Athletic department uses social media to promote its sports

By Ismael Suarez | Sports Editor

Given that most Georgia State students are on Twitter and Facebook, the athletic department took advantage of social media by launching Bleed Blue Rewards program.

The website provides Georgia State fans with an opportunity to share the school’s teams’ information through Facebook or Twitter and earn points with each share, for which they can later redeem for prizes.

Users will also receive points for attending any Georgia State’s sports home games.

“It is designed to help share Georgia State Athletics information and rewards students and fans with great prizes,” said Alexandra Abbajay, one of Georgia State’s corporate sales assistants.

The brainchild of Ike Fullard, associate athletic director of corporate sales, the social media program now has about 700 users since its July 31 launch.

One of the purposes for the website is to increase school pride, and so far, it seems to be paying off.

Abbajay said that their page’s Facebook likes have increased by almost 5 percent and Twitter Followers have increased by 3 percent.

Sophomore Torrie Wilson leads student rankings with a score of more than 42,000 points after three weeks using the awards system.

Though she has the most points, it took her a while to get hooked on Bleed Blue.

“I was handed a flyer at first, but I didn’t really get interested in it until after the first football game when they were advertising it,” Wilson said.

But the prizes offered incentivized her to join.

The prizes range from a Georgia State-branded water bottle valued at 50,000 points to a pair of 2013-14 football season tickets worth 1,250,000 points.

“I’m a college student – I love free stuff,” Wilson said. “I’m saving for the hotel night stay [valued at 1,250,000 points].”

In spite of the high cost, she doesn’t spend too much time on the program.

“It’s not that much. It’s fairly easy,” she said. “I go on the website twice a day, once in the morning and once before I go to sleep.”

At the rate she’s going, it will take her more than a year and a half of saving for her to reach her goal – a very tough task, since all points expire on June 1 of next year.

However, if she finishes on first place by June 30, she can win the “Grand Prize” for students – two AirTran Airways vouchers and a $200 book stipend.

For non-students, the Grand Prize is two AirTran Airways vouchers and two 2013-14 football season tickets.

So far, Bleed Blue leads the ranking with more than 47,000 points.

For next year, the athletic department expects a higher number of users.

“The second year start date has not yet been confirmed, but if we do continue we expect the number to increase,” Abbajay said. “Fans are signing up for Bleed Blue Rewards every day.”

Besides Bleed Blue, Abbajay said that the university is still looking for other ways to expand its notoriety.

“Georgia State Athletics is always looking for new and innovative ways to engage with our students and fans,” she said.