YouTube helps pump up MU volleyball fans

Friday, September 10, 2010 | 3:36 p.m. CDT; updated 4:07 p.m. CDT, Friday, September 10, 2010

VolleyZou, the official student spirit group for MU volleyball, created this video to attract fans and excite the crowd before home games.

COLUMBIA— The MU volleyball team warms up on the court before its first tournament of the season gets underway. The video board lights up, and a new video excites the crowd.

Three young men wearing flat-billed caps and sunglasses drive through the empty MU campus in a golf cart. They walk out onto Speakers Circle with a boombox, and the beat starts.

The three, a local group known as MO Stompin’, begin to rap. VolleyZou coordinators and friends, Mizzou cheerleaders and Truman clap and dance to the beat on Mel Carnahan Quadrangle, the MU Columns and Speakers Circle during the video.

Coordinators of VolleyZou, MU volleyball’s official student spirit group, produced the YouTube music video at the end of May and officially launched it in August. With almost 5,000 views, VolleyZou coordinators are hoping interest created by the video will bring even more fans to the games.

Marketing graduate assistant Haleigh Harrold pitched the idea for the video to VolleyZou coordinators, who happily got on board. Harrold then sent an e-mail through the volleyball list serv to gauge interest. Within two hours, MO Stompin’ member Joel Brocato responded to the e-mail with what is now the first verse of the song:

Come one, come all

I would like to introduce you all to MU volleyball

Yeah, now let’s go to work

We don’t need a practice field, this floor is our turf

It’s where we swag and surf

So don’t come up in here cause my team will leave you hurt

Harrold presented MO Stompin’ with a list of the players and VolleyZou’s cheers for certain players.

“I was amazed at how well they incorporated that into the song,” Harrold said. “They did it on the very first try.”

The video, which was completely put together by MU students, only took three takes to film at each location.

“The guys in the video are just natural performers. They have so much charisma,” Harrold said. “There was no ‘Cut! Cut! We need to fix this!’ It was just everyone acting naturally, just having a lot of fun.”

Last year, VolleyZou tried a lot of marketing techniques and decided what worked and what did not. This year, the group is reaching out to students even more.

“At Summer Welcome, we played the video. It caught people’s eyes, drew them to the table,” Harrold said. "They signed up for VolleyZou, they asked what it was. Then, I think those people once they moved into the residence halls, they told their friends what VolleyZou was. I think that accounts for the attendance. People know what it is now. I think before, they saw it, signed up for it, but they didn’t know what it was.”

For the Tiger Invitational at the Hearnes Center, VolleyZou ordered 500 t-shirts to give to members who attended a match. Only 29 shirts went unclaimed.

“As far as the video, I think support will definitely grow throughout the season. Hopefully people will learn the words and sing along,” Harrold said.

VolleyZou is offering a special prize for any group that can best recreate the video.

“The most entertaining one will win a night with the team. They can watch pre-game practice, eat the pre-game meal, and then sit on the bench with the team,” Harrold said.

Anyone can perform the song and post a video on the VolleyZou Facebook page.

VolleyZou has been using social media such as Twitter and Facebook to spread the word of the competition and other events it is planning.

“Basically, it boils down to education,” Harrold said. “People know what VolleyZou is now. (Attendance) is not 100 percent. Of course we want 100 percent, but I’d say it’s a lot better than it ever has been.”

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