Creative Ways to Engage and Activate Your Team’s Fan Base

I get really excited about the fact that high school, club or small college teams no longer have to suffer from a lack of recognition and awareness. No longer do they have to languish in obscurity because the media doesn’t give them the coverage that they deserve. We now can create our own media channels. And those channels are becoming as important or more important than the other traditional media! We can leverage Youtube (2nd largest search engine on the planet, universal distribution to everyone on the internet- unlike TV), Facebook (750 million users, including my dad!), Twitter (175 million users), mobile marketing (98% of text messages get read within 1 hour!) and email (my dad has had email for years- enough said). And we can utilize these channels the same as the Steelers or Yankees or Lakers. And the cost of using them is all to scale. We don’t have to reach millions, just thousands. We don’t have to have a high budget movie produced. Just a simple Flip video interview will do great. We don’t have to sell out a 15,000 seat arena or 75,000 seat stadium. We just need a few thousand people to buy tickets at $7. Or a few hundred people to donate $50-$100 each (forget selling them junk they don’t want- respect your donors money and intelligence and put their money directly into your program where they want it to go anyway).

The concept here is that people want to connect with people. That’s why sports talk radio and tv shows, post-game press conferences, and half-time interviews of coaches running off the football field are so exciting. We connect with the people behind the game. When you make the connection and pull back the curtain, your fans can make an emotional connection. When they do, they will support you- financially and otherwise. If you don’t get this then stop reading and go back to doing what you were doing… you know, the stuff that’s not working and never will.

Why is this important? Because your fans are your source of success? Want better facilities? You need to connect with donors. Want more support from your administration? Prove that your worth it by filling the stands. Want more alumni support? Help them get to know your people (athletes and coaches). Want more community support….?

Here is a small sampling of creative content ideas that you can use to engage and activate your fans, alumni, parents, the student-body and your community.

Funny or entertaining video

– Like this one of Troy Polamalu

Where are they now

– Interview alumni or past coaches at a reunion event and post it for your fans.

Athlete or coach interview

– People want to hear it from the horses mouth- that’s why the NFL, NBA and other pro sports make it mandatory that coaches and athletes give post-game interviews. People connect with people, not just a team or logo. (There’s great one posted on Wed, Oct 5, 2011 here:


– Turn on the camera, sit down and start talking just as if you were sitting in front of a group of your closest fans. Coaches should be interviewed to give fans a connection to the CEO of the team itself. That’s who they want to hear from anyway!

Host an event-

Athletics brings people together like no other department at your school. Check out this interview with Craig Littlepage, one of the premier athletic directors in the country.

Highlight video

– Use footage from competition, training, off-the-mat/field/court footage. Here’s an example of an arena football league team highlight film .

Connect with a recognized personality, brand or organization

– Leverage the existing public awareness of others and associate your team with others that will enhance the respect, recognition and relevance of your team.

Ask an engaging question on Facebook

– “Who is your favorite athlete on the team?” or “If you were the coach, what would you tell the team going into this weekends competition?”

Write or do a video interview about an upcoming competition

– Tell me, the fan, about the opponent, the match-ups, the history, and why this will be exciting. Don’t assume that I know. Because I don’t! If the NFL assumed that fans already knew, there would be no pre-game shows.

What other ideas are you using or have you seen? Share them it he comments below and if you have a link, add it so that we can check it out.

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