April 22, 2010
Indianapolis, Ind. - Sacramento, California and Knoxville, Tennessee, are the winners of the 2010 NCAA "Pack the House Host Challenge" for attendance during the 2010 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship.
The post-season "Pack the House Host Challenge" is an extension of the successful regular season program that has been conducted since 2007. The two initiatives combined to draw more than 600,000 fans to women's basketball games this season. The goal of the program was to help schools grow the game at a grassroots level with increased attendance and exposure of the championship experience for fans across the country.
The NCAA program included all 16 first- and second-round sites competing against each other from March 20-23, while the four regional sites competed from March 27-29. Knoxville (first- and second-rounds) and Sacramento (regional round) won the competition based on having the highest percentage of seating capacity filled and the most tickets sold by Selection Monday, March 15. Both hosting institutions, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and the University of the Pacific will receive incentive awards and the NCAA will provide a donation, in the name of each institution, to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund®.
The Sacramento Regional played at Arco Arena drew 10,047 fans with the University of the Pacific utilizing the affiliated fan databases of the NBA/WNBA Sacramento Kings and Monarchs. Messaging was relayed via television, radio, text messaging, social networking, Web sites, internal publications and arena announcements including video and message boards. Pacific also worked with Arco Arena to provide tickets to underserved community groups so that they could attend the games. The percentage of capacity in Sacramento was 71% for the regional semifinals and regional finals with 82% of the seats filled for the "Pack the House Host Challenge" day.
Knoxville posted an attendance of 20,944 fans for the first- and second-round games played at Thompson-Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus. The percentage of capacity in Knoxville was 86 percent for both sessions with 89.8% of seats filled for the "Pack the House Host Challenge" day.
"We saw a genuine level of excitement from fans in the Sacramento area who took advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch some great women's college basketball," said Jeff Bolognini, supervisor of facilities at the University of the Pacific and tournament manager in Sacramento. "We had success by broadening our reach to those attending events at Arco Arena throughout the last six months and by being able to contact fans of the Sacramento Kings and Monarchs. This allowed us to reach an entirely different fan base than what we have in the past."
"The Pack The House Challenge has had a great deal of success, during the regular season, the last four years. We were especially pleased to see the results of the post-season challenge for the championship," said Sue Donohoe, NCAA vice president of Division I women's basketball. "Our championship is at its best when our host personnel engage in key marketing initiatives. Congratulations to Knoxville and Sacramento on their championship efforts."
About the NCAA and Division I Women's Basketball
The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit www.ncaa.org and www.ncaa.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes.
NCAA women's basketball is characterized by strong fundamentals, high quality of play, sportsmanship, role model student-athletes and family oriented entertainment. The latest NCAA Graduation Success Rate figures show 83 percent of NCAA Division I women's basketball players graduate. In terms of the NCAA Academic Progress Rate, which measures term-by-term academic success, the overall score is 962, well above the NCAA benchmark of 925.