The NCAA has launched a new Division I initiative to raise awareness of women’s basketball and enhance attendance at games.

The Women’s Basketball Advancement Program, a two-year pilot program, is designed to continue to grow women’s basketball through marketing and branding efforts. Through the program, members will benefit from the expertise of several industry leaders in those fields. The program also will seek out the creativity of college basketball marketers throughout the country.

In the first year, up to 25 Division I women’s basketball programs will be selected with the goal of growing regular-season attendance, as well as attendance at the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship.

The areas of concentration for the program are social media, digital advertising, student marketing, season ticket marketing, single-game ticket marketing, public relations planning and event presentation.

Each school will be assigned industry leaders. These sports business professionals are committed to helping schools audit their marketing plans.

The mentoring relationships developed between the industry leaders and the schools will help in the evaluation of every aspect of the marketing plan. Through season-long conversations, best practices will be developed, and the effectiveness of the budget, communications, promotions, game atmosphere and more will be evaluated.

Tracie Hitz, NCAA director of championships and alliances, will spearhead the program along with Trip Durham, the founder of 2D Consulting.

Schools interested in taking part in the program should submit the following materials in one PDF file via email to Tracie Hitz at thitz@ncaa.org. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 20. Each school will be notified via email by Nov. 1 about the final decision regarding its application for the Women’s Basketball Advancement Program. All questions can be directed to Hitz via email or by calling 317-917-6416.

Applications should include:

  • Name of school.
  • Name of school’s marketing contact.
  • Names and titles of staff members who contribute to advancing women’s basketball on your campus.
  • A brief description of why your school should be chosen to be in the program.
  • What are the school’s goals for this project?
  • What does a successful marketing plan look like for your staff?

 

The advancement committee also would like to know previous highlights and challenges schools have faced:

  • What do you think you did well in terms of previous marketing plans and the history of your women’s basketball program?
  • Describe your biggest challenges and why they are deemed “challenges.”
  • How much community engagement is your women’s basketball team doing and what types of projects?

 

The following social media information also should be provided:

  • The number of followers the school’s coach has on his/her social media platforms.
  • The number of followers on your women’s basketball social media platforms.
  • Handles/websites for existing social media accounts.
  • What audiences are you trying to target through social media?

 

The application also should include which traditional marketing mediums schools use (email, direct mail, TV/radio, print, digital). Additionally, the committee would like to know in which special events (Play4Kay, rivalry game, Pack the House, fan appreciation day, etc.) your school participates.