When it comes to football right now in 2012, there are some battles that can be dealt with on the field during the game, and there are others that are off the field. With the growing presence of social media being integrated across all sports and athletic programs, universities are tapping into these emerging platforms to connect with fans, showcase their stories through multimedia and other visual content, and share updates in real-time.
With this in mind, even though the Sugar Bowl which will be featuring the Louisville Cardinals versus the Florida Gators on January 2nd, I believe the social media battle between these two great universities has been decided. Why do I say this? Well, let’s break down each of the social media sites for each university and discuss their specific features:
- Dedicated page for the Louisville Cardinals for the Sugar Bowl
- Visually presented with lots of multimedia and pictures to illustrate the journey and story behind the Cards and their presence in New Orleans.
- Use of various social media platforms (FB, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Ptch) not just from the team, but also encouraging special areas for particular audiences to share their stories like fans, media, alumni, and many more.
- Strategic implementation of digital storytelling – you really get a sense of the background of Coach Strong, the team, and the Louisville university as well.
- Dedicated voice for behind the scenes commentary for the UofL team (Nick Stover @ULFlyingCard)
- Real-time feeds from Twitter for key members of each audience group presented in a centralized location on the page.
- Established hashtags for the conversations to be used on Twitter, Instagram, and Ptch.
- Their bowl page is located on their Gatorzone.com page, which pretty much looks the same as it did when I was a student-athlete there (graduated with my B.S. in Public Relations and was a two-time SEC Champion, 3x All-American, and 2004 Olympic Trials Finalist for the Gators during my time at UF).
- They have links to their various items, but what about highlighting the specific hashtags and ways fans can share their stories? It appears this site doesn’t serve as a centralized location for people to gather and talk about the Gators in the Sugar Bowl.
- Did not really see a connection to the story of the Gator team or the coach on the site – which could have been good to have seen and present for visitors on the page.
- Not really sure of the various social media platforms they are using for this game. Should have been featured here as well to direct the conversations about the game for their various audiences.
- Formatted more like a pushing message strategy – no real interaction or engagement from the team with their various audiences with this page.
So, in summary – I feel like I have an investment and connection to both of these universities. I did graduate from the University of Florida back in 2005 and competed for the Gators for two seasons in track and field. I am also now an Assistant Professor in Strategic Communications for UofL and will be finishing my second year at the university in 2013.
While the game is still a few days away, I feel that the social media battle has been decided: Louisville 1, Florida 0.
Hope you all are having a great day!