Oklahoma State University Women’s Basketball Team Research Guide Fall 2013 Group 8 Madison Bryan Shelbi Ford Rachael Maltby Josh Moore Liz Worsham
Table of Contents Background Information Research Synopsis…………………………………………………3 Situation Analysis………………………………………………….9 Target Publics……………………………………………………...11 Research Focus Groups Moderator Guide/Focus Group Questions………………...13 Consent Forms…………………………………………….17 Focus Group Transcriptions……………………………….25 Results……………………………………………………..44 Surveys Questions………………………………………………….46 Results…………………………………………………….50 Personal Interviews Interview 1………………………………………………..63 Interview 2………………………………………………..66 Interview 3………………………………………………..73 Interview 4………………………………………………..78 Interview 5………………………………………………..81 Ethnography……………………………………………………...83 Plan Outcome of Research…………………………………………….88 Suggestions……………………………………………………….88 Appendix Presentation Slides……………………………………………….93 Sources…………………………………………………………...98
2 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE
Research Synopsis Introduction: The OSU Women’s Basketball team has developed a great program but unfortunately the attendance of fans does not correlate with the talent of the female athletes. Due to this ongoing trend we have been asked to conduct research to find out the thoughts, feelings and opinions of our target publics: current Oklahoma State students, faculty, alumni, Stillwater residents, and surrounding Stillwater residents. Social: OSU women’s basketball games are available for all ages to attend and has a family friendly environment. Stillwater, Okla. has few entertainment options and women’s basketball games provide a unique and exciting experience for people of all ages. Women’s basketball games can become a family outing, date night, or friendly outing option. With games running roughly two hours, concession stands open and low-priced tickets, women’s basketball games are a social activity that should be a option for people of all ages. Culture Climate: Women’s basketball is evolving and female players are on more level terms with the male basketball players. However, attendance in college women’s basketball and even the WNBA does not match the women’s talent. Public Opinion:
OSU women’s basketball, much like the WNBA, has very low attendance and media presence. With that being said, public opinion is somewhat uninformed and almost seemingly uninterested. Those who are aware of OSU women’s basketball find it less exciting than men’s basketball. Mission: Seek opinions from our target publics to help better understand why the women’s basketball team isn’t on par with other top programs in the nation. After we collect research, we will then be able to find ways to entice our target publics to not only to attend OSU women’s basketball games, but become regular attendees. History: According the OSU Women’s Basketball media guide, in 2000, Gallagher-Iba Arena underwent a $55 million renovation project and is now apart of the new OSU athletics center. The arena seats more than 13,000 Oklahoma State fans. In addition to the state of the art Gallagher-Iba arena, the Oklahoma State Cowgirls basketball team now has the best locker room facility in the nation. Due to these renovations, the OSU women’s basketball program has become more appealing to potential recruits. According to the OSU women’s basketball website, Coach Budke took over the women’s basketball team in 2003. He helped the women’s basketball team rise to the national level. Prior to that, the women’s basketball team was not as competitive as they are today. In 2011, a tragic plane crash took the lives of Coach Kurt Budke and Assistant Coach Miranda Serna. The OSU community rallied behind the women’s basketball team supporting them all the way to win the WNIT Championship in 2012.
4 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE
According to the OSU Athletics website, following the deaths of coach Budke and Serna, Jim Littell took his current role as head coach for the OSU women’s basketball team. After being the interim coach for the first four games, Oklahoma State named Littell as its head coach on December 9, 2011. Two seasons later, the OSU women’s basketball team is undefeated with a record of 7-0. They are #1 in the big 12 and #14 in the AP polls. Strengths and Weaknesses: Strengths - Oklahoma State University has a rich history of sporting success and has developed a loyal fan base of students and alumni -
OSU has some of, if not the best facilities in the country to attend sporting events (particularly basketball at Gallagher-Iba Arena)
Just two seasons ago, the OSU women’s basketball team won the WNIT championship and received national attention for the accomplishment.
The OSU women’s basketball team has become a national contender over the past few seasons and are currently undefeated and in first place in its conference.
OSU women’s basketball has succeeded in creating an exciting style of basketball, averaging 85 points per game through seven games with an average margin of victory of over 37 points per game.
OSU women’s basketball has some of the nation’s most exciting players in Tiffany Bias and Brittney Martin.
OSU women’s basketball has signed two of the nation’s top recruits to help ensure future success.
Weaknesses - OSU’s fan base, primarily at the student level, seems very unaware of the team’s success and how good some of the players are. -
Many students don’t even know when the home games are being played.
The consensus with OSU students is that the team is not promoted nearly enough to foster an interest in the team.
The new “all sports package” has prevented students who did not want football tickets from getting into women’s basketball games for free like they used to.
Fans tend to flock to sports that are popular in the national media. Unfortunately, women’s basketball, both collegiately and professionally, does not have the same coverage as men’s sports, and therefore don’t have the following.
Games may be held too late at night for families to bring their children, or too early in the day for students to get out of class or off work to attend the games.
Despite being successful in nonconference games and post season play, OSU women’s basketball has had a mediocre conference record over the past several seasons, leading students and other fans to believe the team is not a higher caliber team worth watching.
Research For our communication plan, we will conduct qualitative and quantitative research to determine a plan of action for the OSU Women’s Basketball team. These methods will be explained in further detail below:
6 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE
• • • •
Focus Groups Surveys Personal Interviews Ethnography
Focus Group In order to gain information and opinion about the OSU Women’s Basketball team, we will perform two focus groups. The group will consist of a variety of students who will give us their thoughts and opinions about the OSU women’s basketball program. Focus groups are a qualitative form of research and will give us more in depth answers to the questions we are asking. Our focus groups will allow us to discover the thoughts, feelings and opinions of OSU student’s in regards to the OSU women’s basketball team and help us better understand why the attendance at games has been so low. Surveys Our survey will be used to discover other people’s knowledge and awareness of the OSU Women’s Basketball team and hopefully help us get insight to why game attendance is so much lower than other programs in the nation. Our survey will contain 20-25 questions and will be distributed online through Survey Gizmo. Personal Interviews We will conduct five personal interviews to people who have somewhat of a connection to Oklahoma State University. Personal interviews are another form of qualitative research that help us get more in-depth information about our topic. For our personal interviews we will be talking to OSU Alumna Carson Bailey, OSU student Amy Currie, OSU Alumna and former OSU Women’s Basketball season ticket holder Paula Shive,
OSU student Charlie Orf and OSU student Christian Leonard. Our group believes that these five people will give us helpful information to add to our research. Ethnography An ethnography is the study of the culture or environment. For our ethnography, we will be studying the environment at an OSU women’s basketball game. This will give us a better insight into the environment of the women’s basketball games and the atmosphere of Cowgirl basketball.
8 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE
Situation Analysis Strengths -
Oklahoma State University has a rich history of sporting success and has developed a loyal fan base of students and alumni OSU has some of, if not the best facilities in the country to attend sporting events (particularly basketball at Gallagher-Iba Arena) Just two seasons ago, the OSU women’s basketball team won the WNIT championship and received national attention for the accomplishment. The OSU women’s basketball team has become a national contender over the past few seasons and are currently undefeated and in first place in its conference. OSU women’s basketball has succeeded in creating an exciting style of basketball, averaging 85 points per game through seven games with an average margin of victory of over 37 points per game. OSU women’s basketball has some of the nation’s most exciting players in Tiffany Bias and Brittney Martin. OSU women’s basketball has signed two of the nation’s top recruits to help ensure future success.
OSU’s fan base, primarily at the student level, seems very unaware of the team’s success and how good some of the players are. Many students don’t even know when the home games are being played. The consensus with OSU students is that the team is not promoted nearly enough to foster an interest in the team. The new “all sports package” has prevented students who did not want football tickets from getting into women’s basketball games for free like they used to. Fans tend to flock to sports that are popular in the national media. Unfortunately, women’s basketball, both collegiately and professionally, does not have the same coverage as men’s sports, and therefore don’t have the following. Games may be held too late at night for families to bring their children, or too early in the day for students to get out of class or off work to attend the games. Despite being successful in nonconference games and post season play, OSU women’s basketball has had a mediocre conference record over the past several seasons, leading students and other fans to believe the team is not a higher caliber team worth watching.
Oklahoma State’s men’s basketball team is being talking about on the national stage. Stars like Marcus Smart have made the team into a championship 9
contender. The women’s basketball team has the opportunity to promote its stars alongside the likes of Marcus Smart. Fans will respond well to exciting basketball, regardless of whether or not it is men’s or women’s. As long as the team continues to perform at the level they are now, OSU can promote its team as one of the most entertaining in the country. OSU women’s basketball team’s biggest target audience is the student population. Students are heavily involved on social media and the team can utilize Twitter and Facebook to draw more attention to the team. Use stars like Marcus Smart and Markel Brown to promote the women’s games on Twitter and Facebook because many of them regularly attend the games. OSU can follow the example of the way programs such as Baylor and UConn and the have marketed their star players to bring more national attention to their programs and women’s college basketball. Some students have said that more giveaways would attract them to more games.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have hurt the attendance of both men’s and women’s basketball at both OSU and the University of Oklahoma. The success of the men’s team could potentially take attention off of the women’s team if not utilized correctly. The Tulsa Shock: Some people in Oklahoma may prefer to see a professional team if they are going to attend a women’s basketball game. Distance: Some people may not want to travel any significant distances to see a women’s basketball game like they would for a football game or premiere men’s basketball game.
1 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 0
Target Publics Deciding the correct target publics for the Oklahoma State women’s basketball team is crucial for increasing both attendance and crowd loyalty. After completing our various forms of research, we have decided on two key target publics that will be interested in attending regularly Oklahoma State women’s basketball games.
Current students at Oklahoma State University Our first selected target public are the current students of Oklahoma State University. Current students feel like Oklahoma State is one large family and many enjoy the intimate and exciting environment at Oklahoma State sporting events. Most have time to attend events in the evenings and are happy that most sporting events are on campus and only a few minutes from their homes. Not only are they on the campus on a weekly basis, they are also interested in going with friends to Oklahoma State sporting events. If an Oklahoma State student purchases season football tickets they will also receive an all sports pass. This pass allows them to attend every single OSU sporting event, including both the men’s and women’s basketball games. Because every sporting event is open for them to attend, students may decide to go to a game with friends to give them something to do for the night. Because of the current students’ strong feelings of family towards Oklahoma State, they are early to adopt new and exciting things that happen on campus. This will make it easy to establish crowd loyalty with the Oklahoma State women’s basketball team.
Oklahoma State Faculty Just like current students, the faculty of Oklahoma State has a strong attachment to the university. Most faculty members spend their time on campus, either in class or in their on-campus office, and are aware of the events that OSU hosts each week. Faculty members may want to go to a game to relax after a long day of grading.
Alumni of Oklahoma State University Oklahoma State University alumni are our next target public. Alumni from Oklahoma State feel a strong connection to the school and are usually fully supportive of many college-sporting events. Thousands frequent Oklahoma State sporting events each year and are eager to attend events at their alma mater.
Stillwater Residents The residents of Stillwater, especially those with children, may be interested in attending Oklahoma State women’s basketball games to be able to both entertain and show their children that working hard at a specific sport can pay off. Distributing exciting buzz and statistics about the Oklahoma State women’s basketball team around Stillwater will be an easy task. Many residents in Stillwater live no more than 15 minutes away from Gallagher-Iba arena.
1 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 2
Focus Group Questions Introduction Dr. Shipka’s research group will be conducting personal interviews, focus groups and online surveys to gain information from the audience of the OSU Women’s Basketball team. The research will focus on identifying the underlying thoughts, impressions and feelings of college sports fans in regard to the OSU Women’s Basketball team. After analyzing feedback, we can then recommend various courses of action to improve both attendance and fan loyalty. Target Audience The types of participants for the identified focus group should meet the following selected criteria • 18-25 years old • Currently enrolled at Oklahoma State University or Northern Oklahoma College • Familiarity with college-level athletics • No specific knowledge of Women’s basketball Additional Directions • Allot 1-2 hours for each focus group. • At least 6 participants must be present to each group. • Allow ______ minutes for each different topic. • Let participants know when there is 5 minutes remaining on the topic so that they can make sure their opinion is heard before time is up. • Encourage participants to speak up if their opinion differs from that of another participant. • Provide writing utensils to participants for any notes or thoughts they have. Moderator Guide/Script Introduction I would like to thank everyone for being here today to participate in our focus group. The goal of our session today is to obtain your feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, and gather your ideas on college sports and the OSU Women’s Basketball team. Any comments or suggestions that you give us could highlight steps that OSU Women’s Basketball can take in order to increase attendance and fan loyalty at their games. Directions For the next 1 to 2 hours my group and I will be taking notes and video recording your discussion. Because of this, I am going to ask everyone to please read over these consent forms and sign your name. We’re going to have a fun time today! I encourage everyone to contribute to the conversation as much as possible. Ice Breaker – A Million Dollar Shopping Spree! If you were given a million dollars what would be the first three things you spend your money on?
SCRIPT: MODERATOR: I would like to thank everyone for being here today to participate in our focus group. The goal of our session today is to obtain your feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, and gather your ideas on college sports and the OSU Women’s Basketball team. Any comments or suggestions that you give us could highlight steps that OSU Women’s Basketball can take in order to increase attendance and fan loyalty at their games. For the next 1 to 2 hours my group and I will be taking notes and video recording your discussion. Because of this, I am going to ask everyone to please read over these consent forms and sign your name. We’re going to have a fun time today! I encourage everyone to contribute to the conversation as much as possible. Feel free to grab some pizza and drinks while we discuss. [Offer time to grab pizza and drinks] So let’s begin with an icebreaker. If you were given a million dollars what would be the first three things you spend your money on? [Offer time for responses] Now that we have all gotten to know each other a little bit better we can proceed with our focus group topic. What sport or sports do you like to watch or participate in the most? [Offer time for responses] How do you feel about college sporting events, and how, in your opinion, do they compare to pro events? Do you prefer one to the other? Why? [Offer time for responses] Of all of the college sporting events that you have gone to, what is your favorite, and what about the experience made it your favorite? [Offer time for responses] Many schools have game day or game time traditions that add to the overall atmosphere of a college event. For example, the gator chomp, the FSU tomahawk chop, reading the papers while the opposing team is introduced at OSU basketball games. Do you have a favorite tradition like this in college sports? Do you feel that OSU does not have a defining tradition like other school, or are you content with what fans do at games? 1 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 4
[Offer time for responses] Of any of these traditions, do you feel as if they lose their effect if there are not many people in the stands? What do you think fans could do to add to the atmosphere even when attendance is lower than ideal? [Offer time for responses] As a whole, how does the atmosphere you have experienced at OSU games compare to other sporting events you have attended? What could OSU do more of or less of at games? [Offer time for responses] How many Oklahoma State University sporting events have you attended? How many of these events were women’s sports? [Offer time for responses] Describe the difference in the atmosphere at women’s events compared to men’s events? [Offer time for responses] Other than attendance, what do you think contributes to that difference? [Offer time for responses] Last season, the Big 12 ranked number one in attendance for women’s basketball. Four schools, Baylor, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Oklahoma all ranked inside the top 15 in the nation in attendance, but OSU did not even break the top 50. Why do you think that is? [Offer time for responses] Last year, those four schools were the four that finished ahead of OSU in the conference. OSU finished fifth and received an NCAA tournament berth, but lost in the second round. This year, OSU is ranked number one in the big 12 at 4-0 (number 20 in the country) and are averaging around 80 points per game, but attendance is still hovering just about 2,000 per game. Did you know this? Do you think OSU does a good enough job promoting the success of the team? [Offer time for responses] The acquisition of Marcus Smart has put OSU men’s basketball back on the map. The women’s team has two incoming recruits that ESPN score in the mid 90’s (out of 100
points). Would you go to more women’s games if they featured top recruits who were likely to become pro? [Offer time for responses] Do you take pride in OSU women’s sports as much as you do men’s? Why or why not? [Offer time for responses] Why do you think schools such as UConn, Baylor, Notre Dame and even Oklahoma have had substantially more interest in their women’s basketball programs? What can OSU copy from these schools? [Offer time for responses] Do game giveaway promotions influence your decision to go to a game? What types of promotions would grab your interest? [Offer time for responses] Did you learn or hear anything today that would make you more likely to attend OSU women’s basketball even semi regularly?
1 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 6
1 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 8
2 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 0
2 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 2
2 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 4
Focus Group #1 Josh: Moderator #1 Shelbi: Moderator #2 Madison: Note taker Attendee #1: Pink shirt Attendee #2: White scarf Attendee #3: Black scarf Moderator #2: I would like to thank everyone for being here today to participate in our focus group. The goal of our session today is to obtain your feedback, whether it’s positive or negative, and gather your ideas on college sports and the OSU Women’s Basketball team. Any comments or suggestions that you give us could highlight steps that OSU Women’s Basketball can take in order to increase attendance and fan loyalty at their games. For the next 1 to 2 hours my group and I will be taking notes and video recording your discussion. Because of this, I am going to ask everyone to please read over these consent forms and sign your name. We’re going to have a fun time today! I encourage everyone to contribute to the conversation as much as possible. Feel free to grab some pizza and drinks while we discuss. Question #1 ü Moderator #1: What sports do you guys like to watch or participate in most? #2: Are you talking about at OSU? Moderator #1: Any sport in general #1: Soccer and ice hockey Moderator #1: Soccer and ice hockey. What kind of soccer? #1: Just soccer Moderator #2: Is that what you play or watch? #1: I’ve played it and I watch it. #2: I like to watch football and baseball, I can’t play any sports. #3: I watch football. Moderator #1: Football. So nobody here basketball? #2: I watch like NBA basketball
#1: I was forced to watch it when I was a cheerleader, other than that no. Moderator #1: So, we would really say that anybody here isn’t really a basketball fan per say. #2: I’m a Mavs fan Moderator #1: You’re a Mavs fan, okay. Well that’ll work. Question #2 ü Moderator #1: How do you feel about college sporting events, and how, in your opinion, do they compare to pro events? Do you prefer one to the other? Why? #1: I prefer college over pro, just because a lot more of like of it because it’s team is more localized and they’re a lot more fun when they’re together. #2: I prefer college football, but professional baseball. I like college basketball to professional basketball to me. #3: I would say college football just because it’s more, the crowds more energetic and interactive. Moderator #1: So basically overall you think there is a different vibe and a feel to college games? All attendees: Absolutely Question #3 ü Of all of the college sporting events that you have gone to, what is your favorite, and what about the experience made it your favorite? #3: I would say football just because honestly just sitting in the student section and being around my friends and going to the games with a close group of people my age as opposed to being around older people I guess. #2: I would agree with that. #1: Yeah Question #4 ü Moderator #1: So do you have anything specific, like a specific game. Anything like that that really stuck out, something happened at the game you saw a certain player at the game that you enjoyed watching. #2: Um, I mean Bedlam 2 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 6
#3: Bedlam of uh, 2 years ago when we won Moderator #1: 2011 #2: Other than that they all kinda run together. #3: The Kansas State game that year, that’s pretty much it. #2: (laughs) Moderator #1: I gotch you. Question #5 ü Moderator #1: Many schools have game day or game time traditions that add to the overall atmosphere of a college event. For example, the gator chomp, the FSU tomahawk chop, reading the papers while the opposing team is introduced at OSU basketball games. We have the keys during kickoff. #3: The waving wheat Moderator #1: Yeah we have that one, all we do is win thing. Do you feel that OSU doesn’t have the same identity that some of the other schools have? Do you feel like that maybe a little too much or too many things? #1: I grew up in the SEC versus here. So coming from the SEC it feels a lot toned down. The energy levels aren’t as high. When we have like tailgating, and like just everybody is coming out and doing stuff it’s not quite as rowdy, which can be a good thing. But it’s also there’s not as much pumped up spirit unless it’s like homecoming was almost to a normal SEC game. Moderator #1: So it’s more of a big game circumstance type thing #1: And so there’s a little bit of a difference of vibe and stuff like that. But when you get into the section everyone is still pumped and hanging out and stuff like that, which is really cool. #2: I almost feel like we have too many different things going on, because like I noticed, I don’t notice it much when we’re in Stillwater. But when you go to away games, there’s so much going, like they play the waving song and everyone thinks that’s our fight song. You know it’s like all of our little things that get lost in translation like Moderator #1: If you ask an away fan what OSU’s fight song is #2: They think it’s the waving song and they think it’s so dumb that we do that.
#3: Yeah I thought it was like, when I first came here, like my very first game as a student I was overwhelmed because there was so many things that I didn’t know how to do, but after learning it I think it’s cool. I just think it’s, I like it now. But the first game I just felt out of place almost. Moderator #1: So you don’t have a problem with having multiple things. #3: No I think it’s cool now, now that I like know it, now that I’m in the in crowd. But before I didn’t like it. Moderator #2: Like an outsider #2: Yeah, I felt like really uncomfortable my first game here because I had no idea what to do and everyone around me was like “Oh you should know this by now” and I had no idea. Moderator #1: Yeah I just I can see it as very different because like I’ve been to several Arkansas games so you kinda have one thing to do there. #1: Yeah and then you have like coming with Alabama and Auburn and Florida cause those were the big ones that I went to where you have like everyone all the fans, everyone knows two or three main cheers whereas we have like a lot more, which are more student specific, that the whole – all the fans don’t get involved in, you might have a couple of the alumni and then you have the student section. And it’s not like quite as everyone involved as it is like say you know, chomping and doing you know Alabama stuff. It’s a bit different. Question #6 ü So of these traditions, actually let me reword that. Do you think that the number of fans definitely has a huge impact on the feel of like when you’re doing the actions like whatever you want to call them, particularly the OSU games. Say for instance at a basketball game, when people do the papers and stuff like that. It’s pretty cool when the whole stadiums full, do you think it kinda loses its appeal to, it’s affect, when there’s not that many people in the stands? #2: Oh absolutely #3: I completely agree #2: And no one, if there’s only like a sparse amount of people, no one wants to be that, the only person that’s doing something. When it’s the entire group, then it’s cool to be a part of it but like when #3: It’s like when you’re at an away game and doing it with like two or three people doing it, it’s like
2 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 8
#2: It’s sad #3: It’s almost awkward Question #7 ü As a whole, how does the atmosphere you have experienced at OSU games compare to other sporting events you have attended? #2: I think when our attendance is good, like it’s a great experience. Like our football games, I mean we have a ton like a full student section. I don’t think you could beat it. Like from what I’ve experienced, but I mean. #3: Yeah I think the energy in the student section compares to going to a pro football game. Because I mean I’ve been to a Cowboys game, it’s like high energy it’s like really exciting, everybody’s like really pumped up. Moderator #2: Do you feel like because it’s OSU it’s like more loyalty, like Cowboys Basketball people who go there it’s like #3: Die hard fans, yeah Moderator #2: so because it’s OSU it’s like a lot of loyalty? #2: I feel like everyone can come together Moderator #2: It’s not just like random people who are like “I got a ticket,” it’s like we’re here every game. #3: I feel like if somebody were to come in and we’re just like, “Oh I’m kinda an OSU fan” like it wouldn’t be as exciting, but it’s mainly like I’ve never I’ve been to one OSU game and didn’t sit in the student section and even like over there it was still like everyone was riled up, everyone was excited, because it was like a lot of alums that just buy season tickets. #1: Yeah football’s good, I’ve gone to some of the soccer games and it’s like friends where some people have been given incentive to go like it’s Moderator #2: Like parents All: Yeah parents! (laughing) #1: And kids. And there’s like no one there, so like compared to like professional soccer games or even some of the other college soccer games I’ve gone to, it’s a lot less energy and like fan support and stuff like that. Moderator #2: Right
Moderator #1: So you think as a whole like what makes OSU special is the fact that everyone there has something, they’re more invested in OSU than just the casual fan or for instance with OU, people that have just affiliated themselves with OU. All: (jumbled yes and laughing responses) #1: There’s definitely more like talking and stuff and shared experiences like in the things. Like you can pick up a conversation really easily with the person sitting next to you and it’s not just like “oh my gosh I watch them on TV” like “oh yeah I went to school here” or “my parents went to school here” or something like that. So you have like, there’s like true reason for them to be there, versus just #3: Yeah fan loyalty is based on like your parents raising you on it or you went to school here, it’s not like Question #8 ü How many Oklahoma State University sporting events have you attended? How many of these events were women’s sports? #2: I think I’ve been to one women’s soccer game. Maybe two and that was because #3: Sisterhood #2: Yeah sisterhood Moderator #1: First of all, what year are you? #3: I’m a fifth year Moderator #1: Fifth year #2: I’m a senior #1: I’m a first year sophomore here #2: Yeah as I said, as a total I’ve been to two women’s soccer games. Moderator #2: And how many sporting events in general? #2: In general I’ve been to almost all the football games minus maybe two or three, I’ve been to Moderator #1: So four or five years worth #2: Yeah, football games. 3 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 0
Moderator #2: So maybe 25 games #2: I’ve been to a handful of basketball games and I’ve been to some baseball games Moderator #1: As a number do you think less than 10% would be #2: Oh absolutely Moderator #1: Less than 5% #3: I’ve been to one female sporting event since I’ve been here and it was soccer Moderator #1: You’d say less than 5% of sporting events with women? #2&3: Yes, absolutely #1: (nodding) Question #9 ü Describe the difference in the atmosphere at women’s events compared to men’s events? #2: It’s just, there’s not a lot to get into. Like a women’s soccer game, it’s like everyone’s sitting down. Mostly it’s like parents, so it’s hard to get into it and it’s usually like during the day and kinda like weird times and not everyone is pumped up for it, it’s like really like mellow and #3: It’s not like there’s a student’s section, it not exciting by any means. Very boring #1: Yeah, I’ve only been to the women’s soccer games and football games, so I can’t really compare it to anything else. Question #10 ü Other than attendance, what do you think contributes to that difference? #3: Maybe because I mean I know obviously we don’t have like football for women or anything, but I think it’s just because we’re so good at like football is such a big deal everywhere that it’s just people are excited to watch it. And even basketball, like we’re good at basketball now so everybody wants to go to that, but Moderator #1: So you think it’s more culture thing? #3: Yeah just because I mean it’s what people grew up doing and like if people grew up watching women’s basketball I bet people would go, but it’s just like we’ve all grown up watching football and watching basketball
#1: And it’s also just like awareness, like when the games are and when they aren’t and stuff like that. Because for soccer games and stuff, unless you get like a pamphlet and you basically have to go to a soccer game to get them, like you don’t you don’t know when the games are or anything like that and there’s not like, you know they send out emails and stuff like “oh there’s gonna be a football game” or whatever, you don’t get that for any of the other. Well you get it for basketball, but I haven’t gotten any for the other sports or anything like that. #2: And like football it’s pretty consistent, like every Saturday like, it’s usually on a Saturday, like with women’s soccer it can literally be on a Tuesday afternoon and like nobody with know, nobody has any idea and basketball’s a little sporadic as well, but with men’s basketball they do a really good job of like beating you down with it. Question #11 ü How many people do you guys know that were or that played high school basketball and females that played high school basketball? #3: Probably say at least like 10 or 15. Moderator #1: Okay. Are they into going to the games at all? #3: No Moderator #1: Have you ever talked to them about why that, cause we’re talking about if it’s a cultural thing, if it’s something you grew up around like football basketball and things like that so what we’re really trying to find out is you know if that’s something they even grew up around, they were heavily invested in women’s basketball for a number of years. Why when they get to college are they no longer invested? You think you have any thoughts on that? I mean obviously without actually asking them. #3: I don’t know, I mean I feel like it is. I don’t know. I’m thinking of Paige, right off the top of my head, she’s like the one girl I think of automatically. She likes the team from a different state. She doesn’t really, she doesn’t care about OSU that much. She watches women’s basketball, she just doesn’t watch Oklahoma State. Or maybe she does and I don’t know about it, I don’t know. She’s obsessed with Tennessee, all Tennessee all the time, and I guess if she went to school there I’m sure she’d go but I think just because she doesn’t really care about OSU. #1: My school was really small and so to have a basketball team, all the girls had to play, or almost all of them. But I know none of them really, I mean their all in different state and different colleges than OSU but they don’t really watch women’s basketball and that anyway. But I think it’s just because they weren’t really invested in it. Moderator #1: So basically what we can gather from that is even if they are invested in women’s basketball unfortunately it’s not OSU women’s basketball, okay. 3 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 2
All attendees: Right, yeah. Moderator #1: That kinda leads into another question here later, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Question #12 ü Moderator #1: Last season, the Big 12 ranked number one in attendance for women’s basketball. Four schools, Baylor, Texas Tech, Iowa State and Oklahoma all ranked inside the top 15 in the nation in attendance, but OSU did not even break the top 50. Why do you think that is? #2: Well I know my experience with Baylor fans is like they place a really big importance on their women’s basketball. Like the whole Brittany Griner thing and like I mean they just made it seem so much more exciting and so much more like Moderator #1: Well anytime you get a player like that it helps. #2: Yeah, it does help, but they just made the atmosphere more made it more almost more like a men’s game like the way they made it, they hyped it up they did just as much stuff at the girls women’s games as they did at the men’s games and they just made it they made it seem like a big a big deal to the students so the students just assumed that it was like a big deal. Moderator #1: Do you think that OSU could use the model of anything like that and it would help? #2: Oh yeah, I think so. #3: Are we even good at basketball? Honestly, like is women’s basketball good cause I don’t know anything about it. Moderator #1: They are, they are number one in the big 12. #3: Really? And see, like I don’t even I don’t know anything about them. #2: I feel like no one, I feel like that’s not #3: Common knowledge, like nobody knows it. #2: I feel like if we knew, and like we knew when their big games are and if we won Moderator #1: Well, here’s one of the things that uh, this may be a little premature this early in the focus group but I think some of the other things that we’re gonna keep running into here is that they’re not very well promoted.
#2: I would agree with that #1: Yeah #3: It all, yeah. Men’s basketball is, everyone stresses it now. I mean it’s “go to the games go to the games” like I don’t have to I mean, everyone knows when are, there’s no Moderator #1: Did you go to the Memphis game the other day? #2: I watched on TV. #3: No, I watched it. Moderator #1: Did you see the lines? How the lines were out of the #3: Yeah, we weren’t even going to try, it was just (laughs) Moderator #1: There were lines that were almost down to like the Subway and the bank and everything down there trying to get in. So. #1: I didn’t even know that girls basketball was going on. (laughs) I just honestly, I didn’t even know it’s like. Moderator #1: Yeah their 4-0 and they’re number one in the big 12, they’re 20th in the country. #3: It makes, I mean Homecoming and Hoops is obviously a big deal and they make it a lot about men’s basketball and I think that they need to put more emphasis on women’s basketball #2: Especially that we’re ranked, it should have been an equal deal. Moderator #2: When we promote how good they are as opposed to here’s the girls (emphasisà) HERE’S THE GUYS. #2&3: Yeah! Moderator #1: So basically one of the things that you’re saying is they can’t they can’t promote the guys more than the girls in turn and say “okay, why are our girls not popular” #3: Yeah, exactly exactly. Cause the guys almost don’t even need promoting anymore because everyone knows about them now, they’ve got the schedule’s on the wall. It’s like football, no one needs to tell me to go to a football game because I know I’m gonna go. That’s how people are about basketball now.
3 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 4
#1: Yeah, I live with a whole bunch of guys and they’re all into sports and they when they went to the homecoming and hoops, I didn’t go but they’re thing was, the girls, all the promotion for the girls was so boring that had they been able to leave, they would have left and not watched the girls. They would have only gone for the guys. Moderator #2: Do you think that’s why they’re first? #3: Yeah, cause I bet if they didn’t do that, everyone would leave. #2: Yeah, well they did all the lights for the guys and they did like this huge entrance and they did like a huge spectacle of them and then like the women they’re just like they put a picture on the screen. Moderator #1: Well what’s kinda sad is that there is a pretty significant history of women’s basketball at Oklahoma State. #2: I don’t think they ever talk about it, no one knows anything about it. #3: They work so hard to promote the men’s basketball in the last year because nobody was going to the games and now it’s such a big deal that they’re just like. They could do the same thing for the women. Question #13 ü Last year, those four schools were the four that finished ahead of OSU in the conference. OSU finished fifth and received an NCAA tournament berth, but lost in the second round. This year, OSU is ranked number one in the big 12 at 4-0 (number 20 in the country) and are averaging around 80 points per game, but attendance is still hovering just about 2,000 per game. Did you know this? Do you think OSU does a good enough job promoting the success of the team? #2: Not at all. #3: Absolutely not. Moderator #1: Do you think people would be more interested in the team if they promoted it more? #2: Mhm, yeah I think so Moderator #1: And said hey, we’ve got a good team here #3: Cause I almost want to go now, now that we’ve like, I mean #2: They’re a good team, if they like built up the hype as much as they do for the men’s program, it would be hard not to get behind it. So, I mean, especially since they’re doing so well and they keep winning, who wouldn’t want to go cheer for a winning team.
#3: Yeah and it would probably make it even better. Moderator #1: So basically what we’ve concluded is that they don’t promote nearly well enough, there isn’t any doubt of that. So it’s an uniformed fan base, one of the big problems right now. #1: I mean, yeah, even if you just put a poster up in the student union where you walk by every day and see it, people would be like “oh yeah”. Madison: Do you think enough students know that the games are free? Like the girls games. #2: Well now that we have that sports pass. All attendees: It doesn’t really matter. #1: You have to have the pass to be able to go. Moderator #2: I think last year they were free last year too, that that would have been a bigger deal. Like “oh they’re free, why not go” But now that we have the all sports pass everything is included. #2: Yeah but if you don’t have it, like I know some people that don’t have all sports passes, they have to buy season tickets for it. So you can’t be like “oh it’s free” because it’s really not. Moderator #1: Do you guys follow OSU athletics on Twitter or facebook? #1: Nope #3: I do Moderator #1: How often do they talk about women’s basketball on there? #3: I don’t think they ever do. It’s been a lot about football and a lot about men’s basketball. But, I mean unless I just missed them, I see a lot football and men’s basketball. But that’s about it. I’m probably going to go through it now and there’s going to be like a whole thing about women’s basketball (laughter) Moderator #2: Alright, well we want to thank you guys for coming out and sharing your opinions and it is confidential and your names won’t be used in our research if it’s used outside of Daniel Shipka’s class. So thanks! #3: I learned stuff, because now I want to watch them! I want to go to a women’s basketball game now! 3 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 6
Focus Group #2
Josh: Moderator #1 Shelbi: Moderator #2
Attendee #1: Grey Columbia Attendee #2: Tan Scarf Attendee #3: Grey OSU hoodie Attendee #4: Leather Jacket Attendee #5: Guy in hat Hello everyone! Thanks for attending our focus group. These are consent forms that we would like you to sign. It’s basically just saying that this focus group is voluntary and you are free to leave at any time. We know there has been some buzz about the new Kanye West “Bound 2” video featuring Kim Kardashian. Let’s watch it as a little icebreaker. [Watch Video] Josh: Thank you guys seriously for coming. Basically tonight we are going to be talking about women’s college basketball and why there is very little interest and knowledge in the teams. We are basically trying to find out what OSU can do to improve it. We will start out by asking what sports you guys actively watch, listen to, go to, play, etc. Gray Columbia: I watch NBA mostly. For college it’s mostly for OSU. Tan Scarf: College football. Gray OSU Hoodie: I also like the NFL… But I watch college football mostly. Leather Jacket: Pro football, college football, college basketball, pro basketball… I will watch anything. I also watch baseball, but not really college baseball. I watch a lot of pro baseball. Guy in hat: I’m a huge Denver Broncos fan so I definitely like NFL. I also have friends on the wrestling team here and like to watch them wrestle. Josh: How do you feel about college sporting events? How do they compare to pro sporting events? Just try to describe the differences that you have experienced. Grey Columbia: It kind of depends where my seats are. In college you can get a lot closer, but NBA is always way better when you can have good seats.
Tan Scarf: I think NBA has more of a celebrity base. Of course I’m going to be star struck if I go to an NBA game and see Kevin Durant playing because that’s awesome. If I go to a college game it’s more intimate. It’s like I’m here, they’re here, we’re doing the same thing and I get to be a part of their success. Grey Columbia: I agree with that. Grey OSU Hoodie: I agree with where the seats are. I like being in the student section because everybody gets loud and crazy. A lot of the times in an NBA game you don’t really get front row seating unless you want to put up the money for them. If you’re seated further back everyone is sitting down and people will clap when something exciting happens. You don’t really get the same rowdiness or excitement that you would at a college game in the student section. Leather Jacket: I probably prefer college before anything because it seems like everything is exaggerated and there’s a lot more noise. But pro sports, yea it’s more expensive, but it’s a lot more classy too. It’s a completely different environment. I mean I love pro sports, I love the Chiefs, but I like being at college games. Guy in Hat: I obviously like going to college games and stuff, but if I were to go to a Denver Broncos game and saw Wes Walker down on the field playing in front of me that would be awesome. I would probably prefer that because he’s kind of like my idol and someone that I look up to. But then if you go to college there’s also students who will potentially be in the NBA or NFL and go pro, but they are just students right now. Josh: Of all the college sporting events that you guys have been to what is your favorite? It can be a football game, basketball game, anything. A lot of people in our last focus group were talking about 2011’s Bedlam game. What made it stick out to you? Leather Jacket: For me, I’m a huge Missouri fan so when we played Kansas last year that was probably the most excited I’ve ever seen anyone. It was a great game, and I’m really sad that we lost, but it was definitely a great game to be at. For football, it was definitely Texas last year. It sucks that we lost but everyone was into it. Guy in Hat: I mean I think college football before college basketball. I’m more of a football game and like it better. Josh: What was your favorite game you’ve ever been to? Guy in Hat: Uh, my senior year coming out of high school I went to the K State game and we won in the last second. That was really cool. 3 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 8
Tan Scarf: I was like, I don’t know, 11 or 12. I have been an OSU cowboy my whole life. My parents met here. Anyway, I was like 11 or 12 and it was Bedlam. I remember being like, ‘OK this is what I want to do. I want to be into sports.’ It was awesome. Grey OSU Hoodie: I’d probably have to say the Bedlam basketball game last year. I swear you could feel the student section. Every time something happened you could just feel it. Everybody was screaming and into it and at the end of the game we stormed the court. Josh: I brought a couple of friends that game and that was their first college basketball sport experience at OSU and they said, ‘Yea, we’re transferring here.’ Grey OSU Hoodie: Yea my old high school brought our boy’s basketball team to that game. When we stormed the court I saw a couple of them jumping down onto the court with us. Haha! Josh: That’s cool! To get a little more in detail now but many schools have game day or game time traditions that they are really famous for. Florida State has their Tomahawk Chop and the Gators have the Gators Chomp. We have a number of different things. We have the keys on the kickoff; the “All I Do Is Win” song and we have the reading of the papers at the basketball games. Do you think that OSU suffers or benefits from having multiple traditions on field or on court? Grey Columbia: I think it benefits. It just adds more fun to each game. Josh: And these questions are just for getting more background of how you guys feel. Guy in Hat: I think it’s cool. Grey Columbia: Maybe not add too many more. Haha. Keep it where it is. Guy in hat: I think my favorite is the pistols. Grey Columbia: I think that’s kind of universal almost. I’ve had people in OKC throw up the pistol if I’m wearing an OSU shirt. Tan Scarf: I worked at the Atherton last semester and guests would come in and say, “Go Pokes.” It’s awesome. Josh: Do you guys have a favorite tradition that is around college sports like that? I know me, growing up, I loved the Florida State Tomahawk stuff. I just thought that was so cool. Leather Jacket: I hate Kansas, but their stuff is really cool.
Josh: How do you guys feel about Orange Power as a whole? Be honest, how do you feel about it? Guy in Hat: I like it, but maybe we could do something different. Tan Scarf: I like it as a slogan, but maybe not a chant. Leather Jacket: I like it when everyone does it as a chant, but not when people randomly say it. Grey Columbia: I like it as a chant. I think it’s good for that. Josh: Do you feel like when those types of chants happen does it contribute to the atmosphere when there is not a whole lot of people in the stands? For instance, in Women’s Basketball do you feel like they have the same effect? Grey Columbia: I think we can all agree that there’s power in numbers. Josh: Ok, as a whole how does the atmosphere that you’ve experienced at OSU games compare to other teams? Leather Jacket: I think it’s pretty crazy. We have a lot more spirit compared to other schools. Grey Columbia: I’ve never really been to other school’s games. Josh: How many Oklahoma State sporting events have you been to as a whole? What percent would you say would be women’s games? Leather Jacket: I’ve been to a couple of women’s soccer games. Tan Scarf: I have friends on the soccer team so I’ve been to a few of those. Grey Columbia: I’m sitting at 0 percent. So…. Tan Scarf: I would say like 10%. Grey OSU Hoodie: Yea, 10%. Leather Jacket: I went to high school with some people on the women’s basketball team so I have gone to a few. Josh: For those who have been to a women’s game, describe the feeling at a women’s game compared to a men’s. 4 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 0
Tan Scarf: I mean like wrestling is one of the matches with smaller attendance, I’d say those games are comparable to a woman’s game. Josh: Other than attendance, what do you think contributes to women’s attendance? Grey OSU Hoodie: You never hear anything about it! I don’t ever see schedules or hear any buzz. Guy in Hat: The Baylor girl is like a popular star now so it makes it more exciting. I think if we had someone who has something different to offer would make it more exciting. Grey Columbia: Yea, you don’t see any half-‐court alley oops in women’s games. Josh: Last season the Big 12 was ranked #1 for women’s attendance over all. Four schools, Baylor, Iowa State, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma were all ranked in the top 15 in the nation. For Oklahoma State, women’s attendance didn’t break the top 50. Why do you think that is? Leather Jacket: I think it’s like she said (Grey OSU Hoodie) that we never really hear about the games. I see Fletch tweet a bit about the games, but that’s it. Tan Scarf: I think I knew a lot about the games but I had to go other ways to find it out. Grey Columbia: I agree. I don’t think I’ve heard much of anything about the games. Josh: Ok, well the acquisition of Marcus Smart has put OSU men’s basketball back on the map. I believe ESPN ranked him at a 93. OSU has incoming recruits who were both ranked in the mid 90s. I think one is a 93 and the other is a 95. So they are that caliber of player. Would you go to a game if you knew these women had the same star power as Marcus Smart? [Whole room nods] Josh: In our previous focus group a few students had the idea of making a poster of advertising OSU men’s basketball along with women’s basketball. For example, putting a picture Marcus Smart and Tiffany Bias standing back to back or something saying, “OSU Basketball” and marketing it as one unit instead of two separate things. Tan Scarf: That’s what we did in high school. It worked for us. Josh: Do you guys take pride in OSU women’s sports like you do with men’s? They bring in a ton of money and are responsible for a lot of OSU’s wins. [Room nods]
Leather Jacket: I was disappointed when we lost the last tournament so yea I would say I take pride. Josh: We will keep touching on a reoccurring theme here; the marketing of Women’s basketball team. Grey Columbia: I think it could be a response to the response they get from students. They may want to showcase the people who get lots of attendance more than people who get very few. Josh: Why do you think schools like Baylor and Oklahoma get so much attendance? Oklahoma averages three times what we do. Leather Jacket: Baylor won a national championship and they have some more celebrity-‐type players. Grey OSU Hoodie: They marketed both men and women’s teams. With Oklahoma you had Sherry Cole and lots of people to market. Here you don’t know many people… but most can name Tiffany Bias. They just don’t market her. Toni Young just entered the draft and they didn’t market her while she was here at all. Josh: We got the chance to talk to the head of recruiting and talk about the players. Tan Scarf: If you’re not marketing that it’s fun to do and stuff, we see it as a waste of our time. Josh: Would you like promotions or giveaways? They try to give away scooters. Women’s soccer gives away scarves. Things like that. DO you think these things affect or influence your decision? Grey Columbia: It’s a long commitment to go only to have a one in 2,000 chance of winning a scooter. Guy in Hat: I actually might go if I can win a scooter. Josh: Would it help you go on a semi-‐regular basis? We’re trying to find out how to increase audience attendance and loyalty. What types of promotions would you like to see? Guy in Hat: Even flyers on campus would help. Grey Columbia: Maybe even a dash of social media. No one really knows about their social media presence. 4 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 2
Josh: That’s just about all we have for you guys. Did you feel like you’ve learned anything today that would make you want to go to games in the future or make your friends go with you? Grey Columbia: Only guilt… and I still don’t feel that guilty. Grey OSU Hoodie: Learning about the two recruits helps. Grey Columbia: Have you guys done any comparable research as far as attendance with college basketball to the WNBA? I am in no way, shape, or form sexist but I think a lot of it is that women’s basketball gets associated as not very exciting. Tan Scarf: It’s almost something that you can’t fix. The nation has to fix it. Grey Columbia: I know there were people tweeting about how there was a WNBA championship and ESPN was covering something so different. People were saying, ‘Haha, there was a WNBA championship tonight?’ The coverage was pretty low. Josh: That’s all we have for you guys! Feel free to grab some pizza on your way out and leave your consent forms on the table.
Focus Group #1 Report Our first focus group was very successful in regards to the amount of information we received. We only had three people come to this focus group, but we were able to get more information from this group than the second group. The majority of what all of the attendees were saying was that they were unaware of the success and times of the
women's basketball games. They did not know when they played or how good the team is. Another aspect that the attendees were able to communicate was that they did not attend women's games in general. For instance, none of them have been to a women's basketball game before, only a women's soccer game because they had to due to some event. Also, they pointed out how teams like Baylor were able to better communicate their women's basketball team to their students, that it was a bigger deal to the students. Another thing pointed out in this focus group was promotion based on Homecoming and Hoops. They said that the women were kind of just thrown out there as opposed to the men's having a huge light show, making their promotion a big deal. Basically what information we gathered from this focus group was that the marketing for women's basketball is not done well. There is little to no promoted information out there for the students to access without specifically searching for it, they said.
Focus Group #2 Report In our second focus group we didn't learn as much as in our first one. There were five people that attended this focus group. We pretty much learned everything that was covered in the first focus group. The problem still boils down to marketing efforts done by the women's basketball team. There is little to none social media done for their team. All of the attendees were saying they didn't know about their social media presence or that they had to go through other means to find out information. Another issue pointed out was that the presence at OSU's women's basketball attendance could be related to WNBA's attendance. He said that it is probably more of a nationwide thing than just OSU, because attendance at WNBA is low as well as in college basketball. That was the 4 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 4
primary insight from this second focus group, other than marketing efforts, which we found in both groups.
OSU Women’s Basketball Survey 1. How are you affiliated with Oklahoma State University? a. Student b. Staff/faculty c. Alumni d. Family of student or staff/faculty e. No affiliation 2. How far away do you live from Stillwater, Okla.?
a. b. c. d. e. f.
0-5 miles 6-30 miles 31-60 miles 61-100 miles Over 100 miles Out of state
3. How often do you attend Oklahoma State University sporting events? a. Always b. Often c. Sometimes d. Rarely e. Never 4. How often do you attend women’s basketball games? a. Always b. Often c. Sometimes d. Rarely e. Never 5. How much would you pay for a women’s sporting event ticket? a. I wouldn’t b. Under $10 c. $11 - $20 d. $21 - $30 e. $31 - $50 f. $51 - $100 g. Over $100 6. How far would you travel for a women’s basketball game? a. 1-25 miles b. 26-50 miles c. 51- 100 miles d. Over 100 miles e. I would never travel for a game. 7. Are you a season ticket holder? a. Yes b. No c. Other d. I prefer not to answer 8. What would entice you to become a season ticket holder? a. Better seats b. Prizes c. Lower ticket prices d. Better food and beverage e. Perks (parking, discounts on other sports, childcare, etc) 9. How important is half-time entertainment to you?
4 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 6
a. b. c. d. e.
Very important Important Neutral Not important I hate it
10. When you attend sporting events, whom do you attend the events with? a. Family b. Friends c. Coworkers d. Alone e. Don’t attend sporting events 11. What would be the ideal time of day to attend a women’s basketball game? a. Morning (10 a.m.-12 p.m.) b. Afternoon (1 p.m.-4 p.m.) c. Evening (6 p.m.-10 p.m.) d. There is not an ideal time of day. e. Anytime of the day is ideal. 12. How would you like to get your news from the OSU’s Women’s Basketball team? a. Print media (newspaper, magazines, etc) b. TV media (morning/evening news) c. Online media d. Social media e. Word-of-mouth f. I do not want to get news from them. 13. What is your awareness of the OSU women’s basketball team’s website? a. I use the website regularly b. I am fully aware of the content on the page c. I have some awareness of their website d. I am unaware the team has a website 14. What is your awareness of the OSU women’s basketball team social media presence? a. I interact with them on social media b. I am fully aware they have a presence on social media c. I have some awareness of their social media presence d. I am unaware the team had a social media presence 15. How aware are you of the Pistol Pete Partner program? a. I have/know kids in the program b. I am fully aware of the program c. I have some knowledge of the program d. I do not have knowledge of the program e. I have no idea what you are talking about 16. Please indicate your age. a. 0-17 b. 18-24 c. 25-34
d. e. f. g. h.
35-44 45-54 55-64 65 or more I prefer not to answer
17. Please indicate your ethnicity. a. Asian/Pacific Islander b. Black/African-American c. Caucasian d. Hispanic e. Native American/Alaska Native f. Other/Multi-Racial g. I prefer not to answer 18. Please indicate your sex. a. Male b. Female c. Other d. I prefer not to answer 19. What is your education level? a. Less than HS diploma b. High school c. Some college d. Bachelors degree e. Graduate degree f. I prefer not to answer 20. What is your marital status? a. Married b. Widowed c. Divorced d. Separated e. Never Married f. I prefer not to answer 21. What is your average household income? a. Less than $25,000 b. $25,000 to $34,999 c. $35,000 to $49,999 d. $50,000 to $74,999 e. $75,000 to $99,999 f. $100,000 to $124,999 g. $125,000 to $149,999 h. $150,000 or more i. I prefer not to answer
4 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 8
5 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 0
5 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 2
5 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 4
5 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 6
5 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 8
6 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 0
Personal Interview 1- Charlie Orf Q. Tell me a little bit about yourself. Well, my name is Charlie. I’m a 5th year senior at OSU and I’m studying business. I like to go to the lake… uh… what else… Can’t think of much else off the top of my head. I guess you could say I’m a cool guy. Q. Do you do a lot of things on campus? 6 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 2
I would like to think so! For someone who’s not in a house… a fraternity… I feel like I’ve attended a lot of things on campus. Every year my parents come to homecoming walkarounds and then we all attend the pep rally afterwards. That’s always fun. Q. Would you say that you actively attend Oklahoma State sporting events? Yeah… Sort of. When I was a freshman I went to a lot of basketball and football games. I had a lot more free time then and really enjoyed sitting through the games. Uh… As I got older, though, I usually wound up drunk at the bars instead of at the games. Am I allowed to say that? Q. So you have been to basketball games? Did you go to the games for men or women? Definitely the men. I’ve never been to a women’s game. I have seen the girls play at the pep rally after homecoming walkarounds, though. Q. Is there a reason you have only attended men’s games? Uh… Not really… I think I just went to the men’s games because I had tickets and because a lot of my friends went to them. I also haven’t really heard much about the girl’s team.
Q. Would you say the basketball games were as exciting as the football games? Hmm… Some definitely were just as exciting. Others weren’t. The atmosphere at the football games is almost always rowdy and fun. Only the larger and competitive schools that the basketball team played were the games that were “fun.” [Uses fingers to say “fun”]
Q. Do you think it was a lack of awareness that caused you and your friends to not attend the women’s games? Uh… That could be one explanation… I don’t ever really hear about them. You know? I only ever hear about the men’s team and about Marcus Smart. He’s really good and sometimes like to read about him. Q. If you were to have more awareness about the women’s games, do you think you would want to attend? I don’t mean to sound rude… But… I feel like women’s games, in every sport, aren’t really as exciting as men’s games. OSU would really have to work hard to get me to go to a women’s game. This makes me sound so rude… Q. What if I told you that there are now girls who can dunk and train with the male players? Really? That’s actually really cool… I think maybe telling more people about that would cause them to be more interested in the girl’s team. I didn’t know they were capable of dunking! I’m 5’ 7”, so I can’t imagine. Q. Is there something that OSU could do to entice you to go to a women’s game? Free stuff is always good! Ha! So… yea. Giveaways or maybe even free food. College people always like free things.
Q. So you said you hear things about the men’s team and about Marcus Smart. How do you usually hear about these things?
6 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 4
A lot of times it’s on Facebook or something. My friends will sometimes post different articles about OSU and I am always bored so I read them… What else… I also follow them on Twitter. Sometimes they live Tweet the games and I like to keep track. Q. Do you ever read anything about the women’s basketball team? Um… Sometimes. I used to read a bit about Tiffany Bias on Twitter. Does she still play here? I feel like I don’t see much about them. Q. With the answer you said, do you think there is anything OSU could do to increase the awareness of the women’s team? Yea! I always watch the TV’s in the union. Maybe they could put a promo video of the girls on there or something. That would be cool. Do they do flyers? I think that would work if they did it the day of each game. Um… What else… Do they have a Twitter? I usually follow the teams I like on there. Q. That’s all I have for you today, Charlie. Are there any other ideas that you would like to add? I definitely think that they should show off the talent of their players, especially If they can dunk and stuff. Maybe they can show off the girls just like the guys… I don’t know what I’m trying to say.
Personal Interview 2- Paula Shive OSU Alumni Spears School of Business - Coordinator Support Services 1. Are you a big sports fan? a. Yes I always have been. 2. Favorite sport? Why? a. Women's basketball. Because I played basketball in high school and my grandkids played basketball. I'm just a big supporter of OSU Cowgirls.
3. Do you prefer attending them or watching them on TV? a. I do both. I like to attend the games, because you're more involved with the fans and stuff. 4. What is your favorite part of the basketball game? a. Probably the very beginning because they do a video of the girls and you get to see each individual player and you kinda get to see their personality because they kinda do a little modeling and all. And then they show them as a group and the spirit and all getting ready for the game and shows what a group they are. What a good team, you know they fit together. 5. They didn't do that in the past? a. They haven't always done that in the past. It kinda started with Butkey. Where he was trying to promote and get the fans involved. He also started a welcome back BBQ dinner for not just season ticket holders but that's mostly who it was. And it was like the Wednesday before the first game they had it out at the expo. They introduced all the team and showed little video clips of different things so trying to get more people involved and interested. And it's continuing. b. We didn't get much TV time, but it's getting better, it's getting better. 6. Do you have a favorite tradition at the games? a. The only real tradition is that you stand until your team scores their first two points of the first half and the second half. That's really the only kind of tradition other than the alma mater at the end of the game. 7. How long have you been going to the basketball games here? a. For fifteen years. Since I've been up here in Stillwater, I've been going to the girls’ basketball games. 8. Did you go to OSU? Major? a. Yes. Graduated from OSU. 1999. Marketing, master’s degree in marketing. 9. How long were you a season ticket holder? a. Five years. 10. Why did you stop? a. Well, the tickets keep going up in price and some of it was the price and some of it was the fact that I have more family commitments now. I still try to go to some of the games. But I know that I can't make every one of em and so it would be kind of a waste of money to buy the season tickets if I know that I'm only going to be able to make 3 or 4 of the games. 11. Is the price, not just for season tickets, a deterrent for going to the games? a. I think it is. I think if they aren't going to offer us more you know, it is. I hear people complain about the price all the time. And I know that everything has gone 6 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 6
up, the cost of living, everything goes up, so you know the tickets are going to go up. And they only went up from $8 to $10, but when I first bought my first season tickets it was only $42, for the season tickets. And you know that just to over $100, so that's quite a little bit considering we haven't brought home a national championship. I can see Baylor women charging $10 to get in to see their games. When Baylor, OU, the different teams like that that are nationally known when they come to play us our gym fills up. And it's not because they bring their whole town it's because fans want to see those prominent players. They want to see the Courtney Parrish, and they want to see the Brittany Griner. So they may not come see the OSU Cowgirls play but one time a year and that will be when Brittany Griner is here playing ball. It's really odd, because most people don't like women’s basketball and their excuse is it's not as fast. It's not as fast paced as the mens, it’s not as exciting as the men’s. When you've got a Brittany Griner that can dunk the ball and you don't know if you'll ever get to see her do it everybody will come to watch that kind of stuff. And I've seen our gym fill up. With people that are from here in Stillwater, and they don't come to watch our cowgirls play, but they'll come to watch an out of town team. So. I mean you know. It's hard to recruit if you're not a winning team, hard to recruit the top players. We're not consistent, we have a good year, a really good year. We won the NIT tournament, we won it all the way through all the way through and then by the next year we just didn't perform to the standard that we were playing at the end of the last season. It just doesn't stay consistent. I don't know what the answer to that is. 12. Couldn't that be said for a lot of OSU sports? a. That really doesn't make any sense. If you start out with a really good freshman group, you should be able to carry those four years and just only grow and add. But we don't seem to do that. We seem to lose players before they've completed their four years. We have them, you know they'll be here. We'll either use junior college and have them two years and they're very good, but we only have them for two years. Or we'll have kids come in and they'll be really good for two years and then they transfer out. So we don't get the full four years of the girls. And I don't I don't know why. I don't know if it's not what they expected. I don't know why we don't keep our players for the full four years. 13. Do they transfer to better women's basketball teams? a. Sometimes. I think they transfer because they will get more playing time. Sometimes I think they come here thinking they'll get a lot of playing time and then somebody wins out the spot. And so they don't end up. And that's their own fault. I mean you've got to earn your own spot. But I think a lot of, we lost some good opportunities when we have somebody that's a real showboat and takes all the glory and it the rest of the team is in the shadows. It takes a whole team. It takes everyone on that team to make that team. And if you, I think that really is a deterrent for some of our good players. If we have one that seems to be the favorite or gets the most playing time and these other ones are kind of in the shadows, I think we lose them. I think they transfer out because they can go somewhere else and get the playing time and play as a team.
14. Do you think that's why some of the fans don't go? a. I do. I believe that we lost some fans during Andrea Rowley's senior year because it did not matter what kind of game she was having. And nobody is on 24/7. You're gonna have some bad games. She stayed on the court. Didn't matter if she was not passing the ball, or not making her points, or not making throwing the ball away. She stayed on the court. Because she seemed to be the draw everybody would come to see Andrea because she was so good she was so good she was so good. I really think we lost some credibility I think Couch Butkey lost some credibility because he didn't ever make her sit down. And then when the plane crash happened and we lost him and Miranda, then the community came back together and kind of forgot all that. And got behind the girls, got behind the team and so, but it's been two years, so we still honor them every year on the anniversary, the team does, at the BBALL game that is closest to the anniversary of that plane crash. But I think the attendance has gone back to the same old faithful group. I don't think we've gained anymore. I think you have the same amount of people, the same older part of the community that have money to be season ticket holders, money to be POSSE members. So they can sit down in the better seats and a lot of the, I say a lot, several of the usuals that I see are former cowgirls and their older, they settled here, they stayed here, they made a life. And the reason I know they are is because once a year they introduce former Cowgirls and they get to go down on the floor so you get to see, you know, whose there that played basketball. So some of the people that come are former players, the majority of people there are older, older part of the community, 50 or older. Very few that they bring, a lot of the time they will bring their grandkids. But as far as college kids, not at all, not at all. Every so often, there will be a sorority or fraternity that will come in. You can tell it was a planned event for them and that they have to do it because they'll stay till half time and then they'll leave. So you know you have this good crowd for half of the game and as soon as half time is there, the ends empty and everybody leaves. 15. Are there oddball students in the sections? a. Every once in a while. There are a few, there are a few that come dressed up like they do for the men’s game. And they always sit in one little section. But you I mean 10 maybe that you see all the time, that you recognize that you see every game. The pep band is there. Unless there is something else going one, the girls get the stragglers. Girls always get second, they always get the second helping of everything. Like, that's just the way it is with girls basketball. Well with any other sports other than men’s. Men’s football, men’s basketball, men’s baseball takes precedence. I mean it's gotten better over the years, but we're still not up there even with them. They don't open all of the concession stands at the women’s games. They don't open up the dippin dots little stand at the games. The game that was at 11 AM, I'm not sure, there was only 1 or 2 stands open, but they fed them sack lunches. Yeah, at all the games, there are only a few, not all of the concessions stands are open. All the special things they do for the men’s are not.
6 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 8
16. Is there a half time show? a. It is usually the stuff where they shoot basketballs for gift card. That kind of thing. For a while they would bring in little kids dance cheerleading clubs, sometimes. And they did that to bring in the parents. And so there would be more people at those games, and again, once their child was done, they left. So, it didn't really help. I mean it helped with the attendence, but it didn't really help with your crowd as far as who was supporting the team. You can fill up the gym, but if their just there because their child's performing or something like that and they leave at half time or their there because their sorority or fraternity makes it mandatory that they go for an hour or two and then they leave at half time. Well those aren't your fans. Those are just people there because they have to be. Those parents had to be there because their kid was performing. 17. What do you think they could do to improve that? Do you have any idea? a. I don't know. Like I said they have started trying to get the community more involved like with the welcome back BBQ. The girls are very friendly with, they love the crowd and know the regulars by name. Just like the regulars know the girls by name, and all about them. A few years ago, the radio station here, did sponsored bus trips to some of the girls games. And I went to the Baylor game during the snow blizzard. I went to a Kansas game on the road trip. Now that’s fun. You get a group of people you know, there were two busloads of us we went into the Baylor gym, it had already started, the game had already started. We went in yelling and we ended up winning on Baylor’s court. That was great. And it was great for the fans. Now it was the same group of people that go every time, but we were going on road trips. And supporting them on the road. So they felt like we were actually following them, you know not just here at home, but you know. That helped, I think that helped. That helped the regulars feel like they were offering something. Yes, we had to pay for the trip but it was available. You know, otherwise you’re not gonna drive to Baylor for a basketball game. You’re not going to drive to Lubbock, you’re not going to drive to Manhattan. If you could go on a bus with the other fans, then you know. It was a great atmosphere. It was a great atmosphere. I’ve been to a couple games over here when the snow was so bad that you couldn’t see. But they went ahead and had the game and offered it free to whoever wanted to come, it was like a 5 o’clock game. And afterwards all the girls came into the stands and thanked everybody for being there, you know that kind of thing. When the team interacts with their fans, it makes the fans feel like they know them. If you feel like you know them, then you feel more compelled to be there and support them. If you feel like you know that person, then you’re more compelled to support them and defend (emphasis) them when other people. You know, you’re more likely to get people to go. b. Students just don’t go. c. Even in the past there have been double headers. Where the girls would play first and the boys would play after. And even though the people, men’s season basketball holders could come in and watch, they couldn’t set in their seats, because the women’s season ticket holders were there. But they could come in and sit at the top, you know and watch the girls for free because they had men’s
basketball tickets. But they would come in the last four minutes of the game and want us to get up because we were in their seats for the men’s basketball. So even giving even free, even offering the games free is not pulling in the crowd like you would think it would. 18. That could be argued because if you’re paying for something you feel like you’re getting more value. a. A lot of times you buy season tickets and see the people that bought season tickets, they consider that game at 11 o’clock paid for and I walked in free. They had a ticket, because they bought it as a package and that was a free game. So that kinda makes season ticket holders feel a little cheated too. Because they paid for the package, and yet one of those was a free game. That’s another, well geez. 19. Do you think time of day is an issue? Also having the men’s basketball game right after the women’s, regarding people perhaps not wanting to go to two games in a row. a. No. I think the timing, I don’t think it makes a difference. Because we play games that are at 7 o’clock. We have some Saturday games that are at 2 o’clock, we have some Sunday games that are at 1 o’clock. So it’s kinda spread out. You can kinda pick and choose. If you don’t like to go to night games you can go to weekend games. They do offer scout day. Scouts get in, they wear their scout uniform and get in. I’m sure the adults that bring them have to pay, but the kids get in free. They try to do some things like that. To promote filling the gym on weekends, you know. Doesn’t always work. But sometimes it does, it’ll make a little bit of a difference. So they’ve tried stuff like that, that’s not a real draw though. Because again the parent feels like they have to be there. You know, the coach said he hoped that the kids would enjoy the game so much that they’d talk their parents into bringing them back. Those are 1st and 2nd graders. Probably not gonna get, you know. They enjoyed the day out of school and all. But I don’t think it’s gonna make that big of a difference in their attendance as far as those kids bringing their parents back in to watch, you know, the basketball games. b. The people that come to the women’s basketball games are either just die hard OSU fans and they go to every sporting event that there is or their die hard women’s basketball and they follow the cowgirls forever and this is what they do. 20. Are you still a member of Pistol Pete Partner? a. My grandkids are not right now, if I bought season tickets and I paid for my great granddaughter to be a Pistol Pete Partner I would have a seat and she would get in free, but she would have to sit in my lap or I would have to move to the end zone because she doesn’t have a reserved seat as a Pistol Pete Partner. 21. Oh, they don’t get reserved seats? a. No. No they get in free, but. So if I want to take her to every game it would benefit me if I want to set in a specific seat and not have to get there at a certain time and know I would have my reserved seats I would buy two sets of season
7 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 0
tickets so that that person would have seat. But if you buy season tickets you have a reserved spot but your Pistol Pete Partner does not. 22. Is there a designated section where they sit? a. No, it is the end zones where the students section are. 23. Pistol Pete Partner goes up to 8th grade right? Theoretically you’d have an 8th grader sitting in your lap? a. Well, if their older you’d say, you sit down there and I’m sitting in my seat. But I have a 3 year old. So I have to be with that one. b. They just get in free. 24. Do you see yourself buying Pistol Pete Partner tickets again for her in the future? a. Probably not. 25. If they change the part where she gets a reserved seat, would you? a. Probably not. I would probably just pay for us to get in to the games that we wanted to go to. Now if I’m ever just me, then I will probably go back to season tickets for just me. But as long as I got family that would probably go with me, then I would just buy on an individual game basis. 26. How do you think the Cowgirls are looking this year? Do you think they look good? a. They look really good, they got a long way to go because in the preseason we don’t test ourselves. In the preseason we play teams we know we can beat, whereas you will see people like Baylor and Oklahoma play teams like Tennessee and Connecticut that they know they are gonna see in the tournament. Even though they know they may lose, they want that competition to get better and to play teams they know they are going to be playing down the road. We play smaller schools in our preseason to try to work our way up to be as good as the other teams in the big 12. I think that’s a hindrance because our team usually plays to the standard of who they’re playing. If we are playing somebody really really good, if we are playing OU or Baylor, we come out like game busters. Because we know we’re playing a good team. If we are playing a team we know we should beat, then we come out and play like we know we should beat them. And that’s not always the case. That other team is thinking the same way that we think. When we play somebody like OU or Baylor they’re thinking oh this is our chance to show that we can walk into OSU Gallagher-Iba and we can beat the Cowgirls. Every time we take the court we should be thinking, we’ve got to play our best we’ve got to play at the top of our game. And we’ve got to improve every game. We don’t need to go out there thinking oh this is just a preseason game; it’s just another one of those little colleges that we play. 27. Do you think that’s another reason why people don’t go because they aren’t playing like winners?
a. That’s a lot of it. We have played Duke, came in and played us one year. We filled that place up because people wanted to see Duke play. If you bring in teams of a better caliber, your team will play better and eventually get better but if you always play someone below your standard, you’re not going to improve. And we don’t seem to, we’re just not beginning to realize that in football. That we can’t play the Wyoming Cowboys in preseason and expect to jump in the ratings. You know, we’re going to have to play somebody that’s somebody. 28. Yeah, kinda like how we’re, pretty sure we’re paying an arm and a leg to play Florida State next year. a. Right right. But until you step it up, then you could win every one of your preseason games and people are gonna go so what look who you played. It’s the same with basketball, if you don’t play somebody they’re gonna go, it doesn’t matter that you won those games because you weren’t playing anybody. You SHOULD of won those games. 29. In fact they could say you should of won by more! a. You should of won by more because you were slacking off because you knew you were gonna go out there and beat them. They do look pretty good; they seem to play well together. They seem to mesh as a team, I think he still, I think the coach is still trying to decide who’s gonna have those starting spots. He’s still playing a lot of different angles. Different matches. To see who actually plays well together. I don’t think he’s decided who all his starting players are gonna be. But they do look like they wanna play and they look like they’re gonna play hard for him. So if that’s the case, then they will probably be pretty decent.
Personal Interview 3- Carson Bailey Interviewer: Shelbi Ford Interviewee: Carson Bailey, 2013 Oklahoma State University graduate Interview date: November 25, 2013 Interview location: Paul Miller Building Interview time: 2:05p.m. - 3:00p.m.
7 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 2
Q: What connection do you have to Oklahoma State University? A: I decided to attend Oklahoma State University in 2009 during the fall semester of my senior year in high school. (Smiles) That seems like so long ago! I toured OSU and immediately fell in love with the campus and atmosphere. Everyone I met on my campus tour was so friendly and welcoming. It definitely sealed the deal for me to attend Oklahoma State University after high school. I then started my freshman year at OSU in 2010 and graduated early in 2013! Q: During your years at Oklahoma State University did you attend many sporting events? A: (Clears throat) Football is obviously a way of life at Oklahoma State. So I had football tickets for every season I was at OSU. I still do have season tickets actually! Other than football I rarely attended sporting events while I was a student at OSU. The OSU men’s basketball team was a frontrunner while I was in school so I attended a few of the men’s team games! Q: Did you attend any women’s games while you were a student at Oklahoma State? A: (Nods head) A few of my sorority sisters were players on the OSU Women’s Soccer Team, so I attended a few soccer games while I was a student at OSU. I don’t know much about soccer though so I went solely to support my sisters!
Q: How many women’s games versus men’s games do you think you have attended? A: Out of all of the games I have attended for Oklahoma State, Probably 90 percent of them have been for men’s sports and 10 percent for women’s sports. I’m not a huge
sports fan though, so the main sporting events I went to were more of social events like tailgating before the football games! Q: How would you compare the environment at a women’s sporting event versus a men’s sporting event? A: It’s not really even comparable. The women’s sporting events are quieter, less fans and the atmosphere is not nearly as rowdy. It’s hard to compare Boone Pickens stadium, which holds 60,000 fans, and women’s soccer games, which has maybe a few hundred fans. However, I haven’t been to many women’s sporting events so my knowledge isn’t very vast. Q: Have you ever attended an OSU Women’s Basketball game? A: (Chuckles) I’m a little embarrassed to say I haven’t. I saw the women play at Homecoming for Hoops a few times, but other than that I haven’t ever been to an OSU Women’s Basketball game. Q: Why do you think you never attended an OSU Women’s Basketball game? A: Honestly, I didn’t know much about the women’s team. I also am not a huge basketball fan and since a lot of my friends didn’t attend the games I didn’t really think twice about attending the games. I also didn’t really know when they were playing or who was on the team or even who the coach is! I remember after the tragic plane accident happened, the campus showed a lot of love and support for the women’s team. Q: What do you think the comparison is between the knowledge of women’s and men’s team at OSU?
7 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 4
A: I think OSU puts a lot of time, effort and money into the men’s basketball team and not enough effort into marketing the women’s team. I feel like a lot of students and the Stillwater community don’t know enough about the women’s team. If you don’t know anything about a sports team, you wont be inclined to go and watch them play. However, with the OSU men’s team having players like Marcus Smart and Phil Forte, OSU athletics does an amazing job at marketing those player’s talent which makes people want to come out and watch them play. Knowing that those men’s basketball players could become professional players, it definitely sparks interest in people to come and watch them play. Q: Currently the OSU women’s team is #1 in the big 12, do you think if people knew this fact that they would be more inclined to come watch the girls play? A: (Seemingly surprised) Oh, wow I had no idea! Yes, I think if people actually knew that they would come out to watch the girls! People like to watch winning teams. Its just the way it is. When I was in high school the girls team had a 3 peat at the State Championship. Even though it was the girls team and not the guys team, people still came out to support the girls because of the amazing talent they had on their team. And like I said, its always fun to support a winning team. Especially if it’s your school who is winning. It makes you feel apart of something. I think OSU Athletics needs to do a better job marketing women’s sports in general. They are so concerned with players like Marcus Smart that they forget about women’s sports in general. I think it’s a shame that these women are playing Big 12 athletics and they don’t get the recognition that they deserve.
Q: So, do you believe that the talent of the women’s basketball team and their winning record would bring more fans out to watch them play? A: (Firmly) Absolutely. I think that if more people knew how amazing of a women’s basketball team we had, they would want to go watch them play and support them. Like I said, I do believe that the women’s basketball team is not highly marketed. They need to get that information out to the public so they can have a better idea about how well the team is doing. Q: What ways do you think they could better market the OSU Women’s Basketball Team? A: Social media is a large part of today’s society. I’m sure the OSU women’s basketball team has a Twitter, Facebook and whatnot. But, maybe if they did a better job at monitoring their social media and posting news, stats, game times and info about players, people would be more inclined to show interest. I also believe OSU Athletics has a lot of opportunity to market not only their all-‐star football team, but other smaller sports as well. Especially women’s sports. They could buy advertising in the O’Colly, post on their social media websites or have local radio ads run telling people about games, players, and their current standings. Q: After knowing more about the OSU Women’s Basketball Team, are you more interested in attending games or following the team? A: (Enthusiastically) Yes! I think all it takes is the actual knowledge about the OSU Women’s Basketball Team. If more people knew when games were, about the players and the talent of the team, I think they would be more likely to come out and support the team. Like I said before, everyone wants to be a part of a winning team. 7 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 6
Everyone loves to show school spirit. If students, faculty, alumni and Stillwater residents knew when games were, ticket prices, and common knowledge about the team, I think their game attendance would rise dramatically. People cant show up to events they don’t even know are happening. Get the word out! Improve the marketing of your team. Make people sick of hearing about the OSU Women’s Basketball team. If you continuously talk about the OSU Women’s Basketball Team people are going to wonder what all the hype is about and show up. If fans show up and see what kind of talent the girls have, they are going to keep coming back to watch. Shelbi Ford: Thank you so much for letting me interview you! Your thoughts and opinions are extremely helpful. Carson Bailey: Anytime! I hope I helped out! Personal Interview 4- Amy Currie Interview Amy Currie: OU Fan turned OSU student Q. Hey Amy. Thanks so much for giving me some time to answer a few questions. I really appreciate. Are you having a good day? What’s going on? Just hanging out Q. How is finals studying going well? Are you enjoying dead week? It’s dead week so no. I’ve got two papers due.
Q. Yes, I understand. What about finals? What about bedlam? Are you excited for bedlam this weekend? Is that going be rough because you have finals next week? Probably not because I don't have a ticket. I will probably study while I watch the game. Q. What other sports do you watch? I don’t really watch other sports. Oh, I sometimes watch hockey. Q. What do you like about hockey or football? I like hockey because I grew up with it in the North. So it is kind of like a part of my family and how I grew up. Also, my brothers played a lot so I would go to games all the time. Football is more of an association of schools. Especially with bedlam because I used to go to OU. Q. Well you have been at OSU for two semesters now? Yes ma’am. Q. Have you picked up on any OSU traditions? Or have you been to any sporting events or games at OSU? I haven’t. I always wanted to go to a football this semester. I always had to work so I couldn’t. Q. Would you ever go to a men’s or women’s basketball game? I think it would be fun to go if I went with a lot of my friends. I’m not a really big fan of basketball. I don't ever really go out of my way to watch it or know anything about it really. But I do think it is a fun social event. Q. Would you be interested in learning about OSU traditions, especially before, during and after sporting events? I have been wanting to learn more about OSU traditions. I didn’t start off as a freshman here when you get involved in all that kind of stuff. I never learned much about the sports and how they are doing. Q. What would bring you to an OSU sporting event? Pretty much if my friends invited me. I would never be the one to be like “hey let’s go to a game” Pricing of tickets matters. For example the bedlam football game costs $200. That's a little pricey just to go to a football game. Q. Have you heard about the OSU women’s basketball games? I have not. It just doesn’t seem very popular. Q. Would incentives encourage you to go to a women’s basketball? What type of things would most interest you as a college student to win? I think they probably would. College students always love free t-shirts. I think even something as simple as a t-shirt would get me to a game especially if my friends were going.
7 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 8
Q. What time of day would you most likely attend an OSU women’s game? I don't know. Probably weeknights when I didn’t have anything to do like before we went out. I guess it would be a bit harder to go during the weekdays because of school. I would probably still go because my friends were going? Q. What is your general impression about the OSU women’s basketball team? I don’t know if I could say I have any impression at all. I don’t know any of the players, coaches or people that go to the games. Q. How would you recommend to the word out about women’s basketball games? Or how do you get your information about other OSU events? I check those mass emails OSU sends out about what’s going on around campus. I look at those most of the time. And if friends are talking about it or social media is a big one. Back when I was involved with a sorority, word would travel about an event. It would be fun to get a big group of sisters together and go places. Q. Think back to other sporting events. What did you find most appealing about halftime entertainment? Or did you find it appealing? I’m trying to think back for the last time I stayed for a halftime. Usually my friends and I would be gone by then. Sometimes we would watch the band perform because we had friends in the band. Sometimes they had those fun contests where a person would be shooting a basketball or kicking a field goal. Those contests are probably good publicity. I know one of my friends was at a basketball game. It was probably a thunder game. Anyway, he shot a bunch of free throws during halftime and posted a video online and attached the video to his social media accounts. It was kind of like indirect advertisement for it. Q. Would you interested in getting to know the women’s players? Where and how could the players gain exposure in the community? I think so. But I don’t know. Q. Why do you think people do or do not go to the basketball games? Because nobody else goes. Maybe That's my impression. I have no idea if anyone else goes. Q. What if I was to tell you the OSU women’s team had some of the top recruits, would that entice you to go to a game? I think that would be pretty cool to know but I don't know if that would force me to a game. Q. Do you have any other last thoughts, ideas or feelings toward the women’s basketball team? If I’m not very invested in it, I’m not going to spend a lot of money to just go try it out. I like free and cheap things. I would go if there was a big announcement like something in the history books where I wouldn’t want to miss it.
Personal Interview 5- Christian Leonard Q. Where does basketball rank among your favorite sports? It is absolutely my favorite sport. My dad went to Kentucky and my family is from Syracuse, so I grew up watching college basketball. I follow Kentucky pretty religiously and enjoy watching the guys once they go pro. Q. Do you ever watch women’s college basketball? Very rarely. I watched a bit last year when Brittney Griner and Skyler Diggins played. I don’t think we will ever see another women’s player as dominant as Griner, and Diggins was a lot of fun to watch as well. It is cool that she play for Tulsa now. I remember them saying that between Griner, Diggins and that other girl, it was like having Jordan, Bird and Magic Johnson all in the same draft class. It was pretty cool. Q. Have you kept up with OSU women’s basketball since you started school here? How many games have you been to? If I’m being honest, not much. I think I went to one game my freshman year and there was no one there. I honestly can’t even remember if they won or lost that game. I know they are doing pretty well this year, but I doubt I’ll make it to a game. Im ashamed to say it, but with such a busy schedule, I’ll find time to make it to football games and some of the big time men’s games, but I usually don’t go out of my way to attend a women’s game. Q. If college basketball is your favorite sport, why do think yourself and many other who enjoy basketball seem disinterested in women’s basketball? Well, I think a lot of it goes back to the fact that women’s basketball has suffered from the fact that it hasn’t had the star power that men’s basketball has had. At least they haven’t received the publicity and national media attention that players like LeBron James and Kevin Durant get. Because the national media doesn’t put much importance on women’s basketball for the vast majority of the year, we almost inherently don’t think it is as important as the ones that do get more attention. It seemed to get more attention last year because of the star power it had, but again, we may never see anything like that again in women’s basketball. Q. It’s no surprise that as a whole, women’s basketball is not as popular as men’s, but why do you think OSU’s women’s attendance is so far behind many other programs? You just don’t hear about it much here. You get on Facebook and Twitter and you see a lot of stuff on OSU athletics’ page about football, men’s basketball and even women’s soccer, but not much about women’s basketball it seems. I don’t even know when the 8 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 0
games are most of the time and I know a few people that didn’t even know the season had started. I think if they promoted the team more, especially now that they are doing so well, a lot more people would go to the games. People want to go watch a good team, regardless of the sport or gender. Q. What kinds of things do you think OSU can do to promote the team more? Well, like I said, social media is an awesome tool, especially to reach students. They may already do some of this, but it just seems like it’s not as prominent as other sports, but they should start tweeting more about the star players and the big games that are coming up. Build some excitement around it. If you can build some hype around the team then more people will start coming. Once that happens, atmospheres will get better, and then more and more people will come to the games. We have seen this happen for men’s basketball over the past couple years. Q. We have been asking a lot of students recently if game giveaway promotions would entice them to come to games. Would that be something that would interest you? I don’t really think so. I always look at those like such a longshot to win, so I don’t even try. It may be completely different for other people, especially if the prizes are good. I only worry that those types of things are very short term and won’t encourage people to regularly attend games. It just seems like a short-term fix instead of a long-term solution. Q. Is success on the court the biggest factor in determining if fans will come to the games? I think it’s a big part of it, just as it is in any sport. Fans want to support a good team. However, I think there has to be a culture created where people are interested in the sport and invested in the team. Create an atmosphere that people want to be a part of, and people will come. Make it the cool thing to do. Look at Baylor, UConn, even Oklahoma, they have had a lot of success on the court, but they have used that success to create something that is exciting to people. I go back to what I said about the media. If we are told that something is cool, eventually enough people will think it’s cool until everyone is into it. It’s not going to be an overnight thing where you will see numbers go up in a week, but if you create that culture, then gradually it will improve.
Ethnography Gallagher-Iba Arena is a historic masterpiece. Thousands of orange seats surround the facility with stairways leading to heaven. Banners proudly rose high above the court with markings of championships of years past. People can almost see the blood, sweat and tears shed over the years. There is a profound smell of popcorn and pretzels. Men, women and children flood into the arena to grab a seat in the renowned structure. As tradition stands, these Oklahoma State fans will continue to yell and scream in unison before, during and after the game. According to Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated, the fans are more rowdy than anywhere else. “Gallagher-Iba Arena is without a doubt the most frightening place to play in the Big 12. For starters, visiting teams encounter thousands of foul-mouthed, leather-lunged fanatics-and their husbands,” Wahl said. However, during Oklahoma State Women’s Basketball games a completely different picture is painted. As you walk in the arena you would expect the same game day experience as the men’s basketball games. After attending multiple preconference games, I encountered a similar experience each time. I was greeted by a friendly staff member who swiped my student ID and ushered me through the glass doors. I walked to the court level because students have some of the best seats in the house. I climbed up two or three rows of the bright orange bleachers. There was no one to my right or left. As 8 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 2
I looked around the arena, I noticed most of the seats are empty. Rows and rows of chairs are folded up. There are large gaping holes of unfilled seats. There are huge black curtains draping over large portions of the arena. At first I choked this up to being early for the game. The OSU women’s team was running layup drills in preparation. One by one the women ran up to the goal and precisely shot the ball into the basket. As the women waited in line to shoot, they were laughing and high fiving one another. They appeared to be encouraging and motivating one another as the game approached. The coaches and managers were collaborating near the bench. I assumed they were talking plays and defensive strategies. Shortly before tipoff, the women retreated back to the locker room for one last motivational speech. It was almost tipoff and the crowd was still as sparse as ever. Groups of schoolgirls gathered toward the front of the second row. There were elderly couples along side the court. Moms and dads sat in anticipation as their children ran wild up and down the steep stairways. There were mainstream Top 40 hits playing in the background. You heard the children screaming and some folks chanting and cheering for the Cowgirls. This is not the same rowdy atmosphere I was used to in Gallagher-Iba. The fans gained some school spirit when the announcer brought out the opponents and the Cowgirls. The music blared. The cheerleaders jumped, kicked and flipped. The fans were on their feet clapping and hollering for the Cowgirls. For a few moments there was spirit and camaraderie from the fans. The OSU fans cheered loudly when each player’s name was announced.
After tipoff, it was the Cowgirls’ time to shine. The ladies were connecting passes, stealing balls, shooting threes and making layups. During the two games I observed, I could see how the Cowgirls’ playing abilities earned them the No. 1 spot in the Big 12 Conference. From the bench, OSU players and coaches shouted words of encouragement to the players on the court. The overall energy at the beginning of the game was high. There was a great deal of energy from the players, coaches and fans. As the game continued, the players and coach continued to bring high energy, but the fans sat down and would occasionally clap after one of the ladies scored. Other than the tradition of standing until the Cowgirls scored, the fans mostly remained seated the entire game. This made the event less thrilling. Chants don’t sound as intimidating with a few hundred fans as they do with thousands of fans. I took into consideration these games were preseason games and at strange times during the holidays when people were traveling. One thing that was apparent was there was a division of type of fan. There were fans who could be described as loyal followers who knew all the players names, stats and hometowns. This type of fan would yell at a referee after a bad call and be the first one to stand up after they watched a great play by one of the Cowgirls. This type of fan included one particular fan, seen at all the games I attended. He was dressed in a cape, decked out in Oklahoma State gear, and stood the majority of the games, right behind the basket in the student section. Another type a fan was a person who didn’t know much about basketball. This person would constantly be asking questions and cheering at the wrong times. All of the fans seemed to be the same at the games. There did not seem to be any significant difference in number of attendance at either game. I recognized numerous fans
8 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 4
from the previous game, like the fan mentioned above. Overall, the fan base seems to be attentive, but not overexcited and rowdy, and loyal. The girls are very talented athletes, so it was quite the confusing disconnect between the game and the fans. The pace of the team’s game has picked up tremendously since I watched the Cowgirls play when I was a kid. The Cowgirls recruiting class benefitted the team’s newfound glory. According to ESPN, freshman Cowgirls Roshunda Johnson and Katelyn Loecker received ratings of a 94 and 93. These young recruits are following the footsteps of seasoned players such as Tiffany Bias, Liz Donohoe and Brittney Martin. These returning players shined on the court this season. Donohoe and Martin were leading scorers during the two games. The games I attended, the scores for the games were not incredibly close, about a ten point game for the majority of the two halves. At about four minutes and thirty seconds left in the second half, fans in the student section began to trickle out of the stadium. Throughout the game, the student section was vastly empty, filled with mostly children and parents. The few students that were in the student section were either on a laptop, messing with their phones or turned around chatting with their friends. Even when there was a scramble for the ball, they did not really turn around to see what was going on. The non-student section showed more interest, but not enough for the play that was currently going on. With the exception for a few students, all of the student section was seated throughout the game and doing other activities instead of watching the players. Overall, the team worked well together, kept the game at a fast pace and communicated well on the court, so the lack of attendance and rowdiness was quite the surprising occurrence when attending the games.
8 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 6
Sources (2013). Oklahoma State Cowgirls. ESPN. Retrieved from http://espn.go.com/highschool/girls-basketball/recruiting/school/_/id/197/class/2013 Wahl, G. (Jan. 28, 2002). Hell Week. Sports Illustrated, Volume 96, Issue 4. Retrieved from http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1024844/3/index.htm
Plan – Students bring rowdiness, excitement and noise to any university event that they attend. Because of this, we believe the atmosphere of the OSU Cowgirl’s basketball games is not as exciting when there is not a large student audience present. Through our extensive research we have found that the OSU women’s basketball game attendance is low because of lack of awareness. Our surveys, focus groups and personal interviews have helped us obtain important information that we believe will benefit the OSU women’s basketball team. We have created a plan of action that we know will increase awareness, game attendance and crowd loyalty of the OSU women’s basketball team. To raise awareness of the OSU Cowgirl’s basketball team, we have devised a plan with four steps:
Step 1 – Strengthen Social Media Presence The first step that the OSU women’s basketball team can take is to strengthen their social media. According to our research, many people that fit within the millennial generation get their news and information through various online media. If the OSU women’s basketball team can strengthen their social media presence, interested target publics will be able to easily find information and interact with the team. Twitter: The Cowgirl basketball team, as of December 4, 2013, has 2,959 followers on their Twitter account (@OSUWBB). Though it is great their following is growing, it is small in comparison to the Cowboy basketball team (@OSUMBB), which, as of December 4, 2013, has more than 11k followers. The women’s team can ask the men’s basketball team to Tweet about their twitter account and inform followers of future game 8 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 8
times. Strengthening their following on Twitter will create increased awareness and interaction between fans. Vine: Utilizing the current OSU Athletics Vine account would be a great to showcase the Cowgirls’ talents by creating 7-second videos of dunk and other trick shots. The Vine account, as of December 4, 2013, has 1,665 followers, enough for people to see how impressive the women’s basketball team has become. Currently, no videos have been posted. Utilizing the account by being the first team to put videos on the Vine account would increase the Cowgirl’s audience. Instagram: We suggest that the Cowgirl’s basketball team either utilize the current Oklahoma State Athletics (@OSUATHLETICS) Instagram account or create their own to post promotional videos and photos of the team. Highlights and the best shots from previous games can be greatly utilized using Instagram’s 20-second video player. Player statistics and highlights can also be utilized throughout the account to attract new followers and entice students and fans to attend games.
Step 2 – Create And Distribute Promotional Materials According to our research, many people in our selected target publics feel that awareness of the OSU Cowgirl’s basketball team is not where it should be. To help create awareness and attract people to the games, we have divided this category into four subcategories: Promo Videos: Promotional videos can be an invaluable asset for the OSU Cowgirl’s basketball team. Though the team currently shows their promotional video at halftime during football games, the video is not shown in many more places to attract more people to come to the games. We suggest that the team circulate their promotional videos on
social media. Doing so could cause followers to share the video, increasing the awareness of the women’s team. Another suggestion is to play the promo videos in the Student Union Bookstore and commons areas. Videos played on these screens are seen by thousands of students and would be another great way to raise the excitement level and awareness of the OSU Cowgirl’s basketball team. On-Campus Posters: We suggest that the OSU Cowgirl’s basketball team utilizes technology with their on-campus posters. Many companies have been using QR (Quick Response) codes to enhance their marketing practices. For the OSU Cowgirl’s, they could create 15 large posters, one featuring each girl on the team, with the schedule on it. Each poster would feature a different QR code that showcases a team member’s special talent (trick shot, specialty, etc). On-Field / Court Recognition: We suggest that the OSU Cowgirl’s basketball team and their coaches participate in an on-field/court recognition. An example of this would be at an OSU football game. Richard Henderson and a few select players would go on the football field at halftime and speak to the crowd about the season and how the girls are doing. This will raise awareness to a large audience and will help attract people to the women’s games. Game time T-Shirts: According to our research, many college-aged students love to receive free things. We suggest that the OSU women’s basketball team throw free t-shirts to the crowd during OSU sporting events, not just the women’s basketball games. An example of this would be to throw out t-shirts to the audience at a football game after doing an on-field recognition. Students wearing these t-shirts will become walking billboards for the girls’ team, creating awareness wherever they go.
9 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 0
Personal Flyer Handouts: We suggest that the OSU Cowgirl basketball team members hand out personal flyers on game days wearing partial game attire i.e. warm-ups. The flyers will be passed out on game days with game time, their opponent and their rank on it. This will act as a more personal invitation to the game by the players themselves.
Step 3 – Reach Out To Local Community Basketball Buddies: One player is assigned to an elementary classroom. One Friday every month the player comes to the classroom to participate with the students in a P.E. activity and talk to them about physical activity and proper nutrition for future athletes. It is no secret that children look up to college athletes, and we believe this rings true for the children enrolled in Stillwater schools. If children become interested in the OSU Cowgirl’s basketball team, they will ask their parents to attend the games. All Night Pomp: Every year during all night pomp the OSU men’s basketball team goes around to the fraternity/sorority houses to take pictures and interact with the students. We suggest that next year the OSU women’s basketball team accompany the men’s team. This will create a more intimate connection with the students and will raise the awareness of the girls on campus. Campus Tours: This year, Tiffany Bias and Roshunda Johnson accompanied a campus tour full of prospective students over homecoming week. Not only is this a great way to promote the OSU Cowgirl’s basketball team, it also makes prospective students more interested in joining the OSU family. Along with this, establishing an emotional connection with prospective students gives them a better reason to come to a Cowgirls
game. We suggest that during the Spring 2014 semester the OSU Cowgirl’s basketball team should accompany or “run into” tour guides during various campus tours.
Step 4 – Re-evaluate We suggest that after one year the OSU women’s basketball team should re-evaluate the steps completed to see what areas have improved and what areas still need more work. They can do this in many ways: Survey: We suggest they create another survey to see if the awareness of the OSU women’s basketball team has improved. They may also see if the attendance has increased. Focus Groups: Conducting an on-campus focus group speaking with the students at Oklahoma State can give the team a better idea of how their awareness and appearance has improved. In-Crowd Placement: Put someone in the crowd to observe and interview the fans to see how they are enjoying the game, what they think of the Cowgirls, etc.
9 TYPE THE DOCUMENT TITLE 2