In November, the NCAA began quarterly webinars as another way to share best practices among the passionate people on campus who are responsible for marketing Women’s Basketball. With all of the excitement around our sport this Summer, we decided to increase the frequency of these webinars to host one every month from June through August before going back to quarterly in October. The next webinar, “Understanding and Marketing the Women’s Basketball Rule Changes”, is scheduled for Tuesday, July 21 from 1 pm – 2 pm Eastern and will provide an in-depth look at the changes and how we can utilize these changes to market the sport. The agenda is below, but if you have questions that you want answered during the webinar, you can submit them to me in advance (firstname.lastname@example.org), tweet me @TracieHitz or use the chat function during the webinar. Click here to register.
– Explanation of the Rules
– Using Media to Spread the Message
– Marketing and Social Media Ideas
– Opportunities In-Venue
– WNBA Best Practices
If you missed the June Sponsorship webinar, the PowerPoint presentation is posted in the WBB Facebook Group and recap is below. Feel free to reach out to the co-presenters, Erin Kraebber (email@example.com), Amanda Benzine (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Tina Krah (email@example.com) with any follow-up questions.
Click here for a full list of the rule changes, but below are the highlights Tina touched on regarding game presentation and sponsorship opportunities.
Bands and Amplified Music:
* Bands or amplified music may be played during any dead-ball situation.
* This is a hard stop for the music in these situations, so stay on your toes to make sure you are fading out the music before play starts.
* On the July webinar, we will talk more about how the videoboard plays into this new rule.
* One media timeout per quarter at the first dead ball that is at or below the five-minute mark
* One media timeout at the end of the first and third quarters
* If a team calls a timeout before the five-minute mark, that will be treated as the media timeout.
* The first called team timeout in the second half will be treated as a full media timeout.
* Teams will have four timeouts (three 30-second and one 60 second).
* Teams are allowed to carry over three timeouts to the second half.
* Each team will be awarded a 30-second timeout in each overtime period, plus any unused timeouts remaining from the second half.
* If non-televised, teams will have five timeouts (three 30s and two 60s).
* As many as four timeouts could carry over into the second half.
SPONSORSHIP AND GAME PRESENTATION
Where We Have Been:
* Prior to the last 3-5 years, the environment during NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship games was very sterile with no sponsor engagement or activation, along with very little fan interaction which resulted in little to no growth from an in-venue perspective
Where We Are:
* Over the last couple of years, we have been able to increase sponsor activation opportunities, especially at the finals site, which has allowed us to build excitement among our champions and partners. This has resulted in a greater desire for our champions and partners to be involved with the women’s basketball championship.
* Just like on campus, there are limitations that we must work through with our sponsors when it comes to in-venue activations.
* Since there are different hosts every year for the various rounds of the championship, we encounter different facility capabilities which can impact what is available to sponsors.
* Depending on the scope of the desired activation, we may or may not have the staff available to execute it.
* Timing can impact whether an activation is possible.
* Internal philosophy (i.e. how much is too much when it comes to sponsor activations in-venue) can also be a limitation.
* The most important thing is to make sure to be upfront about these limitations with the sponsors, but also be open to finding a solution that will work for both parties.
Where We Want To Go:
* Our objectives moving forward are to continue to increase sponsor activations, including looking at the possibility of allowing sponsors to activate during preliminary rounds
* Super Saturday is our biggest and best opportunity currently for sponsors who want to be involved with the Women’s Final Four. We want to continue to develop unique options for our champions and partners to activate during this event
* We also want to continue to navigate away from the sterile feel and provide fans similar opportunities for engagement that are in line with what is done on campus during the regular season. We don’t want fans and student-athletes to experience a great game day atmosphere during the regular season and then get to the post season and feel like there is no atmosphere at all.
* This is one of the most important aspects of working with sponsors
* Can’t stress enough the importance of a good working relationship with the staff member(s) on your campus who work with your sponsors on a daily basis—they should be your best friend!
* In order to be successful, it’s important to learn the sponsor’s goals and objectives and to develop in-venue activation opportunities that are align with those goals/objectives. If you force something on the sponsor that isn’t what they want, it won’t be successful for you or them.
* Make sure to communicate any limitations
* Also, make sure to give feedback regarding the success of an activation, and to receive feedback from the sponsor. This will help improve activations for the future.
* Like mentioned earlier, this is currently the best opportunity for our sponsors to activate during the Women’s Final Four
* Due to the format of the event, we are able to implement on-court contests, video board interactions, presentations and community outreach features
* Sponsors have the opportunity to be very visible during this event and we have the flexibility to be creative with the activations
* One of our most successful sponsor activations (presented by Coca-Cola)
* We have been able to drive social conversation from fans in the venue and at home utilizing this feature
* We utilize this multiple times throughout games, and is a great way to fill open space
* Although we are required to run at least twice a game, we generally feature it six to eight times per game, which gives Coca-Cola a lot of bonus exposure
While we all have ideas we want to implement with the help of a sponsor, be sure to research what the sponsor goals and objectives are so you can pitch the idea to the right sponsors in the right way. It’s much easier to sell something that people want to buy.