How do you make the Big 12 cool?
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The Big 12 might be on the verge of signing a new media rights deal, a deal which would reup with ESPN and Fox. But even if that deal ends up being months away, rather than weeks, it's clear that the league is trying to do something a little different with their media strategy.
Via CBS Sports:
Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark already spent time earlier this week in New York, a market that does not have a Big 12 team, as part of a blitz to help better position the conference as "young" and "cool." They also retained the services of an advertising agency to help them rebrand.
With the league's heavyweight programs, Texas and Oklahoma, set to depart for the SEC in a few years, the Big 12 certainly needs to be creative in finding new ways to generate revenue. Perhaps doing more to leverage influencer marketing, music-related activations, and other bells and whistles in markets like New York and LA could create other sponsorship opportunities for the league, opportunities that even larger leagues aren't taking advantage of.
But on paper, it also seems like a tough assignment. I say this with deep love in my heart, but when I think of young and cool....I do not think of BYU or Baylor.
Of course, I am a 35-year old father who blogs for a living. I fully understand that I do not have my finger on the pulse of what is cool. This is basically me.
But even that aside, the Big 12 doesn't have a clearly defined identity like say, the Big Ten or the SEC have. The league stretches from Provo to Morgantown to Orlando. It includes church schools, state schools, state flagships, regional publics, football schools, basketball schools...the works. It doesn't have decades of history of shared competition among all members, and with some exceptions, their alumni aren't as nationally distributed as other leagues.
Of course, I'm not an ad guy. But I know a few of those, and I called one of my friends, Jake Welch, a BYU-grad who has a decade of experience in the ad industry, and asked him how he would approach this sort of account, and what kinds of deliverables might be possible for this kind of campaign.
You can listen to our conversation in today's Going For Two. If you subscribed to that podcast, you'd have it by now, but you can also access it via Apple, Spotify, Youtube, or anywhere else you can get podcasts.
But that's not all!
Our show earlier in the week dug into what obstacles remain for the College Football Playoff to actually expand earlier, and when we might be able to expect some sort of resolution. The board met yesterday and did not, in fact, break any news.
We also had a better than expected time digging into the 1998 college football season. Yes, Tennessee won the national title back then, (we didn't just pick that year randomly), but as The Other Matt Brown pointed out, 1998 was also the year we had undefeated Tulane (the Green Wave are currently ranked), a top ten UCLA team (they're undefeated too), ranked Syracuse, and a slew of other similarities.
1998 was probably the first season I remember really watching college football. It was a pretty good season for my Ohio State Buckeyes....outside of one teensy little slipup. At least the Buckeyes have already knock off Michigan State this year.
Maybe we'll spend 15 minutes on another random season in college football, just remembering guys and teams and games. You know that old Twitter joke about how men would just list old sports guys for hours and have a great time instead of going to therapy? Well...there's something to that.
I mean...remember Cleo Lemon?
What else did we publish this week?
I interviewed one of the folks behind a new NIL collective that just supporting the Utah gymnastics team. We talk about their fundraising strategy, why this market and this team can support this kind of collective, and their plans for the future.
I also talked to one of the designers of multiple D-I mascots, and a leader in the industry, so I could better understand what makes a college mascot a good college mascot. We also talked about how to make those suits not smell like absolute butt.
We also dropped a free mailbag earlier this week, where we talked about my biggest reporting pet peeves, what sorts of schools are more likely to support NCAA postseason expansion, how leagues determine how many league games to play, and more.
And finally, we added a few more updates to the ol' EA Sports College Football Audio Asset Tracker. I also filed a lot of FOIAs this week...requests that I hope will bring back more information about the project (among other things).
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Lastly, a quick PSA:
First, I'm headed to Charlotte next week for the Sports Marketing Association conference. I'm excited to chat with academics about their latest research, participate in a panel discussion about NIL, hopefully sign up more schools for D1.classroom, and more. I fly out Tuesday and will be out of town until Friday. If you'll be around, drop me a line!
I'm also working on some fairly significant back-end upgrades to Extra Points, software upgrades that will allow me to finally give referral rewards, give you better ad experiences, smooth over a few rough edges around Ghost, and more. I don't think there should be any interruptions in publishing, and if all goes well, you won't even know there's construction going on behind the scenes. But I did want to let you know....just in case.
Thanks for reading everybody. It was another fun week. I'll see you in your inboxes again soon.
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