ASU women's volleyball fills seats despite losing streak

Thanks to marketing and ticketing strategies, the volleyball team is gaining confidence from attendance

For many NCAA schools, getting fans in the seats can be a difficult task. Whether it is planning themed nights or developing ticket packages that appeal to the public, filling seats is no small feat.

For Sun Devil Athletics that task begins with managing resources in a way that can provide equal marketing to every ASU sports. This is not only difficult from a financial perspective, but allocating staff resources is a challenge too.

Ebenacea Muhammad-Lang
"Sun Devil Athletics are trying to maintain volleyball ticket sales." Illustration published on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017.

Mike Meitin, associate athletic director for ticketing, said that one of the ways they solve that issue is by implementing a “team within a team” strategy. 

“We’ve taken a staff member from the ticket sales team, the customer service team, the marketing team and the ticket operations team and we assigned them to a particular sport,” Meitin said. “So we have a team within a team that focuses on a single sport ... that's a strategy that we’ve developed to better use those resources because we have to be smart about that.”

Their main priority is to a diversify the number of ticket packages available so that there is a choice for everyone. One example of this is making season tickets available in every sport – something that only until recently was offered for football, men’s basketball and other, larger sports.

“Now we make sure that we do that for everything, because if somebody wants to come to every game and have a reserved seat, and save money, we want to have that product available to them,” Meitin said. 

Similar packages are offered for those who can not attend every game, which include mini-plans and group tickets, as well as individual ticket purchases that are available at every event. 

“Since we know season tickets aren’t for everybody ... we wanted to have something similar but where you’re not committing to every game,” Meitin said. 

The response is noticeable in sports like volleyball, which is currently on a seven-game losing streak but has maintained fan turnouts.

Senior libero Halle Harker has noticed the attendance and said that seeing fans in the arena every game, despite the struggles they have faced, is motivating.

“I think it's a huge testament to the state of Arizona and how much they love college sports and professional sports as well,” Harker said. “It's crazy – we are on a losing streak yet whenever it's game day we are like, ‘Wow there’s still fans rolling in.'”

Women’s volleyball head coach Sanja Tomasevic said it's interesting how involved the Phoenix community is with ASU.

“That's something that's been fascinating for a lot of schools in the Pac-12 because even last year, we were third in attendance,” Tomasevic said. “People are like, ‘What are you guys doing there,’ and I'm like, 'People just love volleyball out here.'”

Considering their losing streak and the struggles they have experienced in the past, the possibility that a winning season could affect ticket sales is appealing for Tomasevic.

“I’m curious to see what will happen when we do become good and when we do turn the program around and become a winning team,” Tomasevic said. “If this is what it looks like with us not winning right now, it's going to be pretty exciting in the future.”

The Sun Devils hope to turn their season around this weekend when they travel to Corvallis, Oregon to take on Oregon State on Friday, Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. Following that match, they will make the quick trip south to Eugene to take on No. 15 Oregon on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m.


Reach the reporter at klbroder@asu.edu or follow @KellyB1459 on Twitter.

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