ETSU claims 'NCAA Pack the House' Challenge title for the Atlantic Sun Conference
Friday, March 13, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 13, 2009) - East Tennessee State University was one of 32 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 31 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.


And pack the house, they did. Almost two-thirds of the Division I membership - 184 institutions - participated in the effort that attracted more than 559,000 fans.


ETSU hosted 3,459 fans at its women's basketball game on November 21 against nationally-ranked Vanderbilt.


Events at Auburn, Bradley, Central Michigan, Gonzaga, Marist, Memphis, Niagara, Notre Dame and Providence College produced sell-out crowds. Sixty-three other programs surpassed their single-game attendance highs from last year - including ETSU who nearly tripled its previous attendance for a Lady Buccaneer game. The previous single-game attendance record for a Lady Buc contest was set in 2007-08 when 1,236 fans saw ETSU knock off Kennesaw State, 81-77.


"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 ETSU, for example, the marketing department gave its fans an opportunity to win a 2008 Toyota Tundra, courtesy of Phil Bachman Toyota, as well as free gas cards and Lady Buccaneer items. In addition, fans were able to enjoy pregame festivities which included - tailgating (first 200 fans that entered the game received free food), inflatable games and free poster making for children, tailgating games such as Cornhole and Lasso Golf, as well as free giveaways during the game.


"Winning this award has capped off an exciting week for the Lady Bucs," commented ETSU Marketing and Promotions Coordinator Sara Hacker. "First the Lady Bucs punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year, and now received the top honor for the Pack the House Event in the A-Sun. We couldn't have asked for a better week!"


"The past home season has been very rewarding. The success of the women's basketball team along with assistance from the athletic staff and women's basketball grant team has made this a special year at ETSU. However, we couldn't have won this award without our loyal fan support."


Winners of the 2008-09 NCAA "Pack the House" Challenge are:


America East - Hartford

Atlantic Coast - Georgia Tech

Atlantic Sun - East Tennessee State

Atlantic 10 - Fordham

Big East - Notre Dame

Big Sky - Montana State

Big South - UNC Asheville

Big Ten - Illinois

Big 12 - Missouri

Big West - Long Beach State

Colonial - VCU

Conference USA - Marshall

Horizon - Valparaiso

Independents - Cal State Bakersfield

Ivy - Columbia

Metro Atlantic - Niagara

Mid-America - Central Michigan

Mid-Eastern - North Carolina A&T

Missouri Valley - Bradley

Mountain West - TCU

Northeast - Mount St. Mary's

Ohio Valley - Tennessee-Martin

Pacific-10 - California

Patriot - Army

Southeastern - Auburn

Southern - Chattanooga

Southland - Sam Houston State

SWAC - Jackson State

Summit - Indiana/Purdue-Indianapolis

Sun Belt - Arkansas-Little Rock

West Coast - Gonzaga

WAC - Louisiana Tech



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