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Sooners fans welcome

We like the way officials with the Denton County Transportation Authority and the Denton Convention and Visitors Bureau are thinking.

The two agencies announced recently that they will team up for a new marketing initiative aimed at University of Oklahoma fans, advertising Denton as a destination on the way to the annual Texas-OU (or OU-Texas, depending on your allegiances) game.

They also plan to advertise the A-train as a way to get there.

“We have a very aggressive social media outreach,” said Kim Phillips, vice president of the convention and visitors bureau. “We have reached out to students, alumni, people who live in various ZIP codes specific to the OU campus and where alumni are located and a heavy blitz on campus.”

Phillips said the pitch was being made that Denton has great hotels and rates that are cheaper than Dallas. Plus, Denton is 45 minutes closer to Oklahoma, and the A-train and Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s Green Line will get people from downtown Denton to Fair Park, where the game takes place.

Judging from what we’ve heard about the plan, this thing could become almost as much fun as the game itself and bring in some welcome tourism dollars. After all, Denton sits directly on the main route south from Oklahoma, and we’re thinking that a lot of Sooners fans might want to save some bucks and travel hassles by staying here and taking advantage of activities planned for the big weekend.

“All around the game are these peripheral events sponsored and hosted by different partners in the city, different businesses will offer different [deals],” Phillips told us.

For example, Phillips mentioned a big welcome party at Dan’s Silverleaf on the Friday afternoon before the game and watch parties during the game for fans who don’t have tickets but want to get in on the experience.

Phillips said another addition is two charter buses that will pick up people at the OU campus and bring them to Denton.

“They get on the bus and are brought to Denton and delivered to their hotels,” Phillips told us. “They have shuttle service throughout the weekend in Denton wherever they need to go in the community, plus we deliver them to the A-train station to make the trek to the game.”

DCTA will be providing additional train service as its part of the campaign, said Dee Leggett, vice president of communications and planning.

“We’re coming up with two service scenarios. We will insert an extra train — in the morning or afternoon — to supplement service,” she said.

Leggett said the campaign was attempted last year, but the timing was not right because there were not as many A-trains in service then.

The A-train will take passengers to Trinity Mills, where Dallas Area Rapid Transit will have buses and trains to take fans to the Martin Luther King Jr. Station at Fair Park. The DCTA will also support DART with buses at Trinity Mills.

We realize that the game is piled high with traditions, but there’s no reason why we can’t start a few new ones to benefit Denton.

And this campaign could be just the ticket to get us there.