Friday, July 9, 2010

Social Media Marketing and the Sports World: Utah Utes Women's Soccer

On occasion, your's truly likes to take himself semi-seriously and actually take a look at some rather interesting and timely topics when it comes to the world of sports.  Well, I woke up this morning and decided, "today, will be one of those days".

As we all pretty much know, the Spot loves his soccer.  He loves it in all shapes and forms...from the World Cup, to WPS & MLS, to the indoor variety....it's fun, it's exciting, and hey, I'm Portuguese, there's some sorta law saying I have to dig the footy!  In the pantheon of the soccer landscape that we have here in the United States is one branch of the soccer tree that, unless you go to the University of North Carolina, doesn't get that much attention...Women's College Soccer.  Now in most places, it gets about as many fans in attendence as there are those taking an o-chem final...which is unfortunate since it is the college scene that gives us our stars of the National Team....the women who bring home the Olympic gold and that we'll be seeing in next year's Women's World Cup.

Now, most programs and athletic departments could just accept the status quo...that women's soccer is a minor college sport in most places, and let it play away in relative obscurity...or, they could do something about it, and try to not only grow the sport, but the strength and popularity of their program.  After all, more fans equals better game day atmosphere equals more revenue for the program equals an easier time recruiting wise.  Of course that leads us to the question...and they're going to afford this how?  Let's face, college athletic department's today are run like a buisness.  You put your resources...and dollars...into those sports which bring in the dollars for your department.  In other words...you'll see a whole lot of advertising and marketing for football, men's basketball and even women's basketball (if you happen to be a resident of Storrs, Conneticut) but not so much for women's soccer.  So this begs the question...just how do you do expand the reach and popularity of your program if you don't have the resources dollar wise...well the answer might come soon enough, and it would be coming from the University of Utah.

Utah you say?  Hot bed of soccer in America? (ok, to be fair, Real Salt Lake are the defending MLS Champs and they do a good job of filling up Rio Tinto Stadium).  Well, it seems as if the Lady Utes have developed quite the marketing campaign that intergrates both their internet web page presence, facebook, and twitter...it's called "Show your Scarf"...and the Spot likes it!  

The "Show your Scarf" premise is simple...soccer fans love their soccer scarves...so, if you go to the official web site for Utah Women's Soccer, you'll see that for the whopping total of $20 dollars you get a Utah Utes Women's Soccer Scarf, which also doubles as your season ticket!  Don't know about you, but sounds like a deal to me.  But the fun doesn't end there, and that is where "Show your Scarf" comes into play.

The Lady Utes, you see, are making their campaign interactive, and asking fans to "show your scarf".  They are asking fans to take pictures with their scarves...well, where ever!  Around campus, around town, Times Square, Mayberry...you get the point.  Once you take your pics showing your scarf, they then ask you to upload it to team's facebook page and to post it on twitter, using the hash tag #sys (for show your scarf of course!)  so that anyone in the twitterverse (as they call it) can just type in #sys and up will come links to fans of the Lady Ute's...with their scarves.  Already you have pictures of the #sys campaign with scarves on the John Stockton Statue (John Stockton, Steve Nash...looks like point guards from the Northwest all love the soccer!), outside of the Utah State Capitol and yes, even scarves on a buffalo!  Of course, for a more in depth look at the #sys campaign, I suggest you head on over to the blog of Lady Utes Assistant Coach Mariel Wilner , a fellow social media enthusiast who gives a detailed account of what the #sys campaign hopes to accomplish and how they plan on doing it...it's a great read for us social media types!

So what does the Spot thing of this?...He likes it, he loves it, he wants some more of it!  It's a great marketing campaign using minimal resources dollar wish to create the greatest possible buzz....they may want to pattent this one, because if it succeeds it could be a model for programs across the country (are you listening my alma mater, University of the Pacific?)...oh yeah, and the scarf is pretty snazzy too...I'm definitley ordering one!

That's all for now...till next time...

5 comments:

  1. Great post! Go Utes! A little closer to home you should check out Cal State Stanislaus women's soccer. Sold nearly 700 season tickets last year in their new stadium...led the nation in attendance with nearly 1000 per game. Not bad for a small NCAA Division II program in the Central Valley of California!

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