Message for Fans

Greetings Badger Fans!

From UW Band Director Mike Leckrone

UW Band Director Mike Leckrone As we build welcoming new traditions at Badger sports events, both Wisconsin fans and those who have traveled from across the nation are taking advantage of the campus’ red carpet treatment.

Our volunteer Fan Ambassadors are hitting the streets on game day to distribute stadium information and giveaways, and to simply offer a warm welcome to Madison and Camp Randall Stadium.

"I’d like to sincerely thank you for all your hospitality and kind words," one visitor wrote in a fan forum. "Walking back from the stadium took forever, because we were stopped by multiple tailgaters, asking us to join them for a drink. Everyone asked about our homes and families. You guys are a class act!!!”

"Your stadium traditions (with the exception of the profanity flying back and forth between the student sections) are fantastic! The slow wave was a total blast, and the controlled mayhem between the third and fourth quarters was fun! The fans were very friendly, and the greeters in the blue shirts who acted like we were long-lost friends were fantastic.”

The message continued: “Kudos to your band, kudos to your fans, kudos to your stadium security folks and everyone we’ve encountered. … Your city is beautiful, your fans are gracious, generous and classy, and your game traditions (except for the start time) are fantastic!”

Wow. That’s the kind of feeling we want everyone to take away from Camp Randall Stadium — one that makes people want to come back to our city, our campus and our terrific new-look stadium.

So, show your Badger pride. Party responsibly. Keep Camp Randall loud and enthusiastic — and help make game day great for everyone.

See you in the Fifth Quarter,

Mike Leckrone

About this initiative

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is once again "Rolling Out the Red Carpet" in a communitywide campaign to build new, welcoming traditions for all sports fans. The campaign was launched before the 2004 football season.

The "Rolling Out the Red Carpet" campaign emerged as a positive way to deal with fan behavior issues on a number of levels that involve the university, the community and Badger fans at large. The campaign was developed in six months of meetings with students, athletes, staff, and alumni.

"We want to get ahead of what is a growing problem nationally, and position ourselves as a leader in identifying solutions and bringing back the traditions of a good collegiate athletic experience," says Barry Alvarez, UW-Madison's athletic director. "We want to be known as a tough place to play, but one where everyone can enjoy the competition."

"Although students are not a disproportionate part of the problem, they can be a powerful force for change because they set the tone for enthusiasm in the stadium."

Gina Pignotti
Student from Kenosha

Read the rest of Gina's 2004 speech

The Effort

The effort will focus on football, hockey and basketball this year, it involves an education, media and marketing campaign.

It attempts to raise awareness of the issues, encourage all fans to respect one another and help fans have the best possible game-day experience. A volunteer corps of "Fan Ambassadors," wearing black vests and armed with give-aways and information, will greet fans as they approach Camp Randall Stadium. Former Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz says Badger sports provide an important economic boost for the city, and make it a tourist destination.

"Rolling Out The Red Carpet" has the backing of the Wisconsin Alumni Association. Business groups such as the Greater Madison Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Madison Inc., and the Greater Madison Convention and Tourism Bureau have also lent their support to the campaign.

Students involved in brainstorming that led to the "Rolling Out the Red Carpet" campaign say their efforts can lead to a change in the game-day culture.

"Students can be a powerful force for change because they set the tone for enthusiasm in the stadium," says Gina Pignotti, a senior from Kenosha who participated in the effort.

"We don't want to take the electricity and fun out of the stadium, because that's a key part of our football team's success," Alvarez says. "You can be loud and friendly at the same time. Show fans a warm welcome, then raise the roof on fourth down and inches to go."

Fans are a big part of the solution. They need to respect stadium neighbors and to report incidents of harassment or unruly behavior to police or security personnel.

The initiative is being privately funded. No taxpayer funds have been used.