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Thread: Appalachian State Marketing

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Default Appalachian State Marketing

    Please read this article on Appalachian State.

    For Small Programs, Fund Raising Can Be a Ticket to the Big Time

    By BRAD WOLVERTON

    Long before the mother of all upsets this fall put Appalachian State University in the national spotlight, athletics fund raisers across the country had a sense that the Mountaineers were the little engine that could.

    Then Appalachian State's football team upended the mighty and landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

    The on-field success has already improved ticket sales and recruiting. And thanks to the capital campaign that the university started two years ago to overhaul its athletics facilities, Appalachian State officials believe they will have an even better chance of landing top prospects.

    When Kenneth E. Peacock became chancellor of the 15,000-student university, in Boone, NC, in 2004, the athletics department was a typical Division I-AA sleeper. Many teams played in a cramped, dimly lit gymnasium, the football stadium seated fewer fans than some high-school fields, and the program was chugging along on $600,000 a year in private donations.

    The location didn't exactly help, either. Boone (population 15,000), nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains two hours from Charlotte, offers a tranquil, outdoorsy setting for active retirees, but it lacks the night life and diverse student population that many elite athletes want.

    But Mr. Peacock, a former dean of the business school, saw opportunity. And in the three years since taking the helm, he has transformed the no-name sports program into a midlevel national power.

    Appalachian State's success proves that big-time athletics departments are not the only ones relying on private support to elevate their programs. In fact, midmajors increasingly see fund raising as their ticket to the big time.

    One of the chancellor's first moves was hiring a new athletic director: Charles G. Cobb, a former top athletics official at North Carolina State University, which has one of the country's strongest athletics fund-raising records. Now Appalachian State is in the middle of a $38-million capital campaign for sports — small potatoes for a big-time program, but an ambitious goal for a department with a $7-million annual budget.

    Bulldozers on the Move

    In the past few years, donations to the sports program have more than doubled, to $1.4-million annually. The university has brought in $24-million toward its athletics capital campaign. And bulldozers are rolling all over the hilly campus, with a new indoor practice facility, softball field, and athletics complex either nearing completion or opening in the next year.

    Mr. Peacock, whose background is in accounting, says he would not have invested so much in sports without help from donors.

    "Gate receipts and guarantees won't do it," he says. "In this day and age, private support is the only thing that will work."

    All the success has led to chatter about Appalachian State moving to Division I-A. But it would need a serious financial lift to get over that mountain. And the university, which was founded as a teachers' college, has few wealthy alumni to call on. The athletics department has brought in many of its biggest gifts from transplanted retirees in the area — a market it plans to keeping tapping.

    The chancellor is not sure that Appalachian State is ready to move to the NCAA's highest level. "Why would we do it right now?" he asks. "We're enjoying the limelight too much." A move up would certainly mean fewer notches in the win column — not something fans around here are accustomed to. The football team has won the past two Division I-AA titles, and the overall sports program is a perennial power in the Southern Conference. Mr. Peacock knows that if the Mountaineers make the move, the teams will have to rely on private support to carry them.

    "Fund raising," he says, "is the only way to close the gap between the programs at the top of college sports and the rest of us."[/COLOR]


  2. #2

    Default Re: Appalachian State Marketing

    "Mr. Peacock, whose background is in accounting, says he would not have invested so much in sports without help from donors.

    "Gate receipts and guarantees won't do it," he says. "In this day and age, private support is the only thing that will work."


    Guess attendance doesn't matter anymore.


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