WVU women’s basketball gets proactive with publications

Just like any other college aged guy, I enjoy going to sporting events. Whether it be a baseball game, football game or hockey game I will be into the contest and cheering for a team, no matter if I share loyalties to one squad over the other. But for me, personally, the game is just a sideshow event for everything that goes into a sport. Part of being a part of the live crowd is in fact the fans. If it wasn’t for the supporters in the stands there would be no point in playing. But what happens when teams can’t bring people into the arena?

West Virginia head women’s basketball coach Mike Carey is trying to answer that question.

Outspoken, just like any minor sports coach at any university in the country, Carey campaigns night in and night out for the local community to support his team. Ranked No. 10 in the country, the brilliant play of the Mountaineers simply is not enough.

“I’d like to have a little bit of a better crowd,” Carey said after WVU’s 90-51 victory over Elon on Wednesday Dec. 2nd. “I’m going to continue to cry about it. We’re tenth in the country, beat two top ranked teams coming in here and I don’t know where (the fans) are.”

In an effort to solve the attendance problem WVU partnered with local 4-H clubs to help raise awareness of the basketball team with are children. To help in this effort nationally known media group, Starbridge, helped with an innovative comic book publication depicting a cartoon version of Carey and the team. Along with the basketball theme there is also an underlying cause to support a greener earth. There is also a website, WVU Green Action, where details of the program can be found, as well as interactive games and activities and free vouchers for women’s games.

Starbridge is a renowned group that has done media campaigns for sporting clubs across America including professional teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Capitals and Denver Nuggets. They are also an Emmy award winning organization for in-game entertainment segments shown at Dallas Cowboys games.

Mike Casazza, West Virginia sports beat writer for the Charleston Daily Mail, wrote an article supporting this unique movement.

The comic book is not the only free way to read up on WVU women’s basketball this season.

Miniature programs can be found around the Coliseum for quick facts, articles, stats and biographies of both the Mountaineers and the teams they are playing that home stand. Little programs like this can be found at professional stadiums across the country and are popular, free sources for information. The Pittsburgh Pirates recently started this trend that is available in over 15 of the 30 Major League ballparks. As an alternative to a program, regularly priced from five to 10 dollars, advertising spots can still be sold and will be seen by more people who are against spending the cash to read a program.

Whether the campaign will raise attendance the intiative taken by the women’s basketball team needed to be done. Through the first four games on the young season the women have averaged just over 1,000 people at each game, a minuscule number considering the caliber the ladies played at this season. Even if the public doesn’t take notice of the moves, I sure have and appreciate the effort. As the beat writer for The Daily Athenaeum, covering the women’s basketball team I look forward going to each and every game and expecting new story lines.

Like I said before, if it wasn’t for the fans, sports would not go on. Starbridge and WVU realize this and it looks to be a rewarding relationship.


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