UK Hoops Wins SEC 'Pack the House' Challenge
April 7, 2010
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky women's basketball program was one of 33 winners in the NCAA Division I “Pack the House” Challenge. “Pack the House” is national effort in which conferences and institutions compete to build attendance. NCAA Division I women's basketball marketing staffs selected a home game and designated that date as a “Pack the House” game with the goal of setting an attendance record. One winner from each of the 32 conferences and one from a group of independent institutions were named. Selections were based on marketing plan creativity and attendance criteria. The NCAA will award prizes and donate $500 to the nonprofit organization of each winning institution's choice.
More than half of the Division I membership – 181 institutions – participated in the effort that attracted more than 511,000 fans.
Kentucky played host to 7,323 fans at its women's basketball game vs. intrastate rival Louisville on Dec. 20, 2009. It marked the highest attendance figure in non-conference play and the second-highest attendance figure of the season. It also ranked as the ninth-highest mark in Memorial Coliseum history for UK Hoops.
Events at Army, Central Michigan, Duke, Houston Baptist, Jacksonville, Long Beach State, Marist, Middle Tennessee State, Niagara, Prairie View A&M and Xavier produced sell-out crowds. Sixty programs surpassed their single-game attendance highs from last year.
“We believe this initiative has served as a catalyst to increase attendance, create excitement and enhance exposure for our women's basketball programs,” said NCAA Vice President of Division I Women's Basketball Sue Donohoe. “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 and these success stories will continue to strengthen efforts in the future.”
The ideas to market the games were as diverse as the membership itself. At Kentucky, for example, high school and middle school teams from throughout the Commonwealth were invited to be a part of the day's events. Kentucky also utilized social media to its fullest, updating some 80,000 fans through the athletic department's official Facebook page and garnering support from men's basketball head coach John Calipari who sent out updates to his million-plus followers on Twitter. The 2009-10 season also saw the introduction of the “Winning Tools Program”, which allows young Wildcat fans the opportunity to see the Wildcats play and learn UK Hoops' Winning Tools of Honesty, Hard Work and Discipline along the way.
“Our Pack the House game was certainly special,” Assistant Director of Marketing Nathan Schwake said. “It was unbelievable to see the support the community gave to this year's team, both at the game against Louisville and really all season long. We look forward to building on that support and the success of the team to make 2010-11 even bigger.”
Winners of the 209-10 NCAA “Pack the House” Challenge are:
Virginia – Atlantic Coast Conference