Arizona State fans went viral back in January after a group of die-hard Devils worked hard behind the scenes to pull off one of the greatest troll moments in history. Through networking on “The Sanctuary”, 247Sports.com’s member-only chat board, fans were able to raise enough money to fund a billboard reminding the football team of the 70-7 pounding it took back in December. The board went up just as the Wildcats felt they were going to be able to put the terrible 2020 year behind them.
As soon as news broke of the billboard, more fans reached out to the man behind the idea asking how they could help fund an extension, donating enough money to extend the signage along Interstate 10 in Casa Grande for an additional four weeks. After years of having to look at UofA signage all across the state that is funded completely by the university, fans want to do their part to send a reminder that those in Tempe do not view the area as “Wildcat Country”.
“Personally, I’d like to keep it up until the next T-Cup at least and then maybe have a new design to commemorate our 5th W in a row going into 2022,” Tommy, the man behind the entire idea, said jokingly.
Troy Scoma, who owns the Sun Devil shop on Mill Avenue called Cactus Sports, was among those fans who felt strongly that the billboard should remain a year-round fixture. Through his connections, he was able to contact Tommy, who does not wish to have his full name disclosed, to discuss some collaboration ideas to make the dream a reality.
“It was such a cool thing to do that I wanted to get involved so I approached Tom with the idea and he was all for it. The artist that designed The Billboard gave his blessing for us to design a shirt and here we are,” Scoma said.
Initially, Tommy had purchased a small number of t-shirts for members of The Sanctuary’s online community who had indicated they were interested in purchasing one. However, word spread like wildfire and Tommy quickly found himself out of product. When Scoma reached out and made the connection, it was both the perfect timing and a great way to allow more Sun Devils to become involved by donating towards the campaign.
“The Billboard was not only such an amazing idea, it celebrates one of the greatest rivalry wins in Territorial Cup history. It’s something that will be bragged about for decades. My goals are to increase the product line & raise enough money to keep The Billboard up permanently,” Scoma said.
“It’s really cool to see this take off and get traction outside of The Devils’ Sanctuary. I think it shows just how passionate ASU fans are and how much it means to dominate this rivalry like we have lately,” Tommy said.
Outside of just raising money for the billboard, the group also was able to raise a considerable amount of money for the Sun Devil family of a two-year old girl named Haley, who is suffering from Cancer. Now, at a time when many small businesses are struggling to stay afloat, Tommy sees this as another way for Sun Devils to help Sun Devils work towards a mutual cause.
“To have a Mill Avenue institution, a Sun Devil owned and operated business like Cactus Sports become a part of it – that’s what I’m all about. Since the pandemic hit, one of the biggest things I’ve changed in my personal life is focusing on spending local – Cactus Sports was one of the first businesses I patronized back in March 2020 during the shutdown,” Tommy said.
Shirts are now available for pre-sale online at Cactus Sports. Five dollars from the sale of each shirt will go towards the fund for the billboard.
Currently, there’s only one color option available for purchase, but Scoma believes that with the anticipated popularity of the sales, they’ll be able to increase the color varieties and products available, and hopefully even extend it into merchandise.
“It’s a matter of Sun Devil Pride. Rivalry games are tough and they can go either way, no matter what the opponent’s record is. So to not only win The Territorial Cup, but to absolutely dominate better than we’ve ever witnessed, means so much. All Sun Devils should feel such a sense of pride driving by or seeing The Billboard up for months if not years,” Scoma said.
“With the history of the horrible things they did to keep ASU from earning university status, to them recently making their A mountain federal land in order to protect it, there isn’t enough we can do to embarrass them. It will never stop, if we can help it,” Tommy said.