Drake Takes The Top Spot for Best Holiday Promotion; Mississippi State Earns The Wildcard

With the holidays being a crazy time for everyone, it’s an even bigger challenge to make sure your fans are putting you on their calendars in December. “It’s The Creative Challenge” last month asked schools to submit their promotions that were creative enough to get fans out to the games this holiday season.  With a close voting battle last week, Drake University takes home the title for Best Holiday Promotion.  A special thank you to Gina Gonzales for sending in the recap of Drake’s Cross Promotion Clinic.

Best Holiday Promotion Winner: Drake 
With having a game so close to Christmas (vs. Iowa on December 21), we knew we had to plan a promotion to incentivize families to attend this game. We came up with an idea to have our men’s basketball team host a free pregame clinic for children in kindergarten through 6th grade. By involving our men’s team, we were able to cross-promote this activity to fans of both men’s and women’s basketball expanding our reach. After the clinic, coaches and injured players from the women’s basketball team spoke to the participants about having good character, being thankful during the holidays, and encouraged them to cheer loud at their game. After that, kids were invited to make posters and hats, put on temporary tattoos, make a high-five tunnel for the Bulldogs, and then enjoy the game.

Results: More than 225 kids registered for the clinic. In addition to the clinic participants attending this game, an additional 100 tickets were sold to their parents. By executing this promotion, we were able to advertise this game to a larger demographic and achieve an increase in attendance. Many of those that attended the game had not previously attended a collegiate women’s basketball game.

-Gina Gonzales, Assistant Director of Athletics Marketing, Drake Athletics

drake holiday promo

In addition to the featured category each month, we also pick a wildcard winner from among the promotions we see throughout the country.  This month, Mississippi State’s targeted marketing approach to build relationships with different fan groups was selected as the wildcard winner.  Congratulations to Leah Beasley and crew at MSU for their dedication to growing their fanbase one person as a time.

Wildcard Winner: Mississippi State
The relationship building with fans happens at every game, which led to the 7th largest crowd in Mississippi State Women’s Basketball history against Georgia on January 2. For each game, funds are allocated for free pizza for students, multiple giveaways through sponsors (cash, gift/gas cards), and special group invitations (local teams, key guest coaches who will bring fans).  Fireworks were added for the team entrance and have many of loyal families who come visit the free “Bully’s Kidz Kourt” then stay for the game (kids 17 and under are free). The student-athletes really support each other, and a different team is honored at each game. This support started with the AD and caught on across all sports.

Congratulations Drake and Mississippi State!  They have been added to the winner’s list bringing our total to six “It’s The Creative Challenge” winners. Each school will receive a donation to their Women’s Basketball Marketing budgets.

October:
Best Poster: Marquette Women’s Basketball
Wildcard: Cal Women’s Basketball Team Website

November:
Best Video: Baylor Women’s Basketball
Wildcard: Oklahoma Sherri Coale’s 400th Win

December:
Best Holiday Promotion: Drake Cross Promotion Clinic
Wildcard: Mississippi State Grassroots Marketing

There are more chances to win this season with entries being accepted for our January challenge “Best Community Outreach Initiative”.  Let us know the creative ways you’re reaching the members of your community to build your fanbase   You can submit your entries for “Best Community Outreach Initiative” to Erin at evarley@ncaa.org until January 30th and the voting will begin in the WBB Marketing Facebook group on February 2.  For questions, please contact me at thitz@ncaa.org.

Remaining Chances to Win
Best Community Outreach Initiative:
Entries accepted January 12-30, 2015
Voting February 2-6, 2015

Best Pink Game:
Entries accepted February 9-27, 2015
Voting March 2-6, 2015

Attendance Increase:
Attendance recaps submitted by March 31, 2015
Winner announced during the semi-final games in Tampa Bay on April 5, 2015

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