Already coming off record attendance in 2013, this year’s Ram Jams at the LeGrand Alumni and Visitors Center will definitely be the place to be on home-game Saturday afternoons.
“In May, I was already getting calls from people wanting to reserve their tailgate party spots for this fall,” said Kimberly Adams, Alumni Association director. “We’re going to have to expand outside our parking lot and into the grassy area.”
Last year, the Alumni Association partnered with the University Center Program Council to bring in popular bands for free Ram Jam concerts. That helped generate a 65 percent increase in attendance, from an average of 800 in 2012 to 1,320 in 2013. With the Rams playing home games on campus this year in LeGrand Stadium at 1st Community Credit Union Field, Ram Jam attendance is set to skyrocket again.
“Typically, we would have a handful of alumni reserve tailgate spaces for each Ram Jam, and we’ve more than doubled the usual number,” Adams said. “I even had one alum say he needs to come on a Friday night to set up his tailgate area. But we don’t want people to worry, because there is no such thing as ‘Sold Out.’ We’ll just keep expanding.”
For this year’s home football games, the LeGrand Center parking lot will open around noon for anyone wanting to tailgate. A couple of hours before kickoff, Ram Jam really gets going with activities for fans of all ages.
“We have free food provided by Wienerschnitzel and Frito-Lay and free sodas provided by Coca-Cola,” Adams said. “That is also when the concerts start on stage. We’ve got games and face painting for the kids. We also have the Members Only Room inside with refreshments from Sam’s Club and AB Distributing.”
New sponsors are also getting involved this year, so participants can look forward to video game trailers and additional give-aways. Plus, more student groups have signed on with a variety of additional activities planned for each event.
Of course, the ASU Band, cheerleaders and Angelettes are at every Ram Jam, along with Roscoe, Bella and Dominic the live mascot. About 30 minutes before kickoff, they will lead the fans over to the new on-campus stadium.
But even before the announcement of home football games on campus, the popularity of Ram Jam was spurring growth of another kind at the LeGrand Center.
“We have secured funding to build some new restrooms outside of the building,” Adams said. “We had a group of alumni at Ram Jam last year realize that we really needed the additional restrooms. Those alumni saw that with the growth of Ram Jam, we’ve got to add on to our building.”
Groundbreaking for the addition is tentatively slated for sometime this fall. Even without it for now, though, the Alumni Association is excited about on-campus football games and their accompanying Ram Jams.
“Being able to encourage alumni to come back to their alma mater and see our growth and what we are offering the current students is very positive for the Alumni Association,” Adams said. “Our alumni have a deep sense of pride in ASU because we remember what the university was like when we were students and we see what it is becoming now.”