USF using theme park marketing methods
Don’t be fooled by your tuition bill this year. What you are looking at is not a miscalculation, it’s a 14 percent tuition increase. There will be some costly changes at USF this year, and when thinking about it, I found the expenses at a university are similar to an amusement park’s financial operations.
Let’s start with the admission price, depending on the number of credits taken prices are subject to change. Prices are unusually high this year because the amusement park operational manager, better known as the Florida Legislature, is not paying for the increase in patrons attending state universities this year. And it doesn’t help that USF didn’t cap admission, usually when a business oversells it’s to make a profit. But the problem here isn’t crowded lines, it’s that USF isn’t receiving cash in return for the near 3,000 new students roaming campus.
Thankfully enough, funds can be gained with effective marketing.
For amusement parks this works best with occasional image renewal and continuous remodeling, so USF did just that.
During the summer USF introduced two new logos, an academic logo and the Bull’s athletic logo. Both cost in the six-figure price range.
Image renewal can work wonders for a franchise because people love to replenish merchandise. USF released a new line of USF merchandise in adequate time for this semester. USF teams will have new jerseys and people will mostly likely buy the new Bull’s merchandise.
Because no matter how hideous a new jersey might look, for some reason fans love it.
Most would shield their eyes from the traffic-cone colored Mets batting practice jerseys. But look at New Yorkers they bought them in time for baseball season.
Anyway, that’s what souvenir shops are made for, to help bring in some extra cash. The USF Barnes & Noble bookstore will sell a selection of new T-shirts just in time for football season and local businesses are sure to be sold on the idea that Bulls Country is still a well-established nation. You’d think USF could have waited withthe introduction of Bulls Country to save some money.
And what better to add to USF’s facelift than a $29-million renovation of the Marshall Center (that’s just for the first phase), costing students a $20 flat fee.
An upscale student union is USF’s answer to overcoming a commuter school image, and make the university a more traditional college. So since you’re going to be a “traditional college student” and will be on campus for at least three classes a day you will probably get hungry. But leaving for lunchwould be a hassle because parking is a gamble. After all, people already like to offer you a ride to your car.
With an added Ben n’ Jerry’s, Freshens Smoothies, and a soon to be featured Burger King, you will dine on campus. Having these food venues on campus is convenient, but the food is overpriced. At Busch Gardens you could end up paying $12 for a hamburger and fries, but the price for a serving of Ben n’ Jerry’s ice cream, sized slightly larger than a shot glass, comes pretty close at about $3 at USF..
With all this in mind, it seems the only thing holding USF back from being the next best-selling theme park are some self-defining attractions. This could range from the Moffitt Center selling USF as a Research I institute to the Sun Dome showcasing sports and music entertainment.
Of course USF could think more about marketing academics, but I guess that’s not really what universities are about nowadays.
Grace Agostin is a senior and an Associate Editor at The Oracle. firstname.lastname@example.org