WKU athletics survey concludes no basketball blackouts

Brad Stephens

Results were released Tuesday for a WKU athletics survey that ran for three weeks this summer on wkusports.com.

After weighing the response of 1,400 participants, WKU announced that it will continue to televise men’s basketball games live during the 2011-2012 season.

Several questions on the survey pertained to games in Diddle Arena being blacked out locally, presumably in order to increase home attendance.

An average of 3,281 came to Topper home games last year, less than half the Diddle Arena’s 7,326 seat capacity.

But the plan to continue showing home games live on TV was announced as part of the university’s “Resulting Plans of Action.” More than 90 percent of participants said they wanted men’s basketball games to continue being broadcast live on television.

WKU also announced less expensive season ticket packages for men’s basketball. Individual season tickets will be available for $99, and the university will also offer a $340 season ticket plan for families.

“We really appreciate over 1,400 members of the Hilltopper Nation taking the time to complete our online survey,” Athletics Director Ross Bjork said in a news release. “We have a very loyal and passionate fan base, and the feedback they have given us through this survey will help us to review, enhance and improve the athletic department’s entire game day and customer service operations.

“If we only maintain, then we are falling behind, so we are continually looking for ways to better engage our fans and improve their experiences involving WKU Athletics. It was very important that we provide specific action items to improve our fan experiences, so we are appreciative of the great feedback.”

The survey, hosted by Qualtrics  an online “survey research suite”  spanned a wide variety of aspects of the athletic department.

It asked respondents to identify themselves as WKU alumni, season ticket holders, Hilltopper Athletic Fund members, faculty/staff members, students, corporate sponsors, and/or “friends” of the university.

Respondents selected which athletic team’s events they have attended in the past year, then were asked to rate a variety of factors from those events, including ticket prices, game atmosphere and quality of non-conference opponents.

The survey’s final question asked respondents their overall perception of WKU Athletics, with the choices as “high standard of excellence,” “indifferent” and “needs improvement.”

Other plans of action following the survey include:

• Developing a social media strategy to enable fans easier access to WKU Facebook and Twitter accounts, with information on a specific launch date to be released later.

• Athletic marketing retaining more time in games this season to include additional halftime performances and Big Red and spirit squad performances.

• Engaging and monitoring WKU’s concessionaire, Centerplate, and game day security team (CSC,) to maintain a family-friendly atmosphere.