If there was only one thing we could say about working with Notre Dame Athletics Marketing Intern Conor Montijo it would be: Fun. If there was another word it would be: Hardworking. Okay, this is our blog we can say whatever we want. Conor is both FUN and HARDWORKING. And well if you're going to be an intern in the sports industry you better have both traits. This "young pup" (that's what Robert calls anybody under the age of 30) is going to do a lot of awesome things with his career because his passion is truly infectious. We also really like that his pregame ritual involves the song "World's Greatest."
It's our pleasure to introduce to you the World's Greatest Intern, Conor Montijo:
Ella Odland, Marketing and Promotions Coordinator at North Texas Athletics, is known around Old Hat HQ as "The Mean Green Rowing Machine." You see Ella is a former rower from Washington State University and well, Robert is really good at rhyming. We collaborate with Ella on multiple sports marketing strategies and she's a perfect fit with the fine folks in Denton. Ella is great to work with and gives us the right amount of direction and creative freedom to create some really cool work.
This week, Ella answers our 20 Questions and we all find out she has great taste in karaoke songs, tv shows, food, and having a dog. Ella, let us know if you want to video conference in to discuss Grey's every Friday.
1. NAME: Ella Odland
2. OCCUPATION/TITLE: Marketing and Promotions Coordinator at North Texas Athletics
3. HOMETOWN: Seattle, WA
4. PREGAME RITUAL: Eating Pizza
5. FAVORITE THING TO SNACK: Peanut Butter
6. FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB: Being on social media all day and calling it “work”
7. LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB: Not being able to bring my dog to work ☹
8. HOBBIES: Travelling and exploring new places
9. ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF: Listen to your parents, they actually know what they’re talking about
10. YOUR GO-TO KARAOKE SONG: Ignition (Remix)
11. FAVORITE MOVIE: All the Disney movies
12. FAVORITE TV SHOW: Friends and Grey’s Anatomy
13. IF YOU WERE IN A BOY BAND WHAT WOULD IT BE CALLED: *ROAR*
14. FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT: Dick’s Drive-In
15. WHAT DO YOU ORDER THERE: A special, fries, and a chocolate shake
16. FAVORITE DISNEY PRINCESS: Mulan
17. WHAT’S YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL: Lion
18. WHAT’S THE STUPIDEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE: Flipped a boat… while I was still on the dock
19. WHAT’S THE LAST SHOW THAT YOU BINGE-WATCHED: How to Get Away with Murder
20. IF YOU WEREN’T DOING THIS JOB WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING: Travelling the world
In the summer of 2004, I took my first trip to Chapel Hill, NC. I had just started Old Hat and Rick Hart, then on staff at Oklahoma Athletics but now the AD at SMU did me the favor of calling UNC on my behalf to see if they might have some work for me. Fortunately, they did and we’ve been working with UNC ever since. I made my way out there to discuss the details of what we’d be doing for the Tar Heels and afterward, I went over to the nearest apparel shop to grab a souvenir or two. I picked up a navy blue Nike hoodie that had the word “CAROLINA” embroidered across the front of it and more than a dozen years later I’m still wearing that thing as often as I get the chance.
On a recent trip to Charleston, SC, I happened to be wearing that very sweatshirt as I made my way to get my wife some yogurt from the market down the street from our hotel room. A fella was walking my direction and as we got closer he pointed at me and said in a louder-than-expected voice, “Go Heels!” I’ll be honest. I was a bit startled and it took me a minute to figure out what he said and why he said it to me. I had to remind myself that I was wearing an UNC sweatshirt. Fortunately, I was able to gather my thoughts quickly enough to offer a stuttered, “Yeah! Go Heels!” back at him before my confusion became too obvious. This exchange served as a good precursor to the one I had no more than 2 minutes later when I was actually at the market and another man gave me a hearty, “Go Heels!” when he saw me. I was more prepared this time and was quicker with my response. I walked out of the market fired up ready to shout my support for UNC at the next passer-by but unfortunately, I didn’t pass any more Heels fans between there and the hotel room.
Working in collegiate athletics for as long as I have and with as many different universities as I have, my wardrobe is full of team apparel that has been given to me over the years. It is not unusual for me to be wearing an SMU sweatshirt and Kennesaw State hat one day only to be followed up by a Texas A&M t-shirt and Michigan basketball shorts the next. There have been more than a few times that someone has approached me in a public place and commented about how great “that game” was last night, referencing some sporting event featuring the team I am representing with my wardrobe. Problem is, I rarely recall what I happen to be wearing that day so I have to look down at my shirt or take my hat off to remind myself who they think I’m a fan of. Then, I either express my agreement with their statement or have to admit that I missed that particular event.
Believe it or not, though, the point of this is not to talk about my wardrobe or my interactions at the local grocery store. It’s to talk about the bonds we form as fans. Hunter S. Thompson’s quote references football fans specifically but the idea applies to any fan of sport. We share a universal language that cuts across many cultures and many personality types. We are never alone. We are a legion and sports is often the only thing we have in common.
When was the last time you were wearing your favorite Aerosmith t-shirt and some stranger yelled, “Sweet Emotion!” at you? Or the last time you were wearing that old Incredible Hulk t-shirt and passed a guy that gave you a hearty, “RAAARRRRRRR!!!!!” No, sports fans are in a justice league of their own. And for some reason, though startling, we don’t question it when a random person yells, “Go X!” at us in the restroom at the bar just across from Xavier University’s campus.
Sports creates a bond between people who would otherwise be complete strangers and gives them something to share in common. I recently met a fella on an airplane and we spent the entire flight talking about sports. We didn’t even share the same team in common though. Our bond was formed over the fact that I’m a Sooner fan, Barry Switzer used to coach at OU, Barry Switzer played at Arkansas and that guy on the plane is an Arkansas fan. We connected over a former coach of my team that is a former player from his team. Sports fans are just searching for something to connect over!
The camaraderie that is felt between sports fans is obvious. I’m not uncovering any brilliant revelation here. But I did want to see how many sports fans recognize it themselves. In our fan survey, we asked how many of the participants felt a sense of camaraderie with people at sporting events. We further clarified the question by adding that they should not include people they were attending with. In other words, to what extent do you feel connected with all of the people at those events that you don’t even know. 75% of them said that they feel “a lot” and/or “a great deal” of connection with all those strangers with whom, beyond wearing the same color and cheering for the same team, they have no known commonalities.
Isn’t that kinda nuts? 75% of sports fans feel a connection with people they don’t even know, if for no other reason than that those people are cheering for the same group of people on the field wearing red to score more points than the other group of people on the field wearing blue!
Like I said, the connection between sports fans isn’t breaking news. Every sports fan has experienced it. What you may not have realized, however, is the positive effect sports fans can have on an athletics program. The ever-important home field advantage is because of fans. The scholarships student-athletes receive through the athletic scholarship funds wouldn’t exist without the fans. A department's primary source of revenue (ticket sales) would obviously disappear without fans. Apparel sales, sponsorship dollars, local economy boosts, etc... All because of fans. 80% of those polled think that fans can either “probably” or “definitely” affect the outcome of the game. There’s no doubt in my mind that fans affect outcomes and could do so even more if we focused more on developing relationships with fans.
If you take one thing away from this article, let it be this: Sports does not happen without every member of the team working toward achieving success. It does not happen without the athletes. It does not happen without the coaches. And it sure as hell doesn’t happen without the fans. If you are a sports fan, take pride in what you give to the game. If you are an athlete, thank the fans for wanting to watch you play. If you are a coach, try to tune out the criticism of those people that think you should have gone for it on 4th-and-27 from your own 12-yard-line instead of punting and relish the opportunity you have to affect the lives of young people through your job. All thanks to these crazy fans.
Intro Videos have become as expected at the stadium as hot dogs and cheerleaders. Everybody has a video board and everybody is putting stuff on those boards. Let's take a look at five common mistakes that are made with Intro Videos and how you can punch them up a bit.
5. All or Nothing
A lot of times when an Intro has too many concepts it's because you're trying to please several different people with several different ideas. We've all been there. You have one minute. You have to include footage of the players in practice, getting ready in the locker room, walking around campus, and at least 20 highlights. Oh yeah, and don't forget about the fan and stadium shots. Oh and the logo! We need it to explode. One more thing: We need to include a few clips of our team's 110-year history. And let's use that Lady Gaga song "Edge of Glory" because the team is expected to do big things this year!
It's a hot mess.
For the sake of the video (and your sanity) try to get a majority of those cooks in the kitchen on the same page. Ask questions and communicate! What is the purpose of your Intro? Get fans excited? To tell a story with some drama? Is it more important to tell a story or show a minute of highlights cut to "Seven Nation Army"? Does the team have their own theme this year that maybe you just don't know about?
Can you turn this super concept video into a couple of different videos? For example, an Intro Video for the current team and a Historical Video honoring the past. There are so many different platforms for displaying videos nowadays. What doesn't work on the board might work great on Twitter leading up to the game. Eminem was wrong. You've got more than one shot. It doesn't have to be all or nothing with your Intro Video.
4. Length & Pacing
Nobody wants to watch a three-minute Intro. I don't care how amazing the song is or how awesome your highlights are. The exception to this rule is, of course, One Shining Moment. Video viewers' attention spans have dropped about a third from 2000-2015. A good rule of thumb for our partners is between one to two minutes.
On a related note, the pacing is something that is overlooked and underappreciated. We've all seen that video where it feels like three minutes, but it's only been 30-seconds. That's a pacing problem. Sometimes it's because of the music edit. Sometimes it's because of a long highlight. Cut up the tunes. Cut up your clips.
Some important bullet points:
• Epic music doesn't always equal an epic video.
• Sometimes the team or your Coach aren't the best judges of music.
• Just because you can jam to the song in your car doesn't mean it's going to work for an Intro Video.
• The search for lyrics that apply literally to your team is a futile attempt.
• Fall Out Boy can't be expected to put out a new album every year.
• Everybody wants a song that builds.
• Figure out the purpose of your Intro and that will likely direct you towards the perfect style and tone of the music and then onto the perfect song.
• Music is SUBJECTIVE.
2. Let Athletes Be Athletes
Some athletes are naturals in front of the camera. Some aren't. That's okay because they're supposed to be athletes, not actors. Not everybody can be awesome like Peyton Manning on SNL. Most will be like Michael Phelps: AWKWARD. There's a fine line with Intro Videos between awesome and super cheesy. If Coach wants to include all of the starters in the video, but a couple of them aren't comfortable, maybe he or she is more natural in a group with their buddies. Not every player in the video has to go it alone. Put them in a situation where they can succeed. You wouldn't put a 310lb player at the quarterback position when he's obviously more naturally inclined to a lineman position. So why would you put an uncomfortable athlete center stage?
Another tip for filming the awkward-at-heart: Put them in a natural situation. Michael Phelps doing sketch comedy = bad. Michael Phelps training for his final Olympics = AMAZING.
1. Copying Yourself / Copying Others
The #1 pitfall when it comes to Intro Videos is the theory "If it ain't broke don't fix it." It's easy. You know what Coach likes. You know the fans really responded to it. So you essentially paint yourself into a corner. And nobody paints baby into a corner, right? There's only one recipe to make chocolate chip cookies and there's only one equation for the math problem. There's not a lot of creative fulfillment when you template your video each year.
This also falls in line with the copying somebody else's creative work route. We get it. People tell us all the time they go to our site for ideas. That's cool and we're certainly flattered. That's the name of the game in the biz. It's one thing to take a concept and make it your own with your own brand spin, but it's another thing to flat out shot-for-shot copy somebody else's video. There are folks who have used our Michigan Football Legends concept for about five years now. There are at least three institutions who copied Auburn's 2014 Men's Basketball Intro exactly. EXACTLY! That's not flattery. That's laziness.
Give your fans and coaches more credit. They deserve more than safe mediocrity. Get out of the habit of saying "no" because you're afraid of taking risks. Become a "YES" woman or man. It's freeing and your Intros will continue to get better each year.
Brandy Chenoweth, Director of Marketing and Fan Experience at Kennesaw State University, is quite possibly one of the most organized people we've ever had the pleasure to work with. To say she's got her sh-stuff together would be an understatement. She was absolutely the perfect hire two years ago when KSU started up their Football program.
Last summer, she organized a beast of a Football Intro Shoot:
5 Game-Ready Football Players
25 Decked Out Cheer, Band, and Fans
3 Hours to Shoot
150 degrees in Georgia
Brandy and her KSU squad of assistants and interns were awesome and made our job pretty dang easy.
We thought it would be clever to end this by quoting Brandy's favorite movie, but there wasn't enough rhyming in this post, not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all. Now, find out what it will take to get Brandy to sing karaoke at NACMA 2017 - 20 Questions with Brandy Chenoweth.
1. NAME: Brandy Chenoweth
2. OCCUPATION/TITLE: Director of Marketing & Fan Experience
3. HOMETOWN: Boise, Idaho
4. PREGAME RITUAL: Coffee. And a corn dog. I’m serious. And enjoying the small amount of time that I get to pick the music.
5. FAVORITE THING TO SNACK: We also always have a bucket of snacks available on game days… I typically go for the crackers!
6. FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB: Creating memories for our fans. And also collecting cool sports memorabilia. I’m not your typical huge sports fan so if I hold on to something it’s definitely important. For instance I still have the student newspaper that ran after the first time we did a flash mob at Boise State Men’s Basketball. It’s a constant reminder of how much we can impact a game.
7. LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB: I could name so many from my career… climbing the upper decks of Death Valley to put up game day flags and cleaning up owl poo are two that come to mind!
8. HIDDEN TALENTS/HOBBIES: Well I don’t really consider this a talent…but I could burp the alphabet if needed.
9. ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF: Don’t sweat the small stuff. Choose your battles. Sleep now.
10. YOUR GO-TO KARAOKE SONG: Oh gosh. There are only certain kinds of beverages that could convince me to do this, but it would be something cliché like Don’t Stop Believing or Party in the USA.
11. FAVORITE MOVIE: 10 Things I Hate About You
12. FAVORITE TV SHOW: The Bachelor or Bachelorette
13. IF YOU WERE IN A BOY BAND WHAT WOULD IT BE CALLED: Notoriously Fickle
14. FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT: The Smokin Pig in Pendleton, South Carolina- DO NOT miss it if you are in the upstate!
15. WHAT DO YOU ORDER THERE: Chopped pork plate with sweet potato fries, fried okra, and banana pudding. Bless that banana pudding.
16. FAVORITE DISNEY PRINCESS: Belle- I love that she reads and is a little sassy!
17. WHAT’S YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL: Golden Retriever
18. WHAT’S THE STUPIDEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE: Hitchhike in the back of an ice cream van.
19. WHAT’S THE LAST SHOW THAT YOU BINGE-WATCHED: The Crown
20. IF YOU WEREN’T DOING THIS JOB WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING: Probably public relations- who knows!
Michael Beale, Assistant Athletic Director/Marketing, University of North Carolina, like Michael Jordan, is simply a Carolina Legend. We're currently developing a Beale crying meme generator so in the meantime, this Jordan one will have to do. We assume these are tears of joy for the Tar Heels march to the Sweet 16.
Old Hat has been working with Beale (that's the creative name we call Michael around the office) for nearly 13 years. Which, if you're familiar with Old Hat history, means that he's been a client for pretty much the entire time we've been in business. A former college baseball player at Elon University, Michael claims to have carried the team on his back during his entire time there. Actually, that's not true at all. In Michael's words, "I think a more fair statement would be that I was on the baseball team at Elon. But I didn't do a lot of playing." Despite being the tenth man on the baseball team, he's first in our hearts. So without further ado, we give you everything you'd ever want to know about Mr. Michael Octavius Beale.
No. That's not really his middle name.
NAME: Michael Beale
OCCUPATION/TITLE: Assistant Athletic Director/Marketing, University of North Carolina
HOMETOWN: Richmond, VA
PREGAME RITUAL: Visit with fans and get their thoughts on the game.
FAVORITE THING TO SNACK: Almonds
FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB: The people I get to work for/with on a daily basis
LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOUR JOB: Emotional highs and lows of winning and losing
HIDDEN TALENTS/HOBBIES: Love to play golf (just wish I could learn to play good golf)
ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER SELF: Stay true to your beliefs. Have a career plan you are comfortable with and stick to it.
YOUR GO-TO KARAOKE SONG: Bon Jovi - Living on a Prayer or Curtis Blow - Basketball
FAVORITE MOVIE: Escape from Alcatraz
FAVORITE TV SHOW: Deadliest Catch
IF YOU WERE IN A BOY BAND WHAT WOULD IT BE CALLED: Lefthand Slow
FAVORITE PLACE TO EAT: Alfredo's Pizza Villa
WHAT DO YOU ORDER THERE: Pepperoni pizza
FAVORITE DISNEY PRINCESS: Snow White
WHAT’S YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL: Great White Shark
WHAT’S THE STUPIDEST THING YOU’VE EVER DONE: Got lost driving from Lexington, KY to a wedding in Northern Virgina and followed a local through the back woods/roads of West Virginia to get back to the highway. Thank goodness I had a couple of bottles of Maker's Mark bourbon to say "Thank You".
WHAT’S THE LAST SHOW THAT YOU BINGE-WATCHED: Fixer Upper (with my daughters)
IF YOU WEREN’T DOING THIS JOB WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING: Working for the USGA or PGA
It is always interesting to learn how other brands are delivering content. At Old Hat, we get to work with many brands and each one is unique. Each organization knows their fanbase and has ideas on how to get that emotional reaction from them.
I was also able to attend a few different sessions at the conference. One I found particularly interesting was about personalizing the web experience. NBA teams are doing some innovative things with geographically based content. The speaker was from the Trailblazers and he went through their process of serving different ads and content based on the zip code where the user is located. This allows them to not waste fans’ time. If a user on the site is from North Carolina, the chances they will be able to purchase season tickets is very slim. With the website, the Trailblazers are able to serve up content that might be more relevant to a fan in North Carolina while simultaneously serving up different content to fans who live closer to the team. Each fan is seeing the content they prefer, which makes it considerably more likely that the website will become a part of their regular habits. This is a great example of efficient use of a website and how to effectively develop a digital community.
Another session I attended was about Atlanta United, a new team in Major League Soccer. They are in a unique position since they are a completely new team in a city that did not previously have a soccer club. They have been able to create unique content as they have started the team, created their kits, and added players to the roster.
With the conference being located in downtown Atlanta, we were also able to tour the College Football Hall of Fame. It was a cool venue and had some interesting technology. Upon entering, you are given a badge with a RFID chip inside. This identifies your name and favorite team at all of the exhibits. Digital exhibits change to display your favorite team’s content. It creates a unique experience for each visitor and allows all schools to be represented in some way.
We all remember that iconic scene from She's All That - only one of the best Freddie Prinze Jr rom-coms of 1999. Okay, so maybe only if you were a teenage girl around that time.
The New York Knicks went the "be silent, be still" route recently by executing pre-game festivities and the first half of the game WITHOUT any background music or entertainment. Prior to the game, they posted a message on their video board: The first half of today's game will be presented without music, video, or in-game entertainment so you can experience the game in its purest form. Enjoy the sounds of the game.
So what did that mean?
Player intros were done with lights on and no background music
No team intro/hype video
No clap-along music beats during possessions
No filler music or video board segments during timeouts
No video board sponsor animations/promotions (NO KISS CAM??) (Or this awesome mom??)
As expected, there were many opinions and viewpoints on this little experiment.
Old School Fans - appreciated experiencing the sport in its purest form. #Classic, if you will. Fans could focus on the intricacies and strategies of the game without distraction. These are the fans who think the game is enough and the music is too loud. However, these basketball purists probably are not the demographic the NBA is hoping to target. The Knicks aren't trying to convince these fans to come to the game. They're going after those casual fans, who might be perfectly content watching the game at home on their big tv. The fans that have a lot of other options for entertainment in the greatest city in the world.
Players - You would think the players would also appreciate the game without "distractions," but players from both teams shared their concerns and said it was weird and different than normal. It was Golden State's Draymond Green, who said, "That was pathetic. It was ridiculous. It changed the flow of the game. It changed everything. You get used to playing a certain way. It completely changed it. To me, I think it was completely disrespectful to everyone from [NBA senior VP of entertainment and player marketing] Michael Levine to [Warriors president and COO] Rick Welts and all these people who've done these things to change the game from an entertainment perspective."
Who knew what happens off the court has so much impact on the court? Personally, as a competitive gymnast, I learned to block out the noise while I was up there balancing on that beam. Sure, people were cheering for me, or more likely the three other gymnasts simultaneously competing on the vault, bars, and floor complete with loud floor music, but I didn't hear any of that.
Team Employees - You would assume those responsible for in-game production were thinking how nice the first half was having nothing to worry about. However, the Knicks organization, like the first half in Madison Square Garden, have been silent on the matter.
Here's a video of one of the timeouts during the game. It is eerily silent.
MSG is going old school and playing no music, video or in-game entertainment for the first half. This is what it sounds and looks like: pic.twitter.com/PxYJp1CpIt
The wait is finally over! For a few weeks now, we've been teasing about the release of a new podcast. Yesterday, we published Episode 1 of Stop the Clock, featuring an interview with Matt Roberts, Director of Athletics at the College of Charleston.
Stop the Clock is a podcast about the most amazing moments in sports history when you just wanted to stop time and live in that moment forever, or, those not-so-amazing moments when you would have done anything to have another shot at it. The idea for the podcast was actually born out of the book I'm writing, also called Stop the Clock. I've been conducting a lot of interviews with the nation's top collegiate athletics administrators and I'm recording those interviews to then turn into content for the book. What I'm discovering though, is that many of the people I'm speaking with are great storytellers. Some of these stories are too amazing not to let the world hear. So, I decided to turn the best stories with the best audio quality into a killer new podcast.