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Pioneer Perspectives
Courtesy: Denver Athletics  
Release: 03/04/2008
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As this calendar year comes to a close we would like to share with you some of the great things that are happening in the Division of Athletics and Recreation.

The University of Denver is about to construct the final piece of the Daniel L. Ritchie Center, making it a complete athletic, intramural and recreation complex. This final construction phase will provide a 10,000 square foot strength and conditioning room, a 2,000 seat soccer stadium, add lights to the soccer/game field, and install an artificial surface on the adjacent practice field. The conditioning center will allow entire teams to train at one time, improving the performance of our student-athletes. It will have the latest in weight training, plyometrics and rehabilitation equipment. Additionally, the plan will create a room containing the history of the University of Denver athletics coupled with the growth of the University. Legacy Hall will have the rich history of the University and athletics side by side with memorabilia highlighting different areas and interactive media displays. Legacy Hall will be a unifying force on campus, bringing everyone together from all the various departments as well as all the alumni and friends of the University. The final piece of the complex is the soccer stadium that will seat approximately 2,000 fans and practice field to allow for increased student usage at the facility. The seats in the soccer stadium will be designed to provide an area for students to gather, talk, study or just sit in the Colorado sun. It is estimated that the total project will cost approximately $7 million.

Student-athletes continued their impressive performance both in- and out- of the classroom during fall 2007 as they ended the quarter with a 3.33 combined GPA. The women were lead by skiing with a stellar 3.87 overall GPA, and the men by tennis at 3.64. In addition, Jenna Billingsley of the women’s soccer team was named to the Academic All-America third team by ESPN The Magazine, and volleyball seniors Alyssa Hampton and Kim Muller were named to the District VII All-Academic Team. On the athletic side, the Pioneers had 31 Player of the Week honors through December 17th by various conference affiliations, and had four individuals named player of the week/month at the national level (Jenna Billingsley, Soccer Buzz, National Soccer Coaches Association National Player of the Week; Katie Kempter, Golf World and Golfweek College Player of the Month; Kyle Christensen, College Soccer News National Team of the Week; Rhett Rahkshani, Inside College Hockey’s National Player of the Week). Three soccer players Jenna Billingsley, first team, Joey Mathot, second team, and Kyle Christensen, third team -- were recognized as all-region members. Finally, congratulations to Bobby Muuss, Men’s Soccer Coach, as he took home Co-Coach of the Year honors from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in his debut season at Denver. We look forward to continued great performances as we enter winter quarter.

The majority of the action plans associated with objectives one and two of the Division’s Strategic Plan have been successfully implemented. We continue to make great strides as evidenced by the following highlights:

A VIP pre-game reception to meet and greet campus and community colleagues and friends was hosted by the Division of Athletics and Recreation on Tuesday, November 27, before the men’s basketball game vs. the University of Colorado. The event was a huge success with very positive energy throughout the gold club. An estimated 250-300 guests including several Board of Trustee members, business leaders, government officials, faculty and staff, and alumni attended the event this year. Last year a similar reception held before the men’s Pack the House game attracted approximately 40 guests. The event represented a significant opportunity for development within our Division as well as a rally point for the University of Denver with the guests in attendance.

Through the first three games of the year, Denver Basketball has already posted dramatic ticket revenue growth. Men’s basketball season tickets have grown by over 50 percent from 342 in FY2007 to 514 in FY2008. The introduction of a new price point season ticket package dubbed the “Joe Scott Ticket Package,” a pre-season “tip-off” season ticket solicitation event, and a strong promotional web campaign are the primary vehicles implemented to capitalize on the basketball program’s new direction. In addition to producing the highest men’s basketball season ticket base in program history, the 50 percent growth rate puts the University of Denver in compliance with the Sun Belt Conference’s 2007 Wyatt Commission Report that details the conference focus on basketball growth and its mandate for significant annual season ticket growth to increase the competitiveness and health of its membership’s teams.

In addition, group ticket sales continue to provide a strong and growing foundation for Denver Basketball. The largest generator of basketball sales for the past three seasons, group ticket sales accounted for 60 percent of the crowd for the annual Pack the House event as well as 40 percent for the Colorado game two weeks later. These large group clients are the byproduct of a summer of youth basketball outreach efforts, pre-game youth clinics and expanded participation with group accounts and youth basketball associations. From expanded partnerships with accounts like Arapahoe Youth League and the Boy Scouts to new partnerships with area YMCAs and South Suburban, group sales continues to drive basketball ticket sales in volume.

To leverage the new Pioneers’ radio relationship, a new advertising initiative was crafted with Mile High Sports Radio, AM1510, to develop and execute Mile High Sports Night for the November 27th University of Denver men’s basketball game. A special ticket offer was promoted, including one ticket, one regular soda and one hot dog for $15.10. The offer was supported through trade media schedules across Mile High Sports Radio and Mile High Sports television, generating nearly 200 unique purchases of the special offer. The special ticket offer was also supported via general market print and television advertising to help drive strong walk up sales the night of the basketball event.

As of December 3, Pioneer Vision (our new website) is in just the third month of existence and has 300 active subscribers. We are scheduled to host 165 total live streams which breaks down to 49 video and 116 audio broadcasts. In addition we are still trying to share streams with fellow Sun Belt Conference schools for men and women’s basketball away games. We will produce 158 edited packages that will be found on our on demand menu. These will include game and team highlights, player Q & A’s, as well as post season wrap-ups. To date we have received over 4,000 hits for these produced packages.

It has been a good and productive year in the Division of Athletics and Recreation. We continue to meet our challenges “head on” as we build a premier sports program for Denver’s University.

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