The women’s basketball team announced June 17 that it had been awarded
a grant of $26,400 to help promote increased attendance in its
"The NCAA started this program two years ago," said Mike Hales, assistant
director of marketing. “They contacted all of the schools and
conferences to give the option to submit a proposal as a conference
and split the money or to submit an institution.”
Auburn is one of 14 institutions and four conferences selected by the
NCAA to receive a grant as a part of the NCAA Division I Women’s
Basketball Grant Program.
“I believe that after having such a successful season more interest
has been generated toward women's basketball,” said Alli Smalley, a player
and junior in elementary education. “Having the label as
defending SEC Champions will be a great way to promote our team this
The women’s basketball coaching staff and team are looking forward to
the excitement of a larger crowd next year.
“We had a conference call with the SEC and decided to do it by
individual institution,” Hales said. “I wrote and submitted the
proposal myself with approval from my marketing director.”
"I am so excited about it, I think our marketing department is
extremely worthy of it," said Nell Fortner, women’s basketball head coach.
"With how much we improved with our attendance this year, the
money will only help them in being more creative and giving a
tremendous game experience to our fans. This is a real credit to Mike
Hales for securing the grant for the program; he has done a really
good job of growing our marketing efforts for women's basketball, and I
am proud of that."
The marketing department’s hard work is pumping up the women’s
basketball team in part because of the team’s success last season.
“I think it is great. The fact that we did so good last year helped us
out a lot,” said Jordan Greenleaf, a senior in communications. “It is
easier to play in front of a bigger home crowd. It makes you feel like
you have a lot of support and it is not just playing a game, it makes
you feel like you are playing for a bigger reason.”
Smalley also said she believes home crowds help spur on the team.
“A large, energetic crowd definitely gives us a huge home court
advantage,” Smalley said. “Having those seats filled and the arena
loud gives our team confidence and energy to feed off of. Also, one of
the main benefits is that it creates a tough environment for our
opponents and gets them rattled more easily which greatly helps Auburn.”
Greenleaf said a larger crowd could cause nerves, but only in a
positive way. It makes the team want to play to their best ability for
their supportive fans. She said it makes them feel good when they have
people come out that want to watch their team play.
After the great success from the women’s basketball team last season,
Auburn decided it was time to make a move and create a proposal for
As Auburn’s marketing department receives $26,400, they continue to
find ways to market their ideas from the proposal.
“Our proposal included both community and campus involvement, such as
the Dean’s challenge game and student spirit group as well as
philanthropic efforts, such as their Pink game," Hales said. “We
catered all of those promotions within the three areas. These are all
things we have been doing already, but we will use this grant to help
expand and promote.”
Hales said the marketing department is focusing on primarily young
families with kids from kindergarten to eighth grade, but the older
populations as well.
"We will focus on community at large but we will
try to target those specific areas and who comes to our games."