Marketers Can Re-Create The Baylor Line to Sell New Inventory

College marketers looking to create new, ownable inventory in conjunction with their student fanbase should consider benchmarking one of Baylor University's gameday traditions - The Baylor Line.

Prior to each home football game, a group of Baylor freshmen, referred to as The Baylor Line - wear jerseys with their proposed graduation year and nickname on the back and storm the field through a tunnel at one end of the stadium to the other, where they form a human tunnel for the football team.

This unique moment for freshmen students can be considered as "controlled chaos" as thousands of students run onto the field in uniform fashion. Once the pre-game introductions are finished, the Baylor Line leaves the field and congregates in a designated student section behind the opponent's bench. While the Baylor Line could potentially present some safety concerns (for the students running on the field), there are precautions that can be taken to minimize risk.

While the Baylor Line not only serves as a unique experience for Baylor freshmen to enjoy on gameday, it presents a golden opportunity for college marketers to integrate a corporate partner looking to make an impact on gameday and build an affiliation with students. Sponsors interested in the initiative may represent athletic apparel/footwear (as it ties in with endurance), insurance/auto (two categories commonly targeting students), and cause marketing/philanthropy (driving awareness with themed jerseys) amongst others.

Consider new ways that you can create ownable inventory on gameday that allows corporate marketers a means to directly affiliate their brands with students in a memorable way!

Check out the Baylor Line below:

Go Inside the Huddle to Deliver Unprecedented Access for Fans

The University of Washington football team gave its fanbase unprecedented access during the team's annual Spring Game by outfitting quarterbacks Keith Price and Nick Montana with a helmet cam and mic.

The result? The Washington Huskies football team was able to effectively convey to fans what it's like to lead a football team during a game, including:

  • Calling plays in the huddle
  • Taking snaps from center
  • Identifying defensive schemes
  • Scrambling on the run
  • Listening to coaches provide instruction
  • Staring down defenders
  • Throwing passes
  • Motivating teammates
  • Scoring touchdowns

The insider video, posted by Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian on YouTube, truly serves as a best-in-class execution that should be benchmarked by all sports organizations (either during practice, Spring games, exhibition games, etc.). The video has attracted 44,000+ views. Check it out below:

Sarkisian recently followed up the Huskies' "Inside the Huddle" access with two (2) terrific Fall Camp 2011 videos, profiling the football team behind-the-scenes. Check them out below:

A special thanks to Rising Star Mark Gallo of Anheuser-Busch for his insights and contributions to this column!

Red Bull Creates a Rivalry Series on the Slopes Between Oregon and Oregon State

Red Bull recently created a tremendous "Red Bull Rivals" series that featured top snowboarders from the University of Oregon and Oregon State University competing in a head-to-head competition at Mt. Bachelor in Bend, Oregon. Members of the two schools gladly competed for bragging rights in the newest head-to-head showdown of the Civil War rivalry between the two schools.

The Red Bull Rivalry Series demonstrates how brands can use a creative approach to capitalize on a long-standing rivalry to generate loyalty and buzz.

While it's become relatively common to see brands take ownership of rivalry series in the college space, the Red Bull Rivalry Series showcases how non-traditional sports (extreme, Olympic, club) can provide compelling, ownable content.

Check out the Red Bull Rivalry Series below and look for more of these type events in the near future!

Partnership Activation Goes Live on the Row Show

If you have a few minutes available, check out the new episode of the Row Show, one of the premier sports business talk shows in sports! I had the privilege of being featured on the show as a guest speaker and would encourage you to check it out on a bi-weekly basis.

Jason Cole and Jonathan Dusing do an incredible job highlighting recent trends and technologies in the space - everything from social and mobile media to innovative marketing practices.

Here is a quick rundown of some recent guest speakers on the show:

Episode 43 - Brian Gainor, GMR Marketing and Partnership Activation

Episode 41 - Jamie Diloreto, Boston College Athletics

Episode 38 - Brian Bowsher, Marquette Athletics

Episode 36 - Craig Pintens, LSU Athletics

Episode 33 - Dan Harbison, Portland Trail Blazers

Episode 30 - Brendan Wilhide, Sports in 140

Episode 27 - Sam Taggart, Vaynermedia

Episode 25 - Jeramie McPeek, Phoenix Suns

Episode 20 - Russell Scibetti, New York Jets and TheBusinessofSports.com

Episode 12 - Andy Rentmeester, Oakland Raiders

 

Syracuse Athletics Turns to NYC Taxis to Drive Awareness

Under the direction of Athletics Director Dr. Daryl Gross, Syracuse Athletics has invested in an aggressive marketing campaign that includes SU Athletics branded taxi tops in New York City as well as the NY logo on the back of the football team's helmets.

With New York City serving as a key battleground for the Orange, the Athletics Department has turned to taxis, buses, and billboards as effective means to drive awareness and excitement for Syracuse football and basketball.

The efforts have proven to be a great way to position Syracuse Athletics as New York's College Team with 45,000+ alums living in the Metropolitan Area. Check out some photos of their branding initiatives below:

              

  

The Making of a University Athletics Team Poster

Have you ever wondered how Athletics team posters are made? Or how many hours of labor goes into designing an appropriate look and feel that coincides with the team's brand DNA and team slogan?

Team posters take hours of expertise and a nice creative touch to produce an outstanding product. Geoffrey Rogers of Old Hat Creative recently created an outstanding five (5) minute time lapse that showcases the eight (8) hours of Photoshop expertise that went in to designing the 2011 Stanford Lacrosse Team Poster. Check it out below:

And here's another video detailing the creation of the 2010 Florida State football team poster:

Old Hat Creative is on fire right now with their creative services and out-of-the-box marketing tactics. I would encourage you to check out their site and sign up for their newsletter.

Gonzaga Unveils New Microsite for Women's Basketball Program

Gonzaga University celebrated the start of the 2010 women's basketball season by unveiling a new, interactive microsite that serves as an ultimate destination for fans to get all of the content they need. The site, ZagsLocker.com, provides a means for the athletic department to highlight the women's basketball program in a simple yet comprehensive manner and engage with current and prospective fans.

The framework of the site was built with six (6) strategic objectives in mind:

1. Enhance fan engagement throughout the season

a. Fans can upload their personal photos to the site in an effort to win tickets and see their picture featured on the scoreboard, accompanied by a PA mention, at a live game

b. When submitting photos, fans are required to provide their email address, allowing the athletic department to message to them throughout the season

2. Strengthen fan affinity and goodwill via interactive contests and in-game engagement

a. ZagsLocker.com features an "Interact to Win" section that allows fans to reply to specific questions via tweets/Facebook posts to win select prizes. Fan comments made via social media (posts about Gonzaga athletics on Facebook walls; direct messages to/from Gonzaga Athletics on Twitter) provide additional exposure to fans that may not have been communicated to via traditional marketing efforts

3. Provide fans with an inside look at Gonzaga's women's basketball via "Zags TV"

a. ZagsLocker.com features a link to the Official Gonzaga Athletics YouTube page where fans can check out new weekly content of Gonzaga WBB on Zags TV

4. Data mining for future marketing campaigns

a. Gonzaga Athletics is giving away commemorative Sweet Sixteen mini-banners to all fans that register on ZagsLocker.com with their full information. This strategy allows the athletic department to collect useful information for database/marketing purposes and drives additional awareness amongst fans and alumni of the WBB team's past Sweet Sixteen run.

5. Drive season and NCAA tournament ticket sales

a. ZagsLocker.com features a direct link (Buy Tickets button) for fans to purchase season, group, individual, and NCAA tournament tickets throughout the 2010 WBB season


6. Generate merchandise sales

a. Fans have the ability to link to the official online merchandise store to purchase goos by hitting the “Buy Gear” portion in the locker on ZagsLocker.com

The Big Ten Leads the Way with Fan Camp...

Are you looking for new ways to generate league/team awareness? Are you looking to create an intriguing campaign that utilizes a collection of team marks?

The Big Ten recently released a tremendous messaging campaign designed to drive awareness and affinity for the member Universities of the Big Ten Conference. The campaign is centered around a group of kids who attend Big Ten Fan Camp to learn more about their favorite teams.

The campaign serves as an excellent example for leagues looking to create a humorous, appealing message to promote their member organizations. After viewing so many stiff commercial adverts produced by Universities (that are shown during games), the Big Ten Fan Camp serves as a nice refresher. Look for more humorous campaigns from the Big Ten in the near future!

On a side note, the thought of University Athletic Departments holding fan camps (especially for young fans if done the right way like Football 101 sessions) could serve as a channel to generate a significant amount of revenue!