The past few days have been somewhat of a whirlwind of creating content, consuming coffee (wait… that happens every day!), engaging in discussions about social media and sports, and talking all about football and shoes.

You might be asking yourself – Karen, what were you up to these past few days? Well, I was able to participate in a few different events related to several brands and teams I admire and respect, but I also was able to help create content to share with the #SMSports community.

Let me share with you what I was up to these past few days with Adidas, Clemson, and College Gameday for the Louisville-Clemson game, and what were some takeaways I had:

Adidas goes viral with celebration shoes

Adidas is one of my favorite brands not only for their shoes, but the people they have as part of their community. They are some of the best I know in the business.

Adidas was in full swing when they hosted the #MakeTheNight event, which was set the night before the big football game to reach students to be able to create their own shoes and t-shirts, with the chance to win a customized pair of Louisville adidas ultraBOOST shoes. Adidas made 111 of these (to celebrate the number of wins Coach Petrino has) and did this creative execution at the event as well as on social media.

I will be writing a more detailed post for Front Office Sports on the #MakeTheNight event, but I have to give a quick shout out to the adidas team who allowed me to be part of this event, including:

Thank you ALL for allowing me to experience this event. I had SO much fun not only being part of the event, but meeting the team behind the #3StripesLife at adidas. I really felt like I was part of the adidas community, so thank you for this.

Seeing good friends again: When I decided to go to a football game this year, I realized there was going to be one that I wanted to go to. First, it was the first home game for UofL. Second, it was going to be with Clemson.

As I have written about for the past couple of years, I have not only been fans of Clemson and their social media work, but it has been awesome to make some amazing friends with the sports and social media teams. They are truly some of the best in the business, and they are also fabulous people. I was able to meet up with Jonathan Gantt and his team (Jake, Max, and Andy) while they were in town.

I had a chance to meet up with them and take them to campus for College Gameday. Jake, Max, and Andy were working on the upcoming Clemson Tigers vlog. As each season comes and goes, one thing is pretty consistent, and that is the innovation and creative execution of storytelling by the Clemson Tigers social and digital teams.

If you haven’t seen their vlog, make sure to subscribe to their YouTube channel or see the first episode.

What Jonathan and his team have done over the years has not only changed how many teams have shared their content and stories on social media, but they have truly made an impression and gained a reputation to almost a celebrity status in the arena. Let me share w/ you two incidents I was able to witness while I was hanging out with the Clemson team.

First, they were approached by this gentleman here (below in this photo) from Northern KY who not only recognized them, but wanted to talk to them about how he wants to do the same thing when he graduates. Max, Jake, and Andy all exchanged handles with each other on social media and took the time to share their tips and best practices with him. That’s one of the many reasons why I think the Clemson Tigers team stands out.


The second is getting people high up in the sports business to not only recognize your work, but to take the time to let you know about it. I saw this happen when Rece Davis (College Gameday) was heading to the set and stopped by to chat briefly with the Clemson Tigers team to say that he thought what they were doing was really great and that he enjoyed their content. Can we say – WOW?!!! This is the level of impact all teams and professionals would want to make. I was excited for them to get this feedback on their work. Keep setting the standard, Jonathan + team!

Meeting #SMSports pros IRL. I have a regular bucket list for people I want to meet in the industry, and I was super thrilled to meet one of these fellow professionals in person finally! I had a chance to meet up with Reva Labbe of ESPN / College Gameday. Reva and I have been connected via Twitter for a while, and the work she does for ESPN has been awesome. When I found out she was heading out to College Gameday, I asked her if she wanted to get some coffee while she was in town (it’s somewhat of a tradition for me to get coffee for friends when we meet up!). Reva was able to meet me and it was super cool!

Not only was I impressed with Reva as a person and professional, but the work she and her team do at ESPN is amazing. They have a lot of duties, professional obligations, responsibilities, and the content that they create each week is top notch. Reva and her team wear many hats, and I think what they have been tremendous in both their work and being engaging in the community. I make sure my students in my social media class follow their work on social media because it is leading edge.

I wanted to thank Reva for taking the time to not only chat with me, but also for being engaging and interactive within the #SMSports community. Plus, I was able to make a connection and make sure Reva and Jonathan had a chance to meet up after chatting virtually for years. Always awesome to see connections happen! 🙂

IG story takeover: I had a chance to take over Front Office Sports Instagram account for the weekend to cover College Gameday as well as the Louisville-Clemson game.

I was really honored and excited all at the same time, and then I realized this would be my official takeover for another account. I have advised, mentored, and helped my students do these for their class clients, internships, and jobs – but this time – it was all me. No pressure, right? I said – bring it (and coffee) on!

The result? I had an absolute blast! It was a lot of fun to showcase all aspects of what it was like to be at College Gameday, before and after the game, and see the metrics that were coming in from IG.  Thank you again for this great opportunity, Adam, Tyler, Russ, and the entire FOS team! Was a lot of fun and keep up the great work!

Main Takeways

There were several takeaways from my time at College Gameday, the Louisville-Clemson game, and at the adidas event I wanted to share with you all to keep in mind if you are working in social media, teaching social media, or want to work in this industry:

  • Behind each social media handle and brand, there are people behind it. Be aware of this and I try to stress this all of the time in my classes. Be kind to each other and social media  is first and foremost about being “social.” I think sometimes we forget about this.
  • It is very kind to be an armchair quarterback behind the screen when it comes to content. I think sometimes people do not realize the amount of work, effort, resources, and time it takes to really creatively execute the content, ideas, and events that take place in the sports community. I was BEYOND impressed with the work I saw from adidas, College Gameday, and Clemson during these past few days.
  • Reach out and make connections. It’s not only about what you know, but who you know and who knows you. Reach out to professionals and you never know what may happen. I am very grateful to have had the chance to make some great friends and see them in person this weekend. This is what it is all about – and it was super exciting for me to see the great work being produced and created by people I not only knew, but respected tremendously for what they do for the industry and profession.
  • Hard work is essential in this field and these pros understand the importance of relationships. These professionals are working extremely hard, and I absolutely am impressed with this and really appreciative to them as well. What is amazing is the fact that for all three of these brands, Mike (and his team at adidas), Reva (College Gameday), and Jonathan (Clemson) took time to meet with me and made me feel welcomed and appreciated. This meant a lot to me, and I was friends and a fan of theirs before, but I am a bigger fan of all of theirs now. These three brands will always be emphasized, discussed, and highlighted in my research, articles, and presentations on social media.

Hope you all are having a great day!

Best Wishes,