Breakfast With Bernie
Army West Point Women’s Basketball Group Ticket Sales Up 123 Percent
Joe Kronander, Director of Business Strategy & Analytics at Aspire’s Army West Point Fan Relationship Management Center (FRMC), said women’s basketball group ticket sales increased by 123 percent in the 2015-2016 season.
Army West Point has done a few things to fuel group sales:
- Treated youth teams to “chalk talks” by coaches before games in Army West Point’s Hall of Fame Room.
- Allowed a youth team to shoot layups or scrimmage on one end of the court after Army West Point’s basketball team goes back to the locker room for its pre-game preparation.
- Created pre and post-game clinics with autograph sessions and had sales staff present to convert those leads.
- Established a youth reading program tied to incentives for tickets to women’s athletic events. The sponsorship opportunities are endless.
- Saved the best for last – hired a Women’s Sports Specialist.
Zoe Cohen, Sr. Sales Consultant & Women’s Sports Specialist of the FRMC, is responsible for selling all ticketed women’s sports. Cohen, who played college basketball at SUNY New Paltz, has translated her passion for athletics into her work in the ticket office.
“With the addition of women’s lacrosse and the recent success of our women’s basketball program, it was a no brainer to add a Women’s Sports Specialist position. In looking at the fan bases for each of our sports, it was clear that our women’s sports fan bases had never been cultivated like those of our men’s sports. They have different fan bases and we needed to treat them as different fan bases. Not only was it important to add the position, but the person in the position needed to be the right person – passionate about West Point and passionate about women’s athletics. Zoe Cohen was the perfect person and I cannot wait to see continued growth in years to come,” said Stephanie Menio, Senior Woman Administrator and Associate Athletic Director for Marketing at Army West Point Athletics.
“Zoe’s bonded with the team and the coaches,” Kronander said. “Women’s sports can be a hard sell, but she understands the challenges.”
“We sell tickets, but we also sell the players on the team, the coaches, and what these young athletes can get out of spending a day at West Point,” said Cohen, “Our teams and coaches want fans in the stands for their games.”
So, instead of saying, “Goodbye, see you next year!” like other organizations do to that group of adoring young basketball players who come out to West Point, Army uses the bond between Cohen and the coaches to create opportunities and touch points with the youth teams and leagues during the offseason.
Recently, Jenna McLaughlin, Assistant Coach with the Women’s Basketball team, drove 32 miles from West Point to speak at the post-season banquet for the ‘Our Lady of Mercy’ youth basketball league in Park Ridge, N.J.
“Coaches and parents of our program were impressed by the speech from Coach McLaughlin and the relationship forged between Army West Point and Our Lady of Mercy CYO,” said OLM Coach David O’Sullivan.
The sixth grade team from ‘Our Lady of Mercy’ who visited Army West Point this season will now just be one of the league’s teams visiting West Point in the future. There are plans for all grades in the program to attend a game next season.
“That’s how we will build the attendance as a whole,” Cohen said. “We can have the ‘Our Lady of Mercy Game,’ which has the potential to be a group of 300 people.”
Let that advocacy sink in.
The FRMC is now busy selling for women’s lacrosse, which is in its first season as a varsity sport at Army West Point. Aspire has been able to use a similar strategy used for women’s basketball for lacrosse. They have access to three different fields for visiting youth teams to play an hour-long scrimmage game and then attend the varsity women’s game.
The FRMC has already sold over 3,000 group tickets.