Tifos: Building New Gameday Traditions
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – From tailgating, to calling the Hogs when the team scores, to fans in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium taking turns yelling “Arkansas” and “Razorbacks” in sequence, there’s no shortage of traditions observed by Hogs fans during gameday.
But if you’ve attended a home Razorback football game this season, you might have noticed a new tradition unfolding from the student section. When the team runs out of the Hog Pen, a themed 6,000-square-foot banner supporting the Hogs is unfurled at the top of the southeast corner of the stadium and slowly makes its way down to the field.
These banners, known as “tifos,” are most commonly seen at international soccer and MLS matches. The Arkansas Athletics marketing team decided to make the immensely popular concept a part of the Razorback football experience after a recent trip to a U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team game in Kansas City.
After brainstorming with the soccer superfan group American Outlaws on tifo best practices, a successful working prototype was produced by Razorback Athletics and unveiled during the UTEP home opener on Sept. 5.
Campus sororities have taken the lead on production and creation of Arkansas tifos with the assistance of the athletics department, which provides resources and workspace at Razorback Stadium large enough to accommodate the tifo and volunteers.
The 10 University of Arkansas sororities were paired up into teams, and each team was tasked with creating a concept, sketching, and eventually painting their design onto their tifo. A total of five tifos will be produced this season, one from each team. Razorbacks fans will get a chance to vote on their favorite tifo after the end of the regular season. The winning tifo creation team will receive a generous donation from Razorback Athletics benefiting the two sororities’ philanthropy efforts.
|Tifo No. 1||vs. Texas Tech, Sept. 19||"Let's Call Those Hogs"||Delta Delta Delta and Phi Mu|
|Tifo No. 2||vs. Auburn, Oct. 24||"Tame The Tigers"||Chi Omega and Zeta Tau Alpha|
|Tifo No. 3||vs. UT-Martin, Oct. 31||"Homecoming 2015"||Alpha Chi Omega and Kappa Delta|
|Tifo No. 4||vs. Mississippi State, Nov. 21||Coming Soon||Alpha Omicron Pi and Pi Beta Phi|
|Tifo No. 5||vs. Missouri, Nov. 27||Coming Soon||Alpha Delta Pi and Kappa Kappa Gamma|
J.T. Geren, Assistant Director for Marketing and Fan Development, said tifos are a great platform for student organizations to get national exposure for the work they do.
“This is a way to get them on ESPN,” Geren said. “That first cutaway shot of Fayetteville this season has often been a live shot of the tifo, and that’s a credit to the work our students have done. Our students have bought into this concept, wrapped their arms around it, and started to run with it. It’s something that’s unique, and hopefully over time, [these tifos] will be associated with the University of Arkansas.”
London Farrar, a Delta Delta Delta sorority member, agreed, and said she loved being a part of the group that worked on the Texas Tech tifo and being a part of a new gameday tradition.
“My dad went to school here, and he loves walking up and down campus and showing me where his name is on Senior Walk,” Farrar said. “I think [tifos] add another element of showing how we left our mark here and that we were a part of it all. Even though I’m not a part of the football team, it still makes me feel like I was a part of the gameday experience.”