Improving the Fan Experience in the Cougar Community

The timing is right for new UH AD Chris Pezman to go all-in on the fan experience. Pez can show he understands the Cougar Community by making our needs a priority. Hiring an Associate AD for Fan Experience (FanEx) will improve fan morale and boost the bottom line.
Let me be clear: This job should go to a Cougar. I don’t think we need someone looking to build their résumé. Normally, I believe jobs should go to the most qualified without regard to UH ties but this is different. This is our advocate.
The Cougar Community needs stability in the AD, football, and basketball offices. Since 2010, UH fans have dealt with 10 major changes at the top (3 ADs, 3 basketball coaches, 4 football coaches). A Fan Experience manager helps new hires to understand our expectations and avoid the repetitive mistakes each time a change is made. What works at Ohio State, Texas, and OU does not work here.
Cougar CommunityThe FanEx would also be responsible for networking with people who have shown interest in UH Athletics. That means restoring contact with former season ticket holders, connecting with first-time ticket buyers, and helping to adopt ‘orphans’ – displaced fans who now call Houston home. We can deliver them all to the Cougar Community with a coordinated effort.
Cougar Pride does a great job with donations and making big donors a priority. This position won’t replace Cougar Pride. It will simply make the rest of our fan base a priority, too.

Prioritizing the Cougar Community

The ACE will continually work with marketing, ticketing, game day ops, and Cougar Pride but will fill a void within the fan base. Here are the top 10 priorities I propose for the ACE:

  1. Rebuilding our tailgating traditions;
  2. Improving fan engagement while increasing access to Athletics officials;
  3. Responding to fan interactions – emails, calls, inquiries of all kinds;
  4. Advocating that Athletics finally build a Wifi system that works;
  5. Getting more students engaged in athletics, specifically basketball;
  6. Working with concessions for more options and quick pay stations;
  7. Improving fan interactions with concessionaires, ticket takers, and customer service;
  8. Enacting fan access days: explore locker rooms, practice facilities & enjoy discount days at the UH Team Shop.
  9. Implementing Family Value games to introduce UH Athletics to potential future season ticket holders;
  10. Forming a Fan Advisory Board to contribute ideas and provide feedback.

The Fan Advisory Board will be made up of donors, season ticket holders, students, alumni, and community members. The board will also work with the ACE to address fan needs that might go unnoticed by Athletics.
In a crowded marketplace, UH Athletics is a great entertainment option. We must embrace the challenge and find ways to exceed the expectations of our customers. Hiring a Cougar to address fan issues while promoting the Cougar brand is one way to make the University of Houston shine.