Members of the athletics marketing staff at Fordham were named tops in the Atlantic 10 by the NCAA for their efforts to increase attendance at women’s basketball games in the 2008-2009 season.
The staff members received the distinction as part of the NCAA Pack the House Challenge, a friendly competition between 184 colleges and universities in Division I. The field was divided along conference lines, with independent schools grouped together. The NCAA chose a winner from each of the 32 conferences.
The goal was to promote women’s basketball by designating a “Pack the House” game during the season and working to create a new attendance record at that contest. Fordham hosted 1,734 fans at its game on Feb. 4 against Temple, a school record for a Rams’ women’s basketball game.
Fordham Athletics marketers coupled the Pack the House game with the annual School Day, in which children from local elementary schools are invited to the Rose Hill Gymnasium for a special matinee game.
Overall, the participating institutions attracted more than 559,000 fans.
Winners were selected based on which school had the largest percentage increase over the previous year’s single-game attendance record, as well as the creativity of their marketing plan. The NCAA gave prizes and donated $500 to a nonprofit organization of Fordham’s choice—the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, which raises money in to fight women’s cancers.
Events at Auburn, Bradley, Central Michigan, Gonzaga, Marist, Memphis, Niagara, Notre Dame and Providence produced sell-out crowds. Sixty-three other programs surpassed their single-game attendance highs from last year.
“This initiative has served as a catalyst to increase attendance, create excitement and enhance exposure for our women’s basketball programs,” said Sue Donohue, vice president of Division I women’s basketball for the NCAA.
“Institution personnel committed a great deal of time, effort and resources to this program and the results were extremely positive. This program provides great best practices and examples of success for institutions that are seeking to grow women’s basketball,” Donohue said.