Innovative Sports Media Strategy

Yesterday I wrote about how football dying could kill college athletics. Today I’m going to share part of an email describing a media strategy I suggested to a D2 school.

During my fairly unsuccessful job search in 2012, I decided to email an athletic director about starting a football program at his school as part of a comprehensive media strategy. My motivation was simple, it was the intersection of my two biggest passions: athletics and technology.

I’ve pulled out a number of unimportant details, including any names or schools. If you think hard enough you can probably guess the school.

I expect you’re incredulous to say the least given the controversy and cost surrounding football. It may seem insane but I think you stand to greatly increase revenue and prestige by making this move. No doubt America is passionate about football; Monday night’s NFL contest between the Packers and Seahawks that nearly took Twitter to its breaking point due to unparalleled passion. Furthermore the lack of innovation in sports, especially football, makes it ripe for disruption. [Your institution]’s commitment to entrepreneurship is perfect for announcing a plan to compete in football in an entirely new way.

[Your institution] has an ace in the hole that would be an enormous recruiting tool and money maker: Google Fiber. Imagine the power a partnership with YouTube to broadcast all home games live would have in recruiting. The infrastructure is already be available and [your institution] could get an exclusive channel on their new TV service. Additionally, as YouTube has yet to make a significant dent in original sports content in the US, it’s not ridiculous to think they would make a significant investment in the upstart of a football team. It’s equally likely that in a city split between three major D1 programs might unite over a D2 team.

Where then might [your institution] find themselves playing football on the road? I would suggest pursuing the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletics Association. [Your institution] sits in the heart of this excellent D2 conference that currently has an uneven 15 football teams. It seems a natural fit to join a conference like this that could use another member and then grow the football team as the department sees fit. Recruits would be playing close to home against very solid competition, surely a great selling point.

In a final thought I think this could be a project the whole University could aid in. The University is well known for supporting entrepreneurship, might the athletic department then call on prospective students looking to build something and utilize their drive to help kick the team into high gear? It’s an opportunity unlike any other in the country and one that, if executed properly, would come with great fanfare for all those involved. I still deeply love the game of football and would like to have a meaningful impact on its evolution here in the next ten to twenty years.

Unfortunately, this never happened. It leaves me wondering when an athletic department will make the devisive move to distribute their content over the internet in a meaningful way.

I’d definitely love to see my alma mater call up the folks in Mountain View but BCS schools are constrained by legacy contract structures. Some school will have to innovate before time runs out.