MAAC-a-chusetts and The Springfield Community
by: Tania Kennedy, Assistant Director of Championships
One valuable element to the 2012 MAAC Men’s and Women’s basketball championships is the local community in Springfield, Massachusetts. As marketers, we have to find different ways to inform the local community about the championship and provide them with the opportunity to experience all the events we have to offer. In the last few blogs I’ve discussed the marketing efforts that are being done on each campus, through our ESPN3 broadcasts, and online at maacsports.com, but I haven’t discussed the things we are working on with the local community.
In engaging the community, the first step is to educate the local audience about the MAAC, its schools, its student athletes, and its coaches. Because Springfield is a very diverse city, with a large Hispanic and African American population, we are looking to feature different Hispanic and African American student athletes and coaches. A local Hispanic newspaper is working on having interviews with different athletes that are of Hispanic descent. Damika Martinez, a half Puerto Rican half African American freshman women’s basketball player from Iona for instance, is having a stellar season, currently second in scoring in the MAAC, averaging 15.4 points a game. We are working on having a feature about her in the local newspaper. We may also do a feature on Sydney Johnson, an African American head coach who is doing a tremendous job with Fairfield’s men team in his first season at the MAAC.
In addition to the above public relations elements, the MAAC is working on promotional elements of the championship to drive more participation like FanFest, Bounce to the Arena, the Cheer & Dance Clinic, and the College Fair, all of which we would like the local community to participate in. The FanFest will be held the Exhibition Hall in the MassMutual Center during the championships. Each MAAC school will have a display at the Fanfest. There will be inflatable displays, interactive games, a full-sized basketball court, and local exhibits. This event is free to the public. FanFest should attract the local audience along with our usual MAAC fans as well. (Click here for more information)
The MAAC’s Bounce to the Arena, will take place on March 4th. This program gives local Springfield youth groups a ticket to a men’s semi-final game, and the opportunity to literally bounce a basketball to the arena. Kids will dribble basketballs from Naismith Hall of Fame to the MassMutual Center arena. This program includes a t-shirt, a ball, and game admission. (Click here for more information)
The Cheer and Dance Clinic will take place on March 3rd in the Fanfest from 10:30am until 1:00pm. This program is geared towards kids interested in cheerleading and dance ages 5-12. They will have the opportunity to practice a routine with MAAC cheer teams, and perform the route on March 4th, at half time during a men’s semi-final game. (Click here for more information)
The College Fair, which is on Friday, March 2 at the MassMutual Center, is an administrative event for the local community. All ten MAAC institutions will have a campus representative present to discuss enrollment, majors, and financial aid at each institution. This is a great opportunity for students interested in attending college to talk to administrators on a one-on- one basis. It is aimed at high school juniors, but all students are welcomed to attend. (Click here for more information)
The Republican and Westfield Evening news will be pitching stories about these events, which will cause the local community to understand what our championship is all about. Our marketing affiliates from the MassMutual Center have been in contact with ABC/FOX, who are looking to capture these events. These marketing components will make a different and reach audiences that we may have missed thus far. These stories and interviews will help the Springfield area relate to the MAAC and the players/coaches that make up the conference.