 1,300 people watched the USF football team lose to Pittsburgh 31-17.
Despite their lack of size, the attendees were enthusiastic about the opportunity to see the Bulls play.
“This is pretty tight,” sophomore marketing major Dave Jamieson said. “It’s pretty cool we get to go out and do something besides watching the Bulls at home.”
The Athletic Department set up two large projecting screens facing opposite ways in the middle of the basketball court to accommodate each side of the arena. In an attempt to create a game-like atmosphere, random cries of “Let’s hear it for that Bulls’ defense,” came over the loudspeaker. The Athletic Department also had Sun Dolls and cheerleaders perform during commercial breaks.
There were a couple times when interruptions in the Internet feed left the crowd in limbo. On Julmiste’s fumble in the second quarter, the screen froze on Julmiste running out of the pocket.
Boos echoed throughout the crowd, and when it was revealed that Pittsburgh had somehow obtained possession of the ball, the boos turned to groans.
Thundersticks and alcoholic beverages helped pacify a crowd looking for good moments in a game that featured few.
Aside from the technical difficulties, the majority of those in attendance were pleased with the watch party.
“I love it,” said Sean Roberts, a senior majoring in marketing. “I’m really glad to see the Athletic Department step up and have a watch party like this for an away game.”
It’s going to build more of a relationship and team spirit to support the Bulls and support more athletic programs, too. But the Athletic Department has got to step up and give us events like this to go to.”
The Athletic Department had to work around the men’s basketball team’s practice, which was originally scheduled to be in the Sun Dome during the football game.
Many members of the basketball team showed up to watch at halftime.
“This is cool, I like it,” sophomore guard Collin Dennis said. “If they advertise it more, a lot more people would come. Doing stuff like this, where you can come to watch an away game, it’s fun.”
Freshman forward Zaronn Cann also added a suggestion.
“I hope they do this for basketball away games,” Cann said.
Associate Athletic Director Tom Veit said there is a chance that more watch parties could be held in the future.
“If the demand is there for it, we’ll keep looking at doing it,” Veit said. “But definitely for games you can’t get at other places, we’ll always do it here if we can.”