NEW BRITAIN - Central Connecticut State University has launched the Blue Devil Athletic Club, which is big news for fans of CCSU sports.
CCSU Director of Athletics Brian Barrio just finished his first year on the job, and said he observed during that time that the Athletic Department needs to focus on alumni to build support that will carry through the decades.
That inspired Barrio and the rest of the athletics staff to create the Blue Devil Athletic Club.
“It’s part of a strategic plan to move Central athletics forward,” Barrio said.
The Blue Devil Athletic Club formalizes a benefit structure for donors and creates new ways to bring donors and friends closer to the program.
A few of those benefits include invitations to exclusive events, priority access to the best postseason tickets and the opportunity to have a game plan discussion with coaches before games, Barrio said.
In addition to these and other benefits to enrich the fan experience, being part of the Blue Devil Athletic Club offers members the ability to pair up with a scholarship athlete. This provides an opportunity to get to know the players, and adds a personal touch to a donation, Barrio said.
Barrio said that, while this is a new program starting this year at CCSU, it’s nothing new in the world of college athletics.
“It’s nothing groundbreaking, it’s what most D1 [Division 1] schools do, but it’s important to us,” Barrio said.
Another aspect of the new program that Barrio said was important to note, is its low cost of membership for younger alumni, who may not have an established income yet.
“This isn’t just about money. We want you to be part of our family,” Barrio said.
For a donation of around $25, less financially stable friends and alumni can be part of that family.
The Blue Devil Athletic Club is one of several additions that Barrio is bringing to the Athletic Department this year.
An online survey that asked students what can be improved at games gave the staff insight into what else the community wanted.
“We got great feedback, and we listened to them,” Barrio said.
The biggest change resulting from the feedback, according to Barrio, is a new video scoreboard for basketball games.
“That [scoreboard], new music, and a couple of other tweaks will revolutionize the atmosphere at men’s and women’s basketball games,” Barrio said.
Overall, Barrio is excited about the new year, and all the new additions that have come with it. The outlook for the season is positive.
“We’re primed for a great year;” Barrio said. “We hope the people of New Britain and beyond are proud of what we’re doing.”
For more information about how to get involved or just about CCSU sports in general, visit www.ccsubluedevils.com .