ACU’s third annual Christmas Slam drew large crowds and friendly competition between groups on campus on Dec. 3.
Christmas Slam is an ACU tradition that takes place in Moody and aims to create a family-friendly event centered around the men’s first home basketball game and the women’s last home basketball games of the semester. The women’s basketball team took on Texas A&M University – Commerce, followed by the men’s game versus Hillsdale Baptist.
Rodney Johnson, Students’ Association executive vice president and junior finance major from Odessa, worked on advertising the event.
“The overarching idea behind ACU Christmas Slam is that as we transition into Div. I sports, the student population and involvement at sporting events must increase,” Johnson said. “The current state of our athletic culture is unacceptable and we envision Christmas Slam as being the catalyst that shows ACU students that ACU sporting events need our support.
“Each of the past two years we have asked social clubs and student organizations to set up booths to offer snacks, hot chocolate and other goodies for the kids and families who attend,” said Jared Mosely, ACU’s athletic director.
This year, however, social media is a much more prominent part of the festivities.
“This year #ACUCHRISTMASSLAM is viral all over social media. It’s interactive and it’s all about getting a ton of people in one place to have a ton of fun enjoying college basketball,” Johnson said.
In an effort to increase attendance and participation, the group who had the most social media presence as well as had the most members attend both games won $1,000 for their club or organization.
In addition to social media, many forms of advertising were used to get the word out about the event.
“We have been airing commercials on local television as well as during our basketball broadcasts over the last couple of weeks,” Mosely said. “We have used social media, print media with the Abilene Reporter-News and other on-campus options to spread the word.”
Contest prizes, free pizza and free Christmas Slam T-shirts were provided for students who attended.
Mosely said John Houser, ACU’s assistant athletic director for operations, started the first Christmas Slam.
The event has continued to grow each year since the first Christmas Slam drew 1,500 people to Moody in 2011.
“It has really grown to be a great event that gives families a chance to come to campus and enjoy a great evening of fun, fellowship and Wildcat basketball,” Mosely said.