Loyola Basketball Marketing Plan
Rutger van Wesel
Table of Contents
Loyola Basketball Marketing Plan
I. Executive Summary
Loyola College, located in Baltimore, Maryland, was founded in 1852 as a Jesuit
Catholic university. The college enrolls approximately 3,418 full-time undergraduate
students and 2,656 graduate students, and offers eight men’s and eight women’s athletic
teams, which compete at the NCAA Division 1 level. The Loyola College Greyhounds
men’s basketball team is a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC)
and is led by third year head coach Scott Hicks. The team is comprised of a thirteen-
player roster including four freshman, five sophomores, three juniors, and one senior.
The Greyhounds men’s basketball team plays its home games in the 3,000 seat Reitz
Arena, which is located in the center region of the Loyola College campus.
During the 2001-2002 season the men’s basketball team achieved an overall record of 5-23 and a 4-14 record during MAAC league play. The Greyhound’s record for home games at Reitz Arena during the 2001-2002 season was 2-9, which included a 2-6
record during MAAC league play and a 0-3 record during non-conference games. For
the 2002-2003 season, the team is scheduled to play thirteen home games, of which eight
are conference games. In the preseason MAAC Coaches Poll, the Greyhounds were
selected to finish last out of ten teams.
According to the Office of Academic Affairs for Student-Athletes, “it is the
educational mission of Loyola College to challenge students to learn, lead and serve in a
diverse and changing world. Loyola has always been devoted not only to the
transmission of knowledge but also to the development of mind and character.” With
regards to the college’s athletics program, “the college has maintained a reputation of
athletic success and academic integrity that has become a model for institutions of similar
size throughout the United States.” Reverend Harold J. Ridley, President, heads Loyola
College, while the Athletic Department is under the direction of Mr. Joseph Boylan.
Head men’s basketball coach Scott Hicks, who retains ultimate responsibility for the
performance of the team, is supported by assistant coaches Byron Thorne, Karl Radday,
and Brian Murphy.
Due to the relative poor performance of the basketball team over the past few
years as well as ineffective promotional efforts, fan support/turnout during home games
at Reitz Arena has been weak. Attendance for eleven home games during the 2001-2002
basketball season averaged 580 spectators per game, compared to an average of 2112
spectators per game for away games.
II. The Challenge
The primary challenge being addressed is the development of a feasible, adaptable
plan to increase fan turnout, and revive enthusiasm and support for the Loyola College
Greyhounds men’s basketball team.
III. Situation Analysis
The Loyola College Greyhounds men’s basketball team competes at the NCAA
Division 1 level, and is a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Loyola’s
conference opponents include: Canisius College, Fairfield University, Iona College,
Manhattan College, Marist College, Niagara University, Rider University, St. Peter’s
College, and Siena College. The team is under the direction of head coach Scott Hicks,
as well as assistant coaches Byron Thorne, Karl Radday, and Brian Murphy, and is
comprised of a thirteen player roster including:
1. Lindbergh Chatman (Jr., F)
2. Luscious Jordan (So., G)
3. Charlie Bell (Fr., G)
4. Donovan Thomas (Jr., F)
5. Bernard Allen (So., F)
6. Bobby Bossman (Fr., G/F)
7. Ryan Dickey (Jr., G)
8. Sean Corrigan (So., F/C)
9. Linton Hinds (Fr., G)
10. Irakli Nijaradze (So., C)
11. Delonnie Southall (Sr., F)
12. Jim Chivers (So., F)
13. Josko Alujevic (Fr., F)
The basketball team had an overall record of 5-23 during the 2001-2002 season,
which included a 4-14 record against MAAC league opponents. The team’s record
placed them ninth in MAAC standings out of ten teams, a position which it has held for
the past four seasons. At Reitz Arena, the Greyhounds were 2-9 during the 2001-2002
season, going 2-6 in conference games. Due in part to the Greyhound’s poor overall
record, and equally poor home record, the team drew, on average, only 580 spectators
during eleven home games last season. During the 2002-2003 season, the team is
scheduled to play eight conference games and five non-conference games at Reitz Arena.
Despite Loyola’s poor record the past few seasons the team has a number of strengths going into this season that should help in achieving a greater record and
attracting a greater home fan presence. First, while still relatively young, many team
members head into this year with a greater level of maturity and experience playing at the
college level, including Luscious Jordan, Donovan Thomas, Bernard Allen, and Irakli
Nijaradze. Second, despite the poor record last season, the level of confidence should be
greater because of contending in a number of close games. For example, the Greyhounds
led at halftime in five out of their fourteen league losses, and were within five points
during the final ten minutes in four other league losses. Third, after losing starting point
guard Damien Jenifer to graduation and shooting guard B.J. Davis to transfer, Coach
Hicks recruited a strong freshman class including shooting guard Bobby Bossman,
point/shooting guard Charlie Bell, point guard Linton Hinds, and forward Josko Alujevic.
The basketball team has a number of weaknesses that could hurt its chances
during the 2002-2003 season as well. First, despite Loyola’s perceived strengths, the
team was chosen to finish last by a preseason MAAC Coaches Poll. Second, fan
support/attendance, which is crucial during close games, has been poor the past few
seasons. Third, despite the added maturity, the team is still relatively young and
unproven. Nine out of thirteen players are either in their freshman or sophomore years,
and only one player is in his final year of eligibility. Each of these three factors could
contribute to a poor performance this season and continue to negatively effect fan
Although the Greyhound’s record has been poor the past few seasons, the
college’s program has achieved success in the past and is looking to return to that glory.
During the 1993-1994 season, the Loyola College Greyhound’s upset Manhattan College
in the MAAC title game, and earned a bid in the NCAA Championships.
As previously stated, fan attendance for games at Reitz Arena during the 2001-
2002 season averaged only 580 spectators per game, compared to an average fan
attendance for away games of 2112 spectators. In addition, the average number of fans in
attendance for home games represented less than one fifth (19.3%) of the total occupancy of Reitz Arena. These figures are especially troubling considering the number of Loyola College undergraduate and graduate students, the number of faculty, administrative, and support staff, as well as the number of Loyola Alumni living in the state of Maryland. Loyola College has a total of 3,418 full-time undergraduates, 2, 656 full-time graduate students, and 848 faculty, administrative, and support personnel. In addition, sixty-two percent of the college’s 40,862 or approximately 25,335 alumni live in Maryland. That makes for a total of 32,227 individuals associated with the college that are available to attend Greyhound men’s basketball games.
Discounting the number of alumni that live in Maryland, still leaves a total of 6,074 full-time students and 848 employees available to attend basketball games. The average of 580 attendants is less than nine percent (8.4%) of the total population of individuals who are either students or employees of the college. Considering that students are admitted free of charge, employees receive two tickets free of charge to each home game, and tickets to the general public are either $8 or $5 depending on seat preference, the percentage of actual attendees from potential attendees is extremely poor.
Reasons for individuals not attending basketball games include personal reasons, prior commitments, college related work, indifference due to poor record, and a lack knowledge regarding schedule information. The two most likely reasons for low attendance, in order of importance, are the lack of knowledge regarding schedule information and indifference due to the team’s poor record. Measures need to be taken to
increase the number of fans in attendance regardless of the success or failure of the basketball team itself.
Competition can be thought of as any better use of an individual’s time, as
perceived by that individual, and not merely an alternate athletic event. Fan attendance for Loyola College Greyhounds men’s basketball games is under intense competition from a number of different alternatives including, but not limited to, prior commitments, college related work or activities, and alternate athletic events. Some alternatives are purely unavoidable, while others may be purely preferential. Those alternatives that are unavoidable are much more likely to prohibit fan attendance than are preferential alternatives. For example, a student with an extremely important paper due the following day may not be able to afford the time spent attending a basketball game. Alternatively, a student who chooses to watch a game televised on ESPN is fully exercising his/her free judgment not to attend.
In addition, Loyola men’s basketball faces considerable competition from
alternate athletic events. Various other colleges and universities in Baltimore and the surrounding areas, such as Towson and Johns Hopkins, have athletic events that coincide with those of Loyola College. Also, in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. areas there are a number of professional and minor league teams whose seasons coincide with the collegiate basketball season including the Baltimore Ravens, Washington Redskins, Washington Wizards, and the Washington Capitals.
With the diversity of the support base, i.e. students, faculty, administrators, and staff, as well as alumni, the Loyola men’s basketball team faces considerable competition for fan support/attendance. However, an effective plan aimed towards awareness could invigorate support and dramatically increase attendance figures.
A PEST Analysis looks at the different factors in an organization’s environment,
which includes political and legal, economic, social and cultural, and technological environments. The climates that surround Loyola College men’s basketball directly are the social and cultural, and the technological environments. The others do not really play a major role.
The social and cultural environment involves many things, including their desire to distribute tickets to the student body. This is Loyola’s main concern. Students are the number one market for them. However, sales are down because students do not have the desire to go to home games. Loyola must also try to get alumni involved in ticket purchases. This applies to the high number of local alumni as well as alumni out of state. They must create a need for alumni to come back to school and attend a game. Outside of past students and current students, Loyola must also look at senior citizens and youth groups in the area. A major player in ticket sales would be the youth groups and local schools. If any of the kids on these teams have a desire of someday playing Division I basketball, the opportunity is there for them to see what it is like and what to work for. By offering ticket sales to groups like these, they are increasing their chances of someday landing a couple of these kids to play for them.
The technological environment surrounding Loyola would be their giveaways of prizes during games, and the different contests at halftime. Loyola must keep up with the current trends in men’s college basketball, such as media guides, viewing of games on television, and broadcasting over the Internet and the radio. They should benchmark other schools for advice on how to get people to buy tickets and keep buying them, and to
create awareness to them. Most importantly for Loyola to do during their campaign is to
promote fun for the people. They need to create an atmosphere where the buyer wants to
keep coming back.
A SWOT Analysis provides information that is helpful in matching the
organization’s resources and capabilities to the competitive environment in which it
operates. It helps determine their internal and external environments when looking at
their strategy for planning. The SWOT Analysis looks internally at the organization’s
strengths and weaknesses, and it looks externally at the environmental opportunities and
Loyola College men’s basketball has many organizational strengths surrounding them. First, they are a diverse team in a diverse city. Many of their players come from
all over the U.S., including Maryland. However, some of their players are from outside
of the U.S. This gives people the chance to see how basketball is played here, but also
how the game is played in other parts of the world. They offer state of the art training
facilities with their arena and Fitness and Aquatic Center. A strong characteristic is their teams and players from the past. Some of the players have gone on to professional
basketball here and over seas. Past teams have won MAAC Championships, and have
even competed in the NCAA tournament, which is always good exposure no matter what
happens. Even though those days of championships and NCAA appearances have come
and gone, Loyola sees a need to get back to where they should be. The force behind their
desire to get back on top is the strong alumni and Loyola’s determined athletic
department. Members who play a vital role in this include Joe Boylan, Dave Gerrity, and