• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 30s

New efforts to bring back crowds for GCI Great Alaska Shootout

By Bonney Bowman 6:42 PM November 23, 2016

The GCI Great Alaska Shootout has been struggling to boost attendance for years, but this year, organizers say they’re trying some new things to bring in new fans.

Much of the outreach effort is focused on bringing in younger fans, and University of Alaska Anchorage athletics director Keith Hackett thinks it’s working, based on the turnout for the first night of the tournament on Tuesday.

“We had a great crowd I think last night for the first two women’s games, so I’m encouraged about what I saw last night,” Hackett said.

He said they’ve used traditional means of advertising the shootout in newspapers and on television, but to target college and high school students and young families, they’re turning more and more to social media.

“Social media is the way I think that we have to reach the demographic that we’re trying to reach,” Hackett explained.

Another way to boost turnout is to make getting to the tournament easier. Sponsor GCI set up a free shuttle from downtown Anchorage to the games and back again.

“It makes it so parking isn’t an issue, transportation is super easy,” said Kate Slyker, the vice president of marketing for GCI.

She said when thinking about how to get people excited about the shootout, they wanted to make sure they had something for everyone.

“Of course there’s amazing D1 basketball, but there is a bounce house for little kids who come, there’s a prime rib carving station and a beer garden, there is the DJ Spencer Lee who’s here, there’s the contest,” Slyker said, referring to the shot contest to win a free truck.

Hackett said they’ve also worked to make the tickets more affordable and handed out some free ones. That’s what brought Wasilla resident Keri Anderson to the Wednesday afternoon game, along with some athletes from her basketball team.

“There’s actually a few ways that the kids could get tickets: through their schools or through the YMCA here in Anchorage,” Anderson said. “My family would have come but I don’t know if I could have gotten all of my players that are here today, so it helps.”

Hackett said the only way to ensure the shootout keeps happening every year is for people to attend. The tournament continues through Saturday.

Editor’s note: GCI is the parent company of KTVA.

KTVA 11’s Bonney Bowman can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.

Latest Stories

  • Neighbors, close family friends react to Utah man accused of murdering wife on cruise

    by Steffi Lee on Jul 27, 22:30

    A Utah man is now facing a federal murder charge — accused of killing his wife, 39-year-old Kristy Manzanares, on a cruise ship traveling in Alaska.  Kenneth Ray Manzanares, of Santa Clara, Utah, made his initial appearance in federal court Thursday. According to a criminal complaint, on July 25, Emerald Princess Security and Medical personnel responded […]

  • Politics

    Senate GOP’s “skinny repeal” bill dies in middle-of-the-night vote

    by CBS News on Jul 27, 22:13

    Senate Republicans’ attempt to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act died early Friday morning, with three GOP senators — Sen. John McCain, Sen. Susan Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski — voting against the proposal. “So … this is clearly a disappointing moment,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said right after the bill failed. […]

  • Politics

    Larry Persily on political drama in Washington DC

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jul 27, 22:04

    Both Senators: John McCain and Lisa Murkowski, are in the center of the political drama playing out in Washington DC, with plot lines that could be straight out of a movie. Larry Persily was the federal coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation projects and has worked for three governors and advised many state legislators, including […]

  • Former pro golfers come to Alaska to help future players

    by Dave Leval on Jul 27, 20:15

    Katelin Richards gets a different challenge every time she steps on the golf course. “Right now, my short game, my chipping and putting has been off,” said the 15-year-old player. Richards and other junior golfers ventured onto the Anchorage Golf Course to improve their game. They also received some first rate help. Janet Anderson won […]

  • On-Air

    Reality Check w/ John Tracy: Sen. McCain calls for bipartisanship, but is Washington listening?

    by John Tracy on Jul 27, 19:42

    There must be something about facing your own mortality, that provides a bit of clarity on the value of your life’s work.  I think that’s what we were seeing on Tuesday when Senator John McCain cast the deciding vote on advancing his party’s healthcare bill and then proceeded to take his colleagues to the woodshed […]

  • News

    APD bike patrols covering Anchorage

    by Lauren Maxwell on Jul 27, 19:18

    The Anchorage Police Department is covering some new territory this summer and they’re doing it on two wheels. Officers on bikes are patrolling more areas than ever before. APD’s bike patrols are made up of teams of school resource officers. They work in the schools in the winter and hit the trails during the summer. […]

  • Man with hatchet charged with attempted murder on officer

    by KTVA Web Staff on Jul 27, 18:52

    An Anchorage man was charged with attempting to kill a police officer with a hatchet. Police say on May 25, around 4:28 a.m., they responded to a report of someone breaking into cars near Morningside Loop, between Old and New Seward Highways. When police arrived, they say they tried to make contact with the suspect, 32-year-old Howard […]

  • Politics

    Two House Democrats call for investigation into calls made to Alaska’s senators

    by Bonney Bowman on Jul 27, 18:24

    Two House Democrats are calling for a formal investigation after they say the Interior Secretary threatened Alaska’s senators over healthcare. Thursday afternoon, Natural Resources Committee ranking member Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and Commerce Committee ranking member Frank Pallone (D-NJ), sent letters to the Department of the Interior Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office. They want […]