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Women’s Basketball Advancement Program participants for 2018-19 announced

30 schools selected for second year of NCAA pilot program

After a successful inaugural marketing pilot program that contributed to an increase in women’s basketball attendance at 20 participating schools, the NCAA has announced the 30 schools chosen to participate in year two of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Advancement Program in 2018-19.

The NCAA Women’s Basketball Advancement Program provides 30 school women’s basketball marketing contacts (who could include directors of marketing, assistant directors of marketing, interns, sports information staff, director of women’s basketball operations, ticket staff and more) access to industry professionals who are experts in several key sports disciplines, including marketing plans, fan engagement and branding.

Schools chosen to participate during the 2018-19 season include the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Arizona, UC Davis, UCLA, Canisius, Colorado, Dartmouth, Dayton, Denver, Florida International University, Fordham, Georgetown, James Madison, Louisville, Marquette, UMass Lowell, Miami (Florida), Mississippi State, Missouri, University of Missouri-Kansas City, UNLV, University of North Carolina Wilmington, NC State, Oregon State, Penn State, Purdue, Quinnipiac, Rider, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.

“We found in year one of the program that providing immediate feedback on marketing plans, event operations and fan engagement on a daily, weekly and/or monthly basis paid significant dividends,” said Tracie Hitz, former director with the NCAA women’s basketball staff who will continue to manage the NCAA Women’s Basketball Advancement Program in 2018-19. “We know the challenges faced by our schools in building successful marketing plans for women’s basketball, and those schools chosen to participate serve as the models in building best practices that can then be shared nationally.”

There were a number of key takeaways from the inaugural year of the program:

  • Constant contact with the schools and their mentors contributed to an increase in women’s basketball attendance at 20 of the 30 schools in the program.
  • The amount of professional experience possessed by those in charge of developing and executing a women’s basketball marketing plan is vital to the marketing success.
  • The expectation of the women’s basketball staffs and those supervising the lead women’s basketball marketing administrator is a subject for conversation and is dialogue that must be had moving forward.
  • Noting accomplishments and successes through their marketing plans, as well as understanding challenges faced by schools throughout their conference and non-conference schedules, is paramount.
  • Moderating conversations among all parties with designs on strengthening women’s basketball as a product for fans to consume is important.

Hitz and a team of marketing consultants will be conducting a workshop at the upcoming National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Convention in Washington, D.C., at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, June 28, as part of the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators session at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center. The workshop will outline the writing of a successful women’s basketball marketing plan, including an effective process to create ideas for specific schools. Panelists also will share the best practices from the first year of the program. The 2018-19 participant schools also will be provided one-on-one time with the consultants at the convention. If interested in attending, contact Hitz at thitz@ncaa.org.