Selling the “Route 1 Rivalry”

    Coaches never want to look past their next opponent, but marketers don’t have to live by that rule. The hype for the first ever regular season meeting between the University of Delaware and Delaware State University is ramping up this week.

    Coaches never want to look past their next opponent, but marketers don’t have to live by that rule. The hype for the first ever regular season meeting between the University of Delaware and Delaware State University is ramping up this week.

    Tuesday, UD and DSU officials announced a name for the fledgling rivalry that kick-offs September 19th at Delaware Stadium – The First State Cup. Fans and students at each school were given a chance to vote on the name. Approximately 10 thousand votes were tallied in the naming contest, run by the (Wilmington) News Journal, with First State Cup beating out “Battle for the Saddle” and two other choices.

    It’s among the first steps toward building the UD-DSU series into a statewide event. “We were planning on kicking off the rivalry 3 years from now (2012).” said Matt Millet, DSU’s Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing and Corporate Sponsorships. “So, we are really trying to jump-start this year. Everything is kind of thrown together in a good way”web xclusive banner

    “From a football standpoint, the way that the schedule worked (playing this year and not again until 2012), that allows us a chance to regroup, what worked well, what didn’t work well and actually expand it and grow beyond that.” said UD Vice President for Communications and Marketing.

    And although the four games scheduled to date, including this year’s contest, will be played at Delaware Stadium on UD’s campus, DSU officials say the getting the rivalry off the ground has been a collaborative effort.  “Everything has been pretty much 50-50, idea-wise and putting things together,” according to Millet. “They’ve been very good about that, even though this is their home game, trying to get the input from both sides to see how we can get this excitement going at the universities.”

    It’s a partnership Brond envisions growing beyond the gridiron rivalry. “Both schools have made a commitment to play each other in multiple sports. So,while football is kind of a premier sport, you’re going to see a lot of interaction between the two schools in every single sport the two schools share in common. So, there will be a lot of energy built,” said Brond. web xclusive banner

    That commitment can be seen in the resumption of the series between the Blue Hens and Hornets in men’s basketball this winter. The men’s hoop teams will face off December 1st in Dover, their first meeting since the 2000-2001 season.

    The two schools also announced today television coverage of the inaugural First State Cup game. Coverage is being produced by the SPORTSfever Television Network (STN) and is expected to reach 5 million households in Delaware, South Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. WHYY will carry the game live starting at noon September 19th. The game will be rebroadcast at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 20, on WHYY-TV’s Y Arts channel and available to stream at www.whyy.org/video.

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