Throughout the fall semester, Cindy Wadell, associate professor in the School of Recreation, Health and Tourism, and her class of nine students have learned about all facets of sports marketing through experience. In her project-based class, Waddell has allowed her students the opportunity to explore marketing strategies in conjunction with the women’s volleyball team, without providing a budget.

“They have had some real world experience,” Waddell said. “And I have been very impressed with the results.”

For each volleyball match that the class has marketed, they developed a promotional theme. Most successfully, the students worked on a sponsorship game that netted 620 supporters including University President Alan Merten and his wife.

“We’ve learned that you have to put in some time to get good results,” said Ludek Lhotsky, a student that Waddell described as a “superstar” in her sports marketing class.

During the 2009 women’s volleyball season, attendance averaged a mere 325 supporters. However, since Waddell’s class began working with the team this season, attendance has risen to an impressive 407 fans.

On Saturday evening at the Recreation and Athletic Complex, the women’s volleyball team will be competing in their last home match of the season. Waddell’s students will be putting together everything they have learned this semester to host a Fan Appreciation Night. They have collected multiple give-away items, including free smoothies, Wizards tickets and Mason apparel and will hold a meet-and-greet autograph session with the players immediately following their match.

With the volleyball team’s attendance record set at just over 640 people, Waddell’s students have set a hefty goal to bring 900 supporters to Saturday night’s event.

For more information on the event and the marketing course, visit the George Mason Women’s Volleyball page on Facebook.