Welcome back, AMA! This blog covers our past event, Sports Marketing Panel with UT Athletics! If you have always dreamed of being the quarterback for the Patriots, the MVP of the Lakers, or the next Tiger Woods, sports marketing allows you to meet these people so that it might be for you!
Meet our Speakers
During our panel, AMA met with Caiden, who works in ticket sales, and Chuck, Associate Athletics Director (Video, Graphic Design). These excellent guest speakers leverage social media (Follow them @texaslonghorns) to interact with fans and students who enjoy Longhorn sports and create a sense of FOMO for students and individuals who don’t attend games! These social accounts are an inside look at the players and the games themselves (an extension of the locker room). The content is close-knit, speaks about fans and pop culture, and is minimally regulated by the coach. They also are an efficient recruiting standpoint for fans, donors, alumni, and prospective students.
Buy tickets for Longhorn games here: texassports.com/tickets
On average, how long is the process from ideation to launch?
For one, this depends since campaigns are dependent on different ticket sales seasons. The UT athletics sports marketing team collaborates with a creative agency in Austin to brainstorm and mindmap campaign ideas. The campaign is based on the customer life cycle, which starts with measuring ticket sales at the start of the season, and thus, helps the team predict ticket sales. They always know that they will lose customers throughout the season since people graduate or move away. But they can always expect to gain customers since many people will attend games from out of state if UT is playing against their college; however, these are usually accounted for as one-time purchases. Common campaigns they launch include:
- The State of the Union Address.
- A renewal campaign for the football season (which lasts 5 to 6 weeks).
- A deposit campaign targeted towards the tail end of the season ticket holder.
Specifically, for ticket sports like Longhorn volleyball, football, basketball, etc., campaigns have to be pretty flexible (sometimes action items must be completed in 3 DAYS). These campaigns include physical collateral, advertising material, parking spaces, and especially conveying stories about playing the sport.
NIL Rules (Name, Image, and Likeness)
As of July 1, 2021, UT athletes are not restricted in using their names to run social media accounts, review accounts, etc. The social accounts incorporate athletes’ own stories to promote their products and service in exchange for money. Their leverage program teaches students how to recognize good versus bad deals and conducts a SWOT analysis of how student-athletes present themselves online and how to change that. Their team also coaches student-athletes from a personal branding standpoint to create an excellent social media presence and brand.
Additionally, the UT Sports Marketing team works with large-brand names to produce products, but they must pay attention to every detail! One of the most recognized symbols globally, Nike needs to make sure that the longhorn logo isn’t cut off, isn’t too big or small, etc., to avoid diluting their brand while also incorporating UT.
“Football game day is as much as the students’ experience as it is ours – we add all the advertising and things to make it look good to make it enjoyable.”
Some Upcoming Events…
This summer, their team plans to launch a student-driven campaign that celebrates the 50th anniversary of Title XI. The campaign will showcase women’s athletics, emphasize the national rowing championship this past year, and announce a documentary incorporating Title Xi. The team will push out the campaign this month!
Something exciting about working in sports marking is that there is always something to be worked on. Once the team reaches the light at the end of the tunnel, another project is waiting for them!
In the short term, they are also working on promotions for the Made-in-Austin weekend, an event that embraces what makes Austin special with unique food offerings. Other activities include Longhorn City Limits (a unique set of FREE concerts on the northeast corner of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium) and Smokey’s Midway (interactive games and fair-style attractions). Exciting news: the Student Section is flipping this year to the Northeast side (More Seats for Students!)
What advice would you give to those wanting to be involved in the marketing side of a football team?
This career involves a lot of recruitment like visiting schools, attending photoshoots, and a considerable time commitment. Typically, these roles look for individuals with experience with Adobe Suite products. For example, these skillsets are used to create cut-outs of pictures of people now and later learn how to use cameras and equipment. There are great tutorials on YouTube to learn these skills!
How easy is it to communicate with students?
From a social standpoint, the audience is the world. The speakers will segment individuals within Austin and UT campus, allowing social strategy to become horizontal. Much of the content they promote is niche towards UT students, making it hard to appeal to fans in other states or cities. Their focus is usually on marketing the big ticket for students. This campaign was over-complicated before and has become much more simplified for students. To appeal to students, the team will use emojis and ensure that any promotional statements include no long sentences that would not take more than 2 seconds to read over. (Our attention spans are so short now.)
What about targeting other large-ticketed games/programs like UT swimming?
This is challenging for the team since there are over 13 sports played at UT. Each sport has a full-time marketing lead, however, some marketing teams are focused on multiple sports at a time. Some sports like track and tennis have large followings, and therefore, many promotional events are sport-specific to fans. From a social media standpoint, the team is still working on improving its content and promotional strategy. The team tries their best to highlight and focus on all sports since all of UT’s sports perform well and gain lots of attention!
How does the team build long-term partnerships with local and national brands?
Longhorn Sports Properties represents The University of Texas at Austin with support from agencies like SocialPlus and Learfield and sponsors like HEB and Pizza Hut (on national pizza day, you can receive a longhorn-shaped pizza!) The sponsorship price isn’t as high, so this provides an opportunity to pull in more sponsors! The team must identify and leverage sponsors. One of their exclusive sponsors is St. David’s healthcare which reserves the right to use the UT (Longhorn) mark, which drives a lot of businesses and people to become exclusive sponsors.
Where did the idea for Hub Chubs come from?
A student has called Whataburger’s honey butter chicken biscuit “Hub Chubs.” So, UT’s sports marketing team reached out to Whataburger and started promoting giveaways and “Hub Chubs” to UT students. They even sent individual texts encouraging students to “Get your FREE Hub Chub.”
This week, Moody Center, UT’s newest premier venue, opens! It’s predicted to be the “Madison Square Garden of the South” with over 10,500 capacity. Go check out the Moody Center!
WRITTEN BY EMA ZORONJIC
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