We have three years. In 2025, Missouri State University will celebrate twenty years since our name change. We’ve bolstered attendance, built and renovated campus-wide, and grown more competitive in sports, resulting in a fast-climbing reputation and wider brand awareness.
Let’s keep it going. Here are five strategies to go from fast-climbing to skyrocketing before the historic celebration.
1) Sponsor “Matt & Abby” on social media. Matt and Abby Howard, MSU grads, have over 3 million followers on TikTok, over 1 million subscribers on YouTube, and nearly 800,000 followers on Instagram. Their fun videos occasionally provide free advertising, as they wear MO State shirts and hoodies, but a sponsorship to increase and focus this (imagine them doing BearWear Fridays) would be beneficial. Their views are now collectively in the billions.
2) Offer Terrell Owens a role at a football game. Legendary NFL receiver Terrell Owens (who has a sizable social media presence of his own) appeared on the MSU sideline during the 2021 season, as his son Terique is a Bears wide receiver. Invite Terrell Owens to join the cheer squad and lead the chants at a game. Or ask him to speak at halftime. Advertise it widely to boost attendance and get the story picked up by the national press.
3) Convince John Goodman to get on social media. Beloved actor and MSU alumnus John Goodman is now involved in university fundraising and related media — that’s huge. (Say, get him a role at a game, too.) The only thing that could make this better is if he would get on socials. Goodman would have millions of followers in a day, and with that comes exposure for MO State. Who knows what it would take to convince him after all these years avoiding it, but someone at this university has his ear…and should try.
4) Keep going after that Mizzou game. Mizzou men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin, as the former coach at MSU, is our best bet in the foreseeable future for the first MSU-Mizzou showdown since the Bears’ 1998 victory. In fact, a deal was in the works in summer 2020, but quickly fell apart. Martin’s contract ends in 2024 — if it is not renewed, scheduling a game will become much more difficult. Today MO State plays Mizzou in nearly all sports, even if football is irregular (last in 2017, next in 2033). We should keep fighting for a men’s basketball game. Then, of course, win it.
5) Build and beautify. From the John Goodman Amphitheatre to the renovation of Temple Hall, the campus is growing, dazzling. This should continue, for instance with the proposed facility on the south side of Plaster Stadium. Improving football facilities ups the odds of a future invite to an FBS conference. And one cannot forget more trees, possibly the most inexpensive way to radically beautify a university. Filling campus with more greenery, with more new and restored buildings, will position Missouri State as a destination campus for the next 20 years and beyond.