If you’re looking for a safe way to celebrate with other Zags and watch the game, here’s one immersive option

Gonzaga University Campus

SPOKANE, Wash. – If you’re still trying to figure out how to celebrate and cheer on the Gonzaga Bulldogs Saturday, there’s a way to do it safely.

It’s called Zag Madness, and it’s an all-virtual fan experience.

For some fans, it’s disappointing to know they can’t be there in person to cheer them on as they chase history.

Even when they were playing regular games at the McCarthey Center, it was very limited. The university tried to come up with ideas in the last year to get fans involved in a safe way.

“It’s definitely been a challenge this year and we’ve been trying to come up with creative ways for Zag fans to still share that excitement and get that energy out,” said Kurt Heimbigner, the senior director of integrated marketing and web communications with Gonzaga.

As the university’s men’s basketball team went into the Final Four, the university partnered with three other agencies in Spokane to put together an all-virtual fan experience. Those agencies are Houdini Interactive, AmpliFi Advertising and Talk Fast Social.

Thanks to those companies, fans can log in starting at 10:30 a.m. and celebrate with other Zags fans all day. Gonzaga President Thayne McCulloh is expected to talk with Zag Nation at around 11:10 a.m.

Included in that virtual fan experience, if some alums haven’t seen the university or its staples in a while, they can check out some spots thanks to a 360 degree camera.

“We can capture the essence of Gonzaga and allow people to tour through Gonzaga, whether it’s alums, or having our old haunts and seeing where they used to party and any of the reminiscing that can go on,” said Penn Brownlee, the managing director and co-founder of Houdini Interactive.

Jack and Dan’s Bar will have a camera inside, too, that people can see online.

But, if people do head to the popular Gonzaga bar, buying certain drinks there could help students.

“People can go in there and walk up to the counter and purchase some creatively named beverages there,” Heimbigner said. “The purchases essentially make a donation to Gonzaga University, so you’re supporting student scholarships by buying your virtual drinks.”

Other activities include a virtual “Buzzer Beater” where people can shoot hoops on the McCarthey Center court through their phones. There will also be a virtual photo booth and a DJ who will be live-streaming for a few hours.

“It’s really cool to be a part of something that not only is it a historic year for the Zags in basketball, but it’s going to be historic in the first time we’ve done anything like this,” added Erica Norris, the owner and creator of Talk Fast Social.

Zag fans can connect with others during the all-day virtual experience in fan rooms starting at 11:30 a.m. There will also be giveaways during the event as well.

People do have to register to be part of it. Find out how to do that here.

As for watching the Gonzaga Bulldogs face off the UCLA Bruins on the university campus, only students will allowed into those game-watches. Students can still watch at the John J. Hemmingson Center and Cataldo Globe Room. The McCarthey Athletic Center already sold out its seats for students.

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