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SALT LAKE CITY -- Do not be alarmed if you see down town Salt Lake City decked out in red this fall on Fridays, the Red Movement is a new program the University of Utah Athletic Department has set up to increase enthusiasm for U of U home football games. The idea of the Red Movement is to make down town Salt Lake City have more of a college town feel.
UNight is part of the pregame festivities and is designed to create a 48-hour game day experience for fans, families, and visitors alike, beginning downtown on Friday, and ending at the U for the game on Saturday.
The first UNight will be held on Friday, Sept. 30, with subsequent events scheduled for Oct. 7, Oct. 28 and Nov. 11. The UNight festivities will begin at 6 p.m. with a parade and pep rally at the Gateway shopping center. The Utah marching band, dance team, cheerleaders and Swoop will march to the Olympic Fountain plaza, where they will hand out face tattoos.
UNight promotes dining and entertainment options in downtown Salt Lake City with pep rallies and discounted food and beverage offerings at area businesses. Storefronts throughout the downtown will display Ute-themed graphics and decorations for the duration of the football season as part of the Paint the Town Red contest. Contest winners will receive cash prizes, Ute merchandise and game tickets. Along with the U's Athletic Department other sponsors are the Downtown Alliance, the Salt Lake City Mayor's Office, Utah Sports Commission, EDCUtah and Visit Salt Lake.
"We view our athletics department as an extension of the community and this new partnership with the downtown businesses should be an exciting one for both of us," said Utah Director of Athletics Dr. 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."
The city is 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," said 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."
"Downtown is thrilled to host thousands of sports fans from other Pac-12 teams as we work with community partners to create this great 48-hour game experience," adds Jason Mathis, executive director of the Downtown Alliance. "We know the impact will be felt immediately in restaurants and hotels, but just as important are the long-term relationships we hope to make. 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 who are working to create a great experience for locals and visiting fans."