When the Columbia College basketball team played in the regional finals of the CCCAA state playoffs earlier this year, head basketball coach Rob Hoyt turned his gaze up into the stands of the City College of San Francisco arena.
His eye caught a number of Claim Jumper fans who had made the more than two-hour trek from Columbia to San Francisco to support the team. The moment stuck with Hoyt, and it got him thinking about how to capitalize on the support of the team’s most avid fans.
“We had a couple of people come to the San Francisco City College game, we had people when we were in the valley … it was like, ‘How can we connect this?’ ” Hoyt said.
The answer? The Jumper Nation 6th Man Club, a subscription-based fan program aimed at giving Columbia basketball fans more access to the team.
For $150, participants will receive a season pass to the team’s 13 home games this coming season, a signed team photo, a biweekly newsletter, access to designated team practices, scouting reports on opponents and a monthly fireside chat with Hoyt himself.
The Claim Jumpers plan to release a QR code with sign-up information through social media in the coming days for the club.
“Essentially, it is an exclusive club for people who really support the basketball program,” Hoyt said. “The idea was to allow those people as much access as possible to what we are doing in the hopes of generating more interest.”
The Claim Jumpers have won 69 of their last 76 home games, dating back to 2017. But after noticing that attendance numbers dwindle in the early months of the season, Hoyt said he hopes this program will help to bring fans back to Oak Pavilion throughout the team’s entire run, which will include a five-game homestand in November.
“We would like our games to be more of an event,” Hoy said. “This is a small way we think we can make a dent in that.”
While the passes would obviously bring in more revenue for the program if successful, the real value would lie in their ability to build a stronger bond among Claim Jumper fans and create a community around the team.
“It will allow people to get to know these guys,” Hoyt said. “As much as there is a connection with our community, there is still a barrier — they don’t know who they are. These guys are such great guys, and we have such great people in the community, it’s really like, ‘Let’s connect it. Let’s make it a win-win for our program.’ ”
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