[ UH ATHLETICS ]
Advisory board tweaking
The school will unveil an e-mail
mailing list and revamped Web site
There's more to sports than just games. It's big business, and the University of Hawaii athletic department is looking to become a bigger player this year -- locally, nationally and internationally.
The goals have long been the same: increase attendance, become more fan-friendly and increase revenue. This time, the focus will be on all sports through a department-wide coordinated effort.
To that end, an external-affairs advisory board has been created to pull together all the elements of marketing the 19 UH athletic teams. It includes everything from e-marketing and corporate partnerships to merchandise licensing and promotions.
The board is "just an extension of what the athletic department is doing," John McNamara, the UH associate athletic director for external affairs, said during Thursday's inaugural meeting. "The athletic department belongs to the university and the community. We want to do a better job at packaging our program rather than have a piecemeal effort."
The biggest push will come on the technology side, with upgraded interactive Web sites that include game trackers with real-time statistics, online auctions of UH athletic items, giveaway contests and weekly e-mails to fans. Two of the bigger changes will be a new URL for the athletic department (www.hawaiiathletics.com) and a partnership with College Sports Online, which has about 140 of the top schools nationally under its umbrella.
College Sports Online recently purchased CSTV, which launched its inaugural -- but limited -- men's and women's volleyball broadcasts this season. One of the anticipated dividends through CSO will be Internet broadcasts with the potential for pay-per-view streaming video.
On Aug. 1, the athletic department plans to begin its weekly e-mails to fans that will include game schedules and a link to purchase tickets online. The initial e-mailing will be to 30,000.
"We want to make sure it's non-intrusive and not considered spam," McNamara said. "And people can always opt out of the mailing. The goal is to make it easier for fans to know about the games and make it easier for them to buy tickets."
The online auctions will be similar to eBay, where items, such as a UH game ball or jersey, will go to the highest bidder.
The online GameTracker will be put in use for the major sports: football, basketball and baseball. The school is in the process of acquiring the software for volleyball.
There are also changes planned in other areas, including a new marking slogan for the entire department. "Invest in Success" is the theme, with the focus on financial support of the student-athlete, on the field and in the classroom.
The department is also moving ahead on its plan for an alcohol-free family seating section at Aloha Stadium for football games.
The board members include Jim Manke, Office of the Chancellor; Wes Kimura, UH Letterwinners Club president; Tony Guerrero, Ahahui Koa Anuenue representative; Nicole Schnitzler, alumni office; Debbie Kutara, licensing-office administrator; Hugh Yoshida, former athletic director; Ed Hirata, Athlete Advisory Board; and Steve Martin, faculty athletics representative.
The head coaches will serve on a rotating basis, with June Jones (football) and Bob Coolen (softball) the inaugural representatives. Student-athletes are to be added once classes resume.