Alabama football doesn’t lose at home.
Since the start of the 2013 season, the Crimson Tide have gone 42-1 at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
And they don’t just win—they win big. Thirty-eight of those 42 victories have been by 14 points or more, and 33 have come by 21 points or more.
Despite the fact many Alabama home games are well out of hand by the fourth quarter, head coach Nick Saban despises fans who hit the exits before the game clock shows all zeroes.
“I’ve talked about players playing for 60 minutes in the game and competing for 60 minutes in the game…And, in some kind of way, everybody that chooses to go to the game should stay there and support the team for the game,” Saban said in a press conference 2013. “Maybe if you’re not interested in doing that, you should let someone else go who would really like to go.”
Then, after a number of students left early during this season’s home opener against New Mexico State (a game Alabama won 62-10, by the way), Saban said, “Everybody wants to be the beast, but they don’t want to do what the best do…If I asked that whole student section, ‘All right, you want to be No. 1?’ Nobody would put their hand up and say, ‘I want to be No. 4.’ They’d all say we want to be No. 1. But are they willing to do everything to be No. 1? That’s another question. Ask them that. I don’t know the answer.”
Well, Alabama has now taken steps to both incentivize fans to come out to home games and to keep their keisters there until the final whistle. From the New York Times:
This season, the university is rewarding students who attend games—and stay until the fourth quarter—with an alluring prize: improved access to tickets to the SEC championship game and to the College Football Playoff semifinals and championship game, which Alabama is trying to reach for the fifth consecutive season. But to do this, Alabama is taking an extraordinary, Orwellian step: using location-tracking technology from students’ phones to see who skips out and who stays.
Indeed, Crimson Tide fans can now download a smartphone app called FanMaker and earn “points” for both attending games and not leaving said games at half time. Although FanMaker runs apps for 39 other colleges, only Alabama’s version tracks the location of students.
While Alabama students earn 100 points for attending a home game, they earn an additional 250 for staying until the fourth quarter.
The app malfunctioned during the home opener, but the developers have assured Alabama fans it will be fully operational during the Crimson Tide’s next home game—a Sept. 21 date against Conference USA member Southern Mississippi, who lost by 40 points the last time they visited Tuscaloosa.
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