September 19, 2011 – Visitors to Salt Lake City this fall will be seeing red, as the University of Utah Athletics Department joins forces with community partners to launch a new tradition, called “The Red Movement,” designed to create a college town atmosphere for Utah fans and visitors in town for football games.
The overall partnership creates a series of events and activities to celebrate the weekends of home Utah football games. It launches with UNight on Friday Sept. 30 at 6 p.m.
U-Night festivities will be held on the Fridays before home games, and will begin with a parade and pep rally at the Gateway shopping center, where the Utah marching band, dance team, cheerleaders, athletes and mascot Swoop will march to the Olympic Fountain plaza. Face tattoos, balloons, posters and more will be given away to get fans ready for the game.
The university collaborated with the Downtown Alliance, the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office, Utah Sports Commission, Economic Development Corporation of Utah and Visit Salt Lake to bring the Red Movement to Salt Lake City. As part of the fun, storefronts throughout downtown will “Paint the Town Red” with U-themed graphics and decorations for the duration of the football season. The effort is set up like contest in which winners will receive cash prizes, U merchandise and game tickets.
“We view our athletics department as an extension of the community and this new partnership with downtown businesses should be an exciting one for both of us,” says the university’s Director of Athletics Chris Hill. “College football games provide a unique entertainment opportunity for residents, visitors, university students and faculty, and we think the Red Movement will be fun for everyone.”
Community business leaders are also enthusiastic about the partnership.
“The Pac-12 designation is important for our entire community, and we are doing everything we can to leverage this exposure to benefit our local economy,” notes Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce. “As an Olympic city, we understand the importance of being welcoming and hospitable, and we are looking forward to rolling out the Utah red carpet to visitors from other cities who attend Utah football games this year.”
Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance, says that in addition to the immediate impact to the bottom line of local restaurants and hotels will also look to UNight to create long-term relationships. “We want to be known as the friendliest, most welcoming city in the Pac-12 and we’re grateful to all the community partners and downtown businesses that are working to create a great experience for locals and visiting fans.”
After Sept. 30, UNight festivities will be held at 6 p.m. on Oct. 7, Oct. 28 and Nov. 11. For more information, a calendar of events, discounts and activities, go to http://TheRedMVMT.com.