|Fan fests provide flexible fun for fans of all ages (Source: Cherish365.com).|
BYU Cougars football players have been speaking at firesides longer than I have been alive. Bronco Mendenhall placed a strong emphasis on these firesides during his tenure as head coach. I can also remember the preseason Watermelon Bust at then Cougar Stadium over 25 years ago, which has grown into the travelling fan fests of today. There is no shortage of stories from Cougar fans who have had meaningful, and in some cases, life-changing experiences at these events. In the dearth of Summer, it seemed like a good time to find out which interaction with athletes was better from a public relations standpoint.
The results were very lopsided. Honestly, it was a little surprising. It has been well documented that a fireside had a lot to do with all-time great linebacker Kyle Van Noy coming to Provo. The idea that a significant portion of fans had similar experiences shaping their view of BYU didn't seem far fetched. The official results to the question, "What is better public relations for BYU football?" indicate otherwise.
Official ResultsThere wasn't an option for "both" on the poll, but one Twitter follower expressed his view in support of both.
93% Fan fests
Both— Derek (@D_Miles_B) June 7, 2018
Fan fests could be viewed as more inclusive. Parents can bring children of any age. They don't have to sit still and listen to something that they don't really understand. There is also the flexibility of coming and going as you choose for fan fests. The firesides have a definitive start time, and it is hard to leave before the closing prayer.
Also along the lines of public relations, it is easier for Cougar fans to invite their "friends of other faiths" to fan fests. When BYU holds a fan fest in Pleasanton, California (the Bay Area), on a Saturday in May, it is hard for Cal Bears, Stanford Cardinals, and San Jose State Spartans fans to turn down an invitation from their Cougar fan neighbors, co-workers, or friends. Religion is largely left out of the fan fests, except maybe being held at a local chapel, which greatly increases the chances that these fans from other schools will have a positive experience. That is at the heart of public relations.
Thank you to everyone who voted. A breakdown of the votes from each polling source is below. Please vote in this week's poll (only available on Twitter): Will BYU pull off a big upset in 2018?
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