photo: Seth Johnson/Twitter
By Jeff Uveino
ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — While there will be no in-person attendance at St. Bonaventure men’s and women’s basketball games this season, nearly 200 Bonnies fans will be represented at the Reilly Center in the form of cardboard cutouts.
In November, the university announced that it would be offering cutouts for $100. Fans can select a custom image, of them or anyone else, to be printed and placed in the RC at every home basketball game throughout the 2020-21 season.
So far, 186 cutouts have been ordered, and Seth Johnson, SBU’s assistant athletic director for licensing and fan engagement, said that he anticipates that number to continue to climb.
“We knew that there would be interest,” Johnson said. “We have a passionate fan base. That’s what makes St. Bonaventure so special, is our alumni and fans that support us. Once we knew that we were not going to be able to have fans, it kind of picked up steam that we knew we would have placement for these.”
The cutouts will be placed in the “end zone” bleachers behind each basket. The school has already placed 120 cutouts, and a shipment of over 60 more is on its way.
“The end zone makes sense because it’s really one of the only areas that gets prominent television time, during free throws,” Johnson said.
If the end zones sell out, the university will look at other areas that could have prominent television time. However, Johnson said, there is still “plenty of space” left behind the baskets.
Fans can order cutouts throughout the year through printedfans.com, and can expect to see them up at the RC within 14 days after ordering.
“We had been looking into it with a couple different companies, it just took finding the right one,” Johnson said. “Everyone is a little bit different, and we just needed to find what worked best for us and the timeline that we needed.”
In addition to the dozens of Bonnies fans that have themselves depicted in the arena, some have gotten creative with their orders. Former Bonnies guard Marcus Posley is in the crowd, as is “Kramer” from the hit sitcom Seinfeld, “Gritty,” the Philadelphia Flyers’ mascot, as well as dogs, babies and a cat. SBU president Dr. Dennis DePerro recently ordered his cutout.
“It’s a way to be a part of the Reilly Center,” Johnson said. “I think that once we have our first game and people see them, there will be even more interest.”
Johnson said that next week, the athletic department would be releasing additional ways to get fans involved with the game-day experience at the RC.
“The fans, and especially our students, are what make it special,” Johnson said. “We’re going to be lacking that this year. We’re doing our best to keep people as involved as possible, and creat as many interactive things as possible.”