Tech Wins NCAA Pack the House for Fourth Straight Year
April 12, 2011
RUSTON - For the fourth consecutive year, Louisiana Tech was the Western Athletic Conference's NCAA's "Pack the House" Challenge winner for its marketing and promotions campaign for the Lady Techsters Feb. 5 win over Fresno State at the Thomas Assembly Center.
The initiative set forth by the NCAA four years ago has helped increase exposure and fan participation for the women's game. Louisiana Tech became the only program in the country that has won the award for its conference all four years.
"This recognition it a tremendous endorsement of our fans loyalty and enthusiasm for Lady Techsters basketball," said Tech Athletics Director Bruce Van De Velde. "I want to congratulate them as well as our staff for their successful promotion of this event."
One winner from each of the 32 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.
Tech Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing/Game Management Leah Beasley spearheaded the efforts each of the four years behind the NCAA Pack the House game at Louisiana Tech, including this year's unique marketing plan.
Tech's theme for the night was "FAIRwell Fresno" as promotions included fair rides from Johnson Brothers Fair & Amusement out of El Dorado, Ark., free tailgating which included plenty of free food from area businesses, a petting zoo compliments of Louisiana Purchase Zoo Exhibit, a Kid's Zone which included bounce houses, games, and more and various Greek Night and 80s Night themes for the student-body and organizations.
The promotions combined with the rematch between the Lady Techsters and Fresno State from a triple overtime thriller a month earlier drew 7,123 fans to the Thomas Assembly Center - the 16th biggest crowd in program history and the largest since Connecticut came to Ruston in January of 2001.
"The NCAA Pack the House game is one of our biggest marketing efforts during the year," said Tech Associate Athletics Director for External Operations Eric Buskirk. "Leah Beasley and the entire staff did an outstanding job executing our strategy for this game. The team should be commended for their performance in the game, and our fans should be commended for creating such an incredible atmosphere that night."
Tech won the contest 90-84 over Fresno State in overtime.
This year more than half of the Division I membership - 178 institutions - participated in the effort that attracted more than 554,000 fans. Sixty-nine programs surpassed their single-game attendance highs from last year.
"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, a former graduate assistant at Louisiana Tech in the early 1980s. "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."
Winners of the 2010-11 NCAA "Pack the House" Challenge are:
America East - Binghamton University
Atlantic Coast - Duke
Atlantic Sun - Florida Gulf Coast
Atlantic 10 - Rhode Island
Big East - Louisville
Big Sky -Sacramento State
Big South - Gardner-Webb
Big Ten - Michigan State
Big 12 - Kansas State
Big West - Pacific
Colonial - Old Dominion
Conference USA - Houston
Great West - Utah Valley
Horizon - Green Bay
Ivy - Pennsylvania
Metro Atlantic - Marist
Mid-American - Central Michigan
Mid-Eastern - South Carolina State
Missouri Valley - Wichita State
Mountain West - Air Force
Northeast - Central Connecticut State
Ohio Valley - Eastern Illinois
Pacific-10 - Oregon
Patriot - Army
Southeastern - Auburn
Southern - Samford
Southland - Texas State
SWAC - Jackson State
Summit - Oral Roberts
Sun Belt - Western Kentucky
West Coast - San Francisco
WAC - Louisiana Tech
Independents - Longwood
Marist - Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference