Last Monday, people across the country gathered around their televisions with clenched fists, screaming in either rage or excitement as Duke beat Butler in the NCAA championship game. This marked the end to a month’s worth of brackets, bets and hours spent watching Division 1 teams advance in college basketball; a most commonly referred to as March Madness.
Beginning in March, and continuing into early April, Sodexo and University of Wisconsin-Parkside supported the NCAA event, and brought the game to viewers in Parkside’s Den. Sodexo worked closely with the Den to ensure that attendance and sales in the Den would increase, while simultaneously supporting March Madness, and providing an appropriate atmosphere for the Parkside viewers.
“We wanted to promote the Den as a fun place to watch the games and draw new customers down that don’t normally visit,” Sodexo manager Brigid Duffy said. “Sodexo also partnered up with Julie Evans in Student Life to help promote the Den, and create a buzz and more people down to the Den.”
To create such a buzz, Sodexo ran a number of specials in the Den in spirit of the events. Quesadillas were offered throughout the entire season, and ice cream sundaes were offered for the championship game. During March Madness, the Den also introduced a new special that rewarded students with a free 16-ounce beverage when they purchased a pizza. The overall sales remained steady, and the students gave positive feedback in regards to the new menu items.
“I watched the March Madness games religiously,” said Sophomore Kevin Babik. “The Den provided me a place to watch college basketball with an excellent cheese quesadilla in one hand, and a superb root beer float in the other.”
Through the positive feedback of both new and regular Den attendees, Sodexo had a successful month in sponsoring March Madness. The excitement of the games, as well as the new menu options provided an enjoyable experience for both avid college basketball fans, and those who were indifferent. Sodexo members had a great experience as well.
“My favorite part about March Madness was being able to work with student activities and generate some activity beyond the norm down in the Den,” Duffy said.
Sodexo plans to sponsor more events for Parkside in the upcoming weeks before final exams. They plan to include Parkside’s own selections of “Chopped” study treats during final exams week, and Breakfast with the Chancellor.