Bridging the Title IX Disparity with Ticket Sales

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Title IX Issues in Marketing

How we at MA+A attempt to change the Title IX Marketing Gap

What does Title IX have to do with marketing?

Title IX encompasses three basic parts that apply to collegiate athletics; participation, scholarships and the equal treatment of both sexes in regards to several instances like equipment, housing/dining facilities and per diem. After speaking with a Title IX lawyer based out of Miami, we learned that one of these instances includes publicity and promotions, which is where most colleges fall short since marketing efforts are mainly allocated for the more profitable sports. Less marketing for certain teams means less knowledge of the sport, less recognition of the school, a harder chance of gaining recruits and therefore weak sports teams.

Marketing efforts ultimately create strong teams, but schools are usually more inclined to promote the more profitable sports knowing it will be a safe option. For example, Football which is the most profitable sports in the collegiate realm creates a huge amount of revenue for universities therefore they promote it more to continue the cash flow. Although, this is technically a violation of Title IX since other less represented sports are not given the equal amount of publicity or media coverage. Schools that do a better job of promoting the typically underrepresented sports actually create a better atmosphere within athletics and also produces higher attendance to games making more successful sports.

What do we do?

At MA+A Sports, although we do work with collegiate athletic football teams we also recognize the value of promoting these underrepresented sports. Below are some results that we’ve seen throughout our digital media campaigns in 2019 to assist with increasing attendance with these underrepresented sports. We utilized two main products: Google Ads – Display, Remarketing, Gmail, Search and Facebook Ads Manager. 

Google Ads

For Google Ads, we have a Top, Mid and Lower Funnel Approach. For the Display Ads that are Top of Funnel, they were placed in local news digital outlets, USF related websites & college football websites (ESPN,, in order to generate awareness. Audiences who have previously searched for anything USF or college football-related on Google were also targeted. 

In regards to Remarketing and Gmail Ads, which are a Middle of Funnel approach, we utilized a data pool of past customers and people who have already visited the USF website to target these audiences and remind them of the offer. In respect to Gmail, once any words related to USF football or college football appeared in their inbox, we captured that audience. 

Google PPC Search, which is a Bottom of Funnel approach, is used by collecting data on those individuals who interacted with the display & remarketing ads. We then targeted those specific individuals with ads prompting them to purchase tickets.


Facebook Ads Manager

For Facebook, we use a Wide > Narrow approach, meaning we use data on past season ticket holders where we made a lookalike audience to increase our target market. This allowed us to target a wider audience with the same behavioral characteristics as those people who bought tickets in the past and are therefore more likely to purchase tickets. After time, the audience was narrowed to a lookalike audience that must be interested in USF and Tampa and be broadly interested in NBA, WNBA, or college basketball. This allowed for extremely granular targeting.

The Proof

Examples of our success can be seen in our Estimated vs. Actual attendance numbers for Men’s and Women’s Basketball games we advertised for. For Men’s Basketball, the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Expected attendance was 4,050 and the Actual was 4,495 up 11%. The Boston College Expected attendance was 2,750 and the Actual was 3,191: up 16%. Lastly, the Wofford Expected was 2,200 while the Actual was 2,911: up 32%. In regards to Women’s Basketball games, the highest percentage increase we gained was at the Texas game, which had a 2,000 Expected and a 2,289 Actual: up 14.5%. Additionally, our consistency with walk-up attendance continues, with an Expected attendance of 2,000 and an Actual attendance of 2,444. It has been a consistent 12% to 22% better than expected performance for every game except for the ones MA+A have not advertised for. 

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