First Ever Online Tailgate

Posted by Monica Hoel
Believe it or not...it worked!

Former E&H Football standout, Eric Montgomery, watched the game from his home in Florida – ...Former E&H Football standout, Eric Montgomery, watched the game from his home in Florida – and he won an E&H gnome!Every now and then, the craziest idea works.

The E&H Alumni Association just tried out an event they called “The First Ever Online Tailgate” with hopes that perhaps 10 people might participate. Instead, more than 130 participated.

The idea was to give E&H fans a chance to be part of the fun of an E&H football game even if they can’t make it to the game. Alumni in California and South Carolina can’t easily get to the E&H/Hampden-Sydney game in Farmville.

So on Sept. 29, 2018, fans were encouraged to watch the football game online as it was broadcast through the Hampden-Sydney athletics webpage. Then, those same fans were encouraged to check in on the E&H Alumni Group Facebook page to say, “I’m Watching!” and they would be registered for a prize.

Pre-game promotions included memes throughout the week that caught attention and encouraged participation. There was a pre-recorded “pre-game show” where the alumni director and her Scottish Terrier sidekick explained how the event was going to work. Then, at halftime, friends gathered at the alumni director’s home in Emory used Facebook Live to start giving away prizes.

Thinking numbers would be small, plans had been to do ALL the prizes during the Facebook Live video at halftime. But when 55 people checked in, the plan was amended to only draw “live” for the two big prizes: an E&H soft-sided cooler and a little yard gnome carrying a football. More than 80 other alumni “Liked” photos and posts and kept an eye on progress of the event.

Alumni used Facebook to share in the joy of a touchdown – and also the disappointment of the Hampden-Sydney’s win over E&H. But everyone enjoyed the prizes!

The E&H Alumni Office was thrilled to get involvement from so many people. Monica Hoel (E&H ’85), E&H Alumni Director, said the event did just what she had hoped: it got a new group of alumni involved in the fun of a football tailgate. “I love going to the games,” she said, “but there are so many people who live too far away to enjoy that sort of event. So I thought we’d try re-directing the money from my tailgate travel into some fun E&H swag for alumni and fans. It worked! We heard from alumni in 10 states and 3 countries!” She said at least 2 found a way to sneak away from weddings to check into the online tailgate, one reported in from work (but she won’t say who), one from a front porch, and one from her vacation in Italy. “It was far beyond our expectations, and I can’t wait to do it again!”

  • Prizes were ready for the first ever online tailgate!
    Prizes were ready for the first ever online tailgate!
“At least 2 found a way to sneak away from weddings to check into the online tailgate, one reported in from work (but we won’t say who), one from a front porch, and one from her vacation in Italy. It was far beyond our expectations, and I can’t wait to do it again!”
– Monica Hoel ’85
E&H Alumni Director

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