Linda McLaughlin is the marketing director for Northern University Intercollegiate Athletics and is facing the challenge to build a marketing plan with the target to increase the number of fans watching the university football games. Northern University has a stadium with more than 30000 seats. Due to a NCAA requirement the university is required to fill this big stadium with an average of 17000 paid viewers. During the last 2 years the average number of viewers has dropped below 10000.
Reasons for that were a lack in further improvements of the team and a missing advertisement campaign in these years. The year before an intensive promotion campaign leaded to an attendance of 17000 people during the games. The football program has direct competition from other collegiate athletic programs and other entertainment events in the area. 40% of the viewers are Students, 40% are Public Sales and 20% are Ticket Sales. (’97). The promotion campaign in ’95 showed a big effect on the attendance.
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The number of Students and Season Ticket Sales rose more than double though the number of Public Viewers declined that year. Since the requirement cares about the number of viewers and not the all over profit by sold tickets, the marketing plan should aim to maximize the number of viewers without looking on how much these viewers pay to see the game. Watching a football game seems to be quite attractive for Students. Doing a similar campaign like the one before would probably make the number of Student viewers rise again to a satisfying level.
If McLaughlin manages to grow the student’s responsibility in supporting their University team, letting their spirit grow the number of student viewers will rise probably even more. Another big task is to make the football games more attractive for public. Since 60% of public viewers attend with family the games need to be more suitable for families. More entertainment for kids could be a good idea so they won’t get bored during the games. These two groups have to be considered in time management.
It is to find the perfect time for the games to take place if this can be determined by the department. Because the Students and public viewers have a lot of alternatives the games should be placed at a free day without other competing events. Season Ticket Holders are just 20% of all viewers but they have a big potential to grow when the campaign is placed effectively (after ’95 campaign the number increased by 3 times). 88% of Ticket Holders are Male and 83% are married.
This has to be considered in the plan. Altogether it can be said that if McLaughlin considers all these fact it is not impossible to raise the attendance to the required level. Nevertheless some things can’t be predicted properly and can’t be changed by the department. For example the in-game performance plays a big role on how many people get motivated to see the upcoming games. And also weather is a factor that has to be considered but can’t be changed.