A survey of game management and marketing practices influencing collegiate pep bands in the United States

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University of Alabama Libraries

The purpose of this study was to conduct a descriptive analysis of college and university level pep bands from across the United States, examine the impact of game management systems and athletic marketing on pep band practices, and measure the attitudes of pep band directors about their jobs and responsibilities. Collegiate athletic pep band directors (N = 113) completed a 61-question survey. Results indicated that intercollegiate men's basketball, women's basketball, women's volleyball, and football activities were supported by most athletic pep band programs in the U.S., while no more than 9% of pep band programs actively supported any other sport. Pep band was offered as a class at over 60% of U.S. colleges and universities, and nearly 64% of programs offered scholarships/stipends to students for their participation. Results pertaining to game management practices revealed that game management systems were used by 79% of athletic departments across the U.S. At games, the national anthem was most often played by the pep band or a vocalist. During games, half of the respondents indicated that their pep bands accompanied performances of auxiliary groups using mostly music available in the pep band library. Respondents also indicated that when the pep band was not playing, most marketing departments used recorded music of songs that was not part of the pep band's standard repertoire. Marketing presentations are frequently cited by athletic band directors for limiting the number of performance opportunities pep bands have during basketball games. Results from the survey indicated that most pep bands performed at games that included less than three presentations before the game, three or more presentations during timeouts, only one to two presentations during half-time, and no presentations after the game was over. Interestingly, half of the pep band programs reported performing during marketing presentations. Discussions among athletic band directors often center around the use of scripts and the practice of using headsets to artificially coordinate the "gameday" atmosphere. Of the survey respondents, 79% reported that they followed a scripted protocol designed by marketing personnel and 87% relied on an athletic department official for cues and instructions. When survey respondents were asked to consider the importance of the pep band to other groups results indicated that they considered the pep band to be very important to other athletic support groups (92%), the university bands (90%), and the music department (66%). Generally, most respondents were somewhat satisfied with the time the pep band had to play and almost a third indicated that they were completely satisfied with the playing time available during timeouts. Comparisons between collegiate divisions revealed that funding sources and the presence of game management systems differed by division.

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Music education, Higher education, Music