Selling Division I
There's no Force of the North. And there's no Force To Be Reckoned With. But UND's newest athletic marketing campaign is out in full force. Whether it's through digital billboards, well-placed television advertisements, newspaper inserts or on th...
There's no Force of the North. And there's no Force To Be Reckoned With.
But UND's newest athletic marketing campaign is out in full force.
Whether it's through digital billboards, well-placed television advertisements, newspaper inserts or on the Internet, folks along the Red River Valley are going to see plenty of UND athletics.
Fighting Sioux Sports Properties, a first-year joint marketing effort between the UND athletic department and Ralph Engelstad Arena, has launched its first campaign.
This year's slogan: "We are 1. We are North Dakota."
With fall sport seasons approaching, the campaign is in full swing. Here are just a few places you might have seen or will see the marketing push:
n On the digital billboard on the corner of Demers Avenue and Washington Street.
n In a Sioux football promotional video that will run twice during each of the Minnesota Vikings preseason games televised on FOX this month. It's also running on WDAZ and Midcontinent.
n On a foldable insert in Saturday's Grand Forks Herald and in the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead.
n On a commercial spot during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.
"We're starting to get some traction," UND athletic director Brian Faison said. "We've been able to muster some resources that have allowed us to do a little more."
The new campaign targets UND's move to Division I. It also emphasizes the move to Division I as an entire 18-sport athletic department.
"Across the board, marketing volleyball, baseball, softball . . . each has unique issues," Faison said, "and our ability to market all our programs will be a critical component."
Marketing officials called on Sioux coaches to help mold the campaign.
"This year we spent a lot of time listening to coaches," REA marketing director Traie Dockter said. "They gave us a wealth of information. They're signature is definitely on this campaign."
Faison said the athletic department couldn't open the marketing effort for football before Aug. 1, until it freed up the necessary resources.
"We'd like to have started about two weeks earlier," Faison said. "My hope is we would complete the format for what we're doing for the 2009-10 year by October or November of this fall.
"We're going to need that run if we're going to sell the sponsorships and packages that I want us to sell next year. We're going to have some marquee games, especially in men's and women's basketball that we're going to be able to market."
Game day promotions
Marketing doesn't stop when fans get to the gates, either.
"We're going to be giving away a lot of premium items to the first so-many fans," UND athletics marketing director Lisa Persuitti said. "We plan on doing lots of giveaways and ticket specials."
The athletic department's extra resources allotted for this year allowed the FSSP to be more strategic in its media buying.
"With FSSP, now that marketing is in-house, we can control placement and measure traffic," Dockter said. "We can match the message to the intended audience."
The FSSP also has taken advantage of some nontraditional marketing opportunities.
The digital billboard in Grand Forks, for instance, will allow UND to post game-specific information. The advertisement can run for a day, a week or a month, depending on the message.
In similar fashion, FSSP is using the Internet to parlay information.
"The Fighting Sioux homepage will have a game day ticker that can post any kind of change," Persuitti said. "We'll be able to tell everyone that the first so-many fans get this promotional giveaway, tailgating starts at 8 a.m. or any sort of update."
Miller reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1121; (800) 477-6572, ext. 121; or send e-mail to email@example.com .