How Kansas State came up with the idea to hand out free bacon at a basketball game

Kansas State has given away everything from pizza to fake beards at basketball games in recent years, but its latest promotion may be the most creative yet — Free Bacon.

On Friday, the first 1,000 K-State students who walk through the doors of Bramlage Coliseum with a valid student ID to watch the women’s basketball team take on Tennessee State in its season-opener will receive six slices of bacon in a paper tray.

The promotion was announced to little fanfare originally, but it has gained national attention in recent days with ESPN, The Dan Patrick Show and blogs across the country mentioning it.

The bacon giveaway has become so popular that K-State increased its initial bacon order from 100 pounds to 300 pounds this morning.

“It has been a crazy last couple of days,” said Bethany Cordell, a graduate assistant in K-State’s fan experience and sales office. “We knew it would be well-received by our students, but we couldn’t imagine this much national attention. It is very exciting.”

So, how did K-State come up with the idea of a bacon giveaway?

Randy Peterson, K-State’s sports information director for women’s basketball, answers the question simply: “Bacon is very popular.”

“We have tried free pizza in the past as well as several other student promotions,” Peterson said. “As you know, students can get pizza anywhere. But, as a student, you have to go out of your way to get your hands on some bacon. You have to go to Aggieville and order a bacon cheeseburger or go to IHop and order breakfast. We thought it would be a good idea to offer bacon at one of our games.”

Peterson said K-State originally kicked around the idea of a Thanksgiving feast later this month, but the only date that would have made sense for that was a Nov. 20 game against Wichita State, which overlaps with a volleyball match. The Wildcats wanted something that would boost attendance at a women’s basketball game without distracting attention away from any other home event.

Cordell said K-State’s promotions staff met with a student advisory board and asked what type of giveaways they would enjoy most. Food was the predominant answer. When someone tossed out the idea of bacon, it was very well received.

That meeting occurred in August, and the idea is about to become reality.

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