April 2, 2008
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. –
Riding the wave of four-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, few teams on campus are as hot as the Florida State women’s basketball program. In an effort to raise the profile of the sport in the Tallahassee area, the school has been awarded a $45,000 grant from the NCAA for next season.
The Seminoles received one of 17 grants as part of the newly designed NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Grant Program. Approximately $750,000 in grant money was given to schools and conferences by the NCAA. Florida State and Maryland were the only schools in the Atlantic Coast Conference to receive the grants.
More than 70 member institutions and conferences submitted proposals in the first year of the three-year pilot program. National office staff and representatives from the NCAA women’s basketball marketing consultant firm Hawkeye Sports and Entertainment evaluated the proposals. A call for the second round of proposals will be issued this fall for the 2009-10 academic year.
The success of the team, coupled with the work of the Seminole ISP Sports marketing and promotions office has pushed the Seminoles’ attendance numbers up dramatically in recent years. For the third year in a row, FSU attracted over 20,000 fans to the Donald L. Tucker Center. With the grant, Florida State has a goal of bringing in 115,000 fans over the next three seasons and averaging 65 percent capacity of the Tucker Center’s lower bowl.
This season the Seminoles drew an average of 1,907 fans with a total attendance of 22,882. Those are just below last year’s record-setting crowds, but didn’t have the benefit of nationally ranked schools such as Duke, North Carolina and Maryland or instate rival Florida who all visited Tallahassee in 2006-07. FSU did have three of the top 10 crowds in school history, including 3,080 fans at the Miami contest for the third-largest crowd ever.
“We know the attendance goal is ambitious, but we know Tallahassee will rally around this team as they have been doing for the last few years,” assistant marketing and promotions director Brent DiGiacomo said. We will continue to offer a fan-friendly atmosphere that is both affordable and fun for any Seminole fan throughout the Big Bend area.”
The focus of Florida State’s proposal was the Four Seminole Pillars: Be Smart, Be Active, Be Fit and Be Engaged. Using the four pillars as guidelines, the marketing and promotions department plans to enhance current programs such as the Seminole Book Challenge, Courtside Kids, the Hoop Trop and the season ticket promotion along with new ideas.
There should be plenty of excitement around the team for the 2008-09 season. Florida State only had one senior on this year’s team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth year in a row. The Seminoles are also bringing in the number eight recruiting class in the county next fall.