NORFOLK, VA - As Old Dominion University prepares to open its doors for the fall semester on Aug. 26, the excitement surrounding ODU’s jump to the FBS level of football and entry into Conference USA is seen all over campus. And, thanks to a robust fund raising year in 2012 and in the first half of 2013, Monarch fans are giving at a higher rate and the Old Dominion Athletic Foundation (ODAF) is shattering its membership numbers.
Old Dominion started football in 2009 and has experienced four straight seasons of sellout crowds of over 20,000 fans. The Monarchs competed in the FCS level of NCAA football the first four seasons, but this fall the athletic program joins Conference USA, with football officially becoming an FBS and Conference USA member in 2014.
“The generous private financial support we receive from alumni and friends is absolutely critical for the overall academic and athletic success of our student athletes and teams,” remarks ODU Director of Athletics Dr. Wood Selig.
“Our development team lead by Mark Benson, Jena Virga, Casey Cegles, and Kelly Disharoon has worked tirelessly to increase the number of donors and annual giving at a stunning rate. We are fortunate to enjoy such a supportive and generous group of individual and corporate donors.”
In 2012, ODAF saw a 19% increase in membership, jumping to 2,833 members from 2,420 the year before and generating $6.98 million. ODAF membership surpassed the 3,000th member mark for the first time in late July. Since the inception of football, annual fund donations have climbed by 44%, from $2.37 million in 2009 to $3.4 million in 2012. Even more revealing about the excitement for the program is that 748 were first year members in 2012.
“As we move to CUSA and FBS football, we have challenged our foundation leadership and our donors to achieve 10% growth annually each of the next five years. Such annual growth is ambitious within any business entity and we are truly thankful for the generosity our ODAF membership exhibits on an annual basis,” Selig adds.
ODAF utilizes a priority point system to allocate season tickets and this past spring conducted a seat reallocation of SB Ballard Stadium. Of the 14,954 number of season football tickets sold for 2013, 14,100 are held by ODAF members, and 850 tickets allocated to non-ODAF members.
The result was a 48% growth over the inaugural season, with 2,525 ODAF members selecting seats.
“We are very fortunate and thankful to have such a loyal and growing fan base. The tremendous increase in membership and revenue since we started football has allowed us to make the move to Conference USA.” says Mark Benson, Senior Associate Athletic Director.
“I want to thank our loyal fan base for continuing to help us meet the aggressive new goals in our athletic strategic plan, which is critical in positioning ourselves for future success,” adds Benson.
For more information on the ODAF, contact 757-683-6963, or go to www.olddominionaf.com.