Delaware Captures NCAA Division I "Pack The House" Challenge for CAA Women's Basketball
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 13, 2012) -- The University of Delaware was recently named one of 32 winners in the annual NCAA Division I "Pack the House" Challenge for women's basketball.
"Pack the House" is a 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 are chosen each year, with the selections being based on marketing plan creativity and attendance criteria.
For its winning efforts, UD received an award of $500 which was donated to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund in honor of the former North Carolina State women's basketball coach who passed away after a courageous battle with cancer in 2009.
A total of 153 institutions took part this year with the event attracting over 431,000 fans. Delaware was one of 11 schools whose efforts resulted in a sellout crowd and one of 69 who surpassed their single-game attendance highs from last year.
Delaware, which also captured the Pack the House Challenge award in 2008 and 2010, was recognized once again for its outstanding marketing efforts during the Blue Hens' Jan. 22 regionally-televised game vs. CAA foe Drexel at the Bob Carpenter Center. Among the fans at the game was Vice-President Joe Biden.
Fans were encouraged to help "Pack the House" and sell out the Bob Carpenter Center for the game. To assist in the efforts, UD offered a Take a Kid to the Game ticket promotion with discounted tickets for adults and free tickets for youths.
Gameday giveaways included t-shirts compliments of gameday sponsor, First State Orthopaedics, which were given to the first 250 fans, as well as 1,250 "Go Blue or Go Home!" rally towels that were distributed among students and the first fans in attendance. In addition, the Family Fun Zone was open to fans 90 minutes before tip-off and a postgame autograph session with the entire team was held immediately following the game.
Delaware's Pack the House efforts were spearheaded within the External Relations unit and lead by Assistant Director of Athletics, Marketing & Promotions Kristy Fletcher and Director of Athletic Ticket Operations Trent Bartling.
"To see the Blue Hens fans come out in full force to support our student-athletes is what we hope for every game, but to see the thrilling atmosphere in the BOB at a game like this, the UD spirit of our fans and the love they have for this team, you can't help but be excited," said Fletcher. "We are very appreciative of the loyalty and passion of our fans, as well as this recognition from the NCAA for our efforts."
Delaware set a school record for women's basketball average attendance in 2011-12 as the Blue Hens drew an average of 3,907 fans for the 12 home games at the 5,000-seat Bob Carpenter Center, an 86 percent increase from the previous season. Two of the games - Jan. 22 vs. Drexel and Feb. 26 vs. Northeastern - were sellouts.
"In the fifth year of this initiative, we are pleased to see the continued increase in attendance, excitement and exposure for our women's basketball programs," said Greg Christopher, chair of the Division I Women's Basketball Committee and director of athletics at Bowling Green State University. "The year-in and year-out success of Pack the House is a direct tribute to the commitment level put forth by the personnel at each campus. These efforts continue to help grow the game."Other conference winners were: Vermont (America East), Virginia (Atlantic Coast), Florida Gulf Coast (Atlantic Sun), Massachusetts (Atlantic 10), Marquette (Big East), Sacramento State (Big Sky), Winthrop (Big South), Iowa (Big Ten), Kansas State (Big 12), Long Beach State (Big West), Memphis (Conference USA), New Jersey Institute (Great West), Green Bay (Horizon), Pennsylvania (Ivy), Canisius (Metro Atlantic), Central Michigan (Mid-American), Morgan State (Mid-Eastern), Missouri State (Missouri Valley), Air Force (Mountain West), Central Connecticut State (Northeast), California (Pacific-12), Bucknell (Patriot), Kentucky (Southeastern), Georgia Southern (Southern), Sam Houston State (Southland), Southern (SWAC), Oral Roberts (Summit), South Alabama (Sun Belt), Portland (West Coast), Louisiana Tech (WAC), and Longwood (Independents). California was named the overall winner.