A.D. Report -- June 2

June 2, 2009

Corvallis, Ore. - Like universities and athletic departments across the country, Oregon State is definitely feeling the pain of the country's ongoing economic downturn. The magnitude of the issue and its effect on our athletics program came into sharp focus recently when we tallied the results from our annual BASF (Beaver Athletic Scholarship Fund) fund-raising effort.

To date, we've received just more than $10 million in pledges for the coming year--down about $1 million or 9 percent compared with last year. Although last month's AD Report indicated we had an initial gain in donors, numbers at that time were preliminary. In reality, we lost about 1,000 donors, but gained about 400 new contributors for a net loss of approximately 600.

While we've been digesting the fund-raising news, our football season ticket sales situation has come into view as well. So far, we have about a 12 percent non-renewal rate and are down approximately 1,200 season tickets. We've launched our 'I AM ORANGE' advertising campaign to spur sales and are optimistic that these numbers will improve. But we won't know the full story regarding season tickets until late summer.

The new 'I AM ORANGE' marketing campaign is a comprehensive effort to bring a common look, feel and message to our ticket sales, marketing and annual fund endeavors. Launched at the spring football game, the campaign will extend across all sports and platforms including print, video, web and radio. Let's face it. Orange is not just a color for Beaver fans. It evokes emotion, pride, and a sense of tradition. This seemingly simple color binds our student-athletes, coaches, department staff, students, faculty, donors, fans, and all of Beaver Nation together. As OSU fans, we are all 'Orange,' and the idea is clearly resonating with supporters as the initial response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Yet here we are, facing major financial challenges. When you combine the trends in giving and ticket renewals, the potential for a negative effect on the OSU Athletic Department and our offerings becomes a stark reality. Because gifts and football tickets make up 40 percent of our annual $47 million athletic department budget, they represent key sources of revenue for us.

As you'll likely recall, we've launched an effort to roughly double our donor base by 2012--'Expanding Beaver Nation--12,000 Strong by 2012.' Now is the time to renew your tickets if you haven't already or become a new season ticket holder. Season tickets and family plans are on sale and packages at minimal donation levels are available. Ordering is as easy as clicking this link or calling 1-800-GO-BEAVS.

Additionally, if you're a donor who hasn't given to BASF this year, please consider a contribution by June 30. If your personal financial situation doesn't enable you to afford season tickets, it doesn't mean you can't support the program. Every little bit helps. A $100 annual donation provides opportunities for our student-athletes and helps move us towards our goal of being 12,000 Strong by 2012.

It's important to remember that BASF donations fund all 17 of our sports--not just football. Donated dollars represent much more than prime stadium seating and parking spaces. These contributions fund scholarships and result in educational opportunities for our student-athletes.

To help underscore the importance of donations and ticket sales, we are in the process of realigning our resources in the athletic department. The objective is to have numerous personal interactions with season ticket holders, donors, and prospective ticket buyers and donors. We're working to create a chain of stewardship throughout our department at different donor and ticket levels so that all of our supporters have key contacts and touch points in our system. We plan to have this new model in place by July 1 or shortly thereafter. The best news is that we're able to do this by restructuring, and the effort requires no additional funding. However, we're hopeful that this will help us retain and expand our donor base and season ticket sales, which could potentially bring the much-needed payoff to our programs and student-athletes.

I've covered a lot of ground in this AD Report. I hope the message is clear. We need everyone in Beaver Nation to step up and be a part of our future success. Have you had a chance to recruit one new $100-a-year donor? If we each do that, we easily reach our 12,000 Strong by 2012 goal.

Although the economy has set us all back a bit, we have so much to be proud of. Baseball coach Pat Casey marked his 500th win as a Beaver by defeating Oregon a few weeks ago, and he just led his team to postseason play for the fourth time in five years. I'd also like to congratulate our men's and women's rowing teams (Emily Ford Pac-10 Coach of the Year), and our men's golf team for another banner season and postseason play. In all, 12 of our sports had national representation beyond the regular season. There's a lot to celebrate; a great reason to be 'ORANGE'; and a good pitch for all of you 'recruiters' out there.

Go Beavs!

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