USF and Belmont Take Home The Attendance Awards In The Creative Challenge

“It’s The Creative Challenge” was created in the Fall to acknowledge the women’s basketball programs that are finding different ways to build their fanbases regardless of the size of their budgets.  Taking risks on new ideas is easier when these plans are rooted in research.  Continue figuring out what works on your campus to get even more creative next year.  You can also learn from what other programs are doing, so be sure to check out all of the winning ideas from the Creative Challenge, including the regular-season attendance winner and the postseason attendance winner.  These aren’t the programs that had the largest attendance or had the largest percentage increase.  These are programs that got creative to increase their attendance.  Congratulations to Belmont University and the University of South Florida, that each received a $5,000 donation to their women’s basketball marketing budgets as our final Creative Challenge winners of the year.

Regular-Season Attendance Winner: Belmont University
Bevan Sparta and the staff at Belmont are no strangers to the Creative Challenge as they also took home some cash as the Wildcard Winner for their Pink Game initiative in  February.  Their regular season marketing plan included targeted group promotions, teaming up with community organizations, focusing on active students on campus, a Pink Game and a blowout promotion for one game.  Check out some of the highlights:

– Greek Night with Minute-To-Win-It Challenges between seven Greek organizations

– Daughter Day featuring giveaways, PA recognition and a daughter-parent shooting contest

– Growth and Purpose for Students Day partnering with Purity Dairy for an ice cream sundae station and a residence hall attendance competition

– Ladies Night targeting women’s business groups, junior leagues and loyal women’s basketball supporters who were treated to a pregame reception, massages, goodie bags and chances to win prize packages; two special ladies were selected for an on-court contest

– Pack the House and Youth Sports Day brought the community together to set the world record for “most people unwrapping candy simultaneously” … candy and kids are a great way to break a record.  Belmont partnered with Goo Goo, a local company that provided 1,000 Goo Goo Clusters for the promotion.  Belmont fell 148 shy of the record, but the buzz they created was definitely a win.  Check out the video here.

Think Pink Game featuring a marathon runner taking to the treadmill in the arena to raise money during the men’s and women’s basketball doubleheader

Jason with Fans

Belmont increased its attendance by 6.4% and set the school record for average attendance with 619 fans by focusing on group sales efforts.  For more information, please reach out to Bevan Sparta at

Postseason Winner: The University of South Florida
With the new format for the First and Second Rounds of the Women’s Basketball Championship, the Top 16 schools were getting their plans together for potentially hosting at home on five days’ notice.  But imagine being the University of South Florida and finding out on Selection Monday that you will be hosting because Louisville had a conflict in its arena.  Andrew Goodrich, Adam Schemm, Mike Farrell and Kendall Butters couldn’t have been happier, and they got to work as soon as the announcement was made. Their energy was incredible and in less than five days they were able to pull off some big ideas, including a creative way to cross promote the big dance of the NCAA Tournament with the big dance on campus that weekend:

– Reached out to Dance Marathon to move its huge event to the basketball arena for the second half of the day … 1,113 students dancing in the stands while raising $71,000

– For the Second Round, challenged Dance Marathon students to come back by offering $500 if they got 500 students to the game. They also had a Greek Challenge, and both worked with 1,443 students for the 9 pm game on Monday.

– Partnering with with local organizations to get the tickets in the hands of the schools and alums

– Sweet 16 candy promotion targeted at students

NCAAW_Rd1_PostDMTheir efforts led to 5,560 fans for the First Round and 5,014 fans for the Second Round, which was 5th among the Top 16 hosts (behind three of the Final Four teams – Notre Dame, Maryland, South Carolina, and then Tennessee).  Their attendance contributed to an increase in overall attendance in the First and Second Rounds.  For more information, contact Adam Schemm at

Congratulations to all of our 2015-16 Creative Challenge winners, and thank you to everyone for your help in growing the game of women’s basketball.  I can’t wait to see what you do next year!  Feel free to reach out to me anytime at

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

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

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

Best Community Initiative: Iowa State Healthy Living
Wildcard: Miami Mascot Hugs

Best Pink Game Initiative: UNC Asheville Pink Game Fashion Show and Women’s Expo
Wildcard: Belmont Think Pink


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