4 College Football Teams Taking Video To The Next Level

Early on, college athletic departments bought into social media as a tool for recruiting. Their target? High schoolers who grew up in this digital age and are good at blocking out the noise. This began the quest for digital and creative talent within athletic departments. And, the quest turned into an arm’s race for talent so programs could create content that actually captures attention.

Today, college football sets the tone for innovation in our industry. Every year programs consistently step up their game. Every season is another season full of inspiration. 2018 was no exception.

One area that particularly stands out in college athletics is video content. Whether programs tap into the emotional bond fans have with the school or push the envelope of what it means to create for the platforms, good video content is an area where college football tends to shine. Below are four schools that stood out this season and a little insight into why:

Ohio State – Design That Brings The Fire

Ohio State has an incredible design team and they use their talent to create stunning motion graphics for gamedays and big moments. Not only is their visual identity distinct and innovative, but their use of motion is always different and eye-catching.

Video content doesn’t always mean a hype reel, game footage or talking heads. Video content can also be used for more branded plays and milestone moments, even without a lot of b-roll. And, Ohio State is a great source of inspiration when it comes to raising the bar on how design can be leveraged to create video content. Below are a few executions that stood out this season:

It would also be a miss to feature Ohio State and not give some love to their Signing Day video that shows Urban Meyer passing the control to Ryan Day. It was well executed, incredibly creative and played into their video game theme for all of Signing Day:


Clemson – Content That Feels More Personal

Clemson has been dominating the video game for quite a while now. They are no doubt one of the crown jewels in the content space and they continued to prove why in 2018.

While they do a lot of things well, one thing that stood out is how personal they make their video content feel. Their digital team appears to have an amazing relationship with players and coaches and it shows in the work. The footage they get often has a more intimate, first-hand perspective.

The Clemson vlog is definitely the star of the show. The weekly series brings fans up close and personal with the team. It’s often a one-stop shop for understanding what’s going on week after week. The vlog serves up a mix of highlights, strong b-roll and player and coach interviews.

The interviews and angles filmed are what makes the vlog so unique. Players and coaches can often be seen taking over the camera. The angles from the b-roll footage makes fans feel like they’re right in the middle of the action. It’s a bit raw and not at all overproduced, but that’s why it works. It brings fans into that moment in an intimate way. Below are a few examples from the vlog this season:

This personal style of video doesn’t stop with the vlog though. Across much of their content, Clemson picks angles that brings fans into the scene. Their interviews feel more like conversations than stiff talking heads. And, they do a fantastic job getting off the cuff personal reactions to moments. The result is content that pulls you in:

Part of our job as digital marketers is to get fans as close to the team and brand as possible. Clemson’s raw and personal approach to video is a great source of inspiration for how to get there.


South Carolina – Next-Level Production & Swagger

There wasn’t a team that brought more creativity and swagger to their video production this year than South Carolina. Each week their team produced high-quality content that was engaging and worth stopping in your feed for.

The consistent commitment to producing quality work is something that truly stood out. Watching from afar it seemed like their team took the “less is more” approach. This allowed them to push the envelope of their creativity and execute well. And when you consistently produce at a high-level week after week, fans are more willing to give you their attention (it’s a trust thing).

It’s too hard to pick on series that the Gamecocks did well because it was all so good. Here’s a snippet of their work from the season, ranging from uniform unveils to pure hype and the emotional connection of their brand:

In a season that was probably a little disappointing for their fans, their video content still performed. Why? Because their team was committed to bringing the next-level production and swagger every time they shared a piece. Consistency and a commitment to doing the best work goes a long way in getting tune-in week after week.


Georgia- Weekly Trailer Fueled By Emotion

The video team at UGA is full of masterful storytellers and cinematographers. Each week they produce a trailer that chronicles the team in a fashion that is much more than the scores. The series taps into the journey, the emotion and the fanbase that helps carry the team along the way.

The video team at UGA seems to take pride in the details. The music choice, the imagery, the script and the way the story builds week after week always delivers chills. Below are a few examples:

It’s our job to evoke the emotion our fans feel for the team in the content we produce. And, that requires going beyond the scores. If teams can show what it takes to get from here to there the result is a powerful story that goes beyond the scores. It allows teams to approach both the highs and the lows and show the emotion that goes into a season.

The UGA videos don’t focus on the scores. They focus on the brand, the team’s value and what makes UGA so special. When emotion is tied to content (like this from UGA), fans are more likely to stop, care and share. That’s a win, right?



The reality is that strong video work is hard to create. In a sea of sameness, it’s not easy to stand out above the noise. Good video works requires focus and a strong point-of-view like the examples above. Whether you want to leverage design more to create engaging videos or infuse more emotion week by week,  hopefully, these four programs offer up some inspiration.

What other college football programs stand out to you from a video perspective? I would love to hear your thoughts!


Making Highlights Your Own

In the early days of social media, you would never see highlights on Twitter. The internet was the wild, wild west and so many clung to control. Thankfully, we have come a long way. Leagues and broadcast partners have loosened the reins on rights at various different levels. If you scroll through Twitter during a live game you’re guaranteed to highlight after highlight and big plays. 

But sometimes with highlights, it feels like a sea of sameness. Leagues share them. Teams share them. Broadcast partners share them. Even fans share them. So many people have access to highlights that they aren’t original anymore.

The more access to highlights is a good thing for everyone, but it brings up an interesting point for teams. How can highlights and big-play moments become more their own? Here’s why this thinking is important:

Adds to the second screen.

Making highlights and game coverage more original adds to the second screen experience. It takes what was seen in broadcast and puts a fresh spin on it. And even if the fan isn’t watching on TV, the original spin probably has just as much value – if not more – than a straight-up broadcast highlight because it’s different, unique, entertaining and/or adds a POV.

Separates from the crowd.

As mentioned above, there are already a host of others who are going to share straight up highlights no matter what. Being able to push out something original from a big moment helps separate your content from the rest. And, content that is engaging and ownable is what all teams should strive for.

Pushes creativity.

Sports are unpredictable, but they are also very cyclical. It can be easy to get in the same routine from a coverage standpoint. If you make it a priority as a team to start creating more original content, it will push your creativity. You’ll search for new angles. You’ll catch candid/interesting moments. You’ll come up with new and amazing creative executions. Essentially, this type of thinking will help your team raise the bar.


Gives moments more legs.

I understand there are moments where it makes sense to share a clip of a straight highlight. It’s the fastest and easiest way to share in the moment. Additionally, certain leagues have restrictions where teams can’t share original footage in-game (or the amount is limited). Understanding that not every team can share original content during games, there’s still value in making them original as an opportunity to give the moment more legs. 

Depending on the situation and the rules, teams can share the broadcast footage in the moment and then layer on original content later. For example, share the straight highlight in-game, then follow up the next morning with your more original content play. This way you extend the moment in a fresh and original way. 

And if rules are no issue, then the hardest part with original content in game is determining the need for immediacy and figuring out the workflow. Turning around content quickly is no easy feat, so it’s a balancing act of understanding what needs to be pushed out now, what can be pushed out later and where we can share a straight highlight but then put a spin on it later.

So, how we can take highlights and make them more original or extend the moment of the big play? Below are a few creative executions + styles for that have caught my eye.

Note: The first bucket is something for in-game, while the others are probably ideas for extending the moment/play and giving it more legs given the product time.


FYOF: Film your own footage.

Filming your own footage is a great way to get game highlights that are different from the broadcast. Teams that hire videographers not only get great angles on big moments, but they are also able to get all the moments in between. From the celebrations to the fans often captures the essence of the atmosphere and a moment in a special way.  Below are some examples:

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Big-time mood 👨‍🍳

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If you’re looking for more examples, here’s a great thread on Twitter that has a ton of them. I wish I could include them all on the blog because there’s a ton of inspiration here. 

Add some flair.

It’s amazing how far the industry has come in terms of creativity and talent. With every new scroll through Twitter, I find a new and eye-catching creative execution that I haven’t see or thought of before. If you’re looking to extend a moment, graphics and strong editing can play a huge role in making highlights original. Don’t be afraid to try new things and add some flair.

Below are a few examples of unique creative executions that add some flair to highlights. Some of these were shared during the offseason and/or more as game previews, but I think the executions would also work really well as an extension of a big moment. Whether it’s a recap or a fun execution, there are so many creative ways you can give big plays and wins legs:

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See you soon. 👑 // #MixtapeMondays

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BFFs.

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Good to have 🏀 back in Chicago!

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Anyone trying to step up?

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Give perspective.

If you’re looking to do something different with highlights, consider finding ways to bring in a first-hand perspective on that moment. This could be players talking about the moment, fan reactions, etc. It adds a different level of emotion and the context can be really interesting. Below are a few examples.

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Belli has spoken. Do you agree? #glovework

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The Bottom Line

There are many more examples of teams making highlights their own, but the key is to think about all the ways you can repurpose them. How can you leverage the creativity of your team to do something different, add narrative, offer perspective? Whether the plan is to use the original content in-game or following, thinking about how to make big plays and moments original will no doubt push the creativity of your team and add value to fans. That’s a win, win.


What teams have you seen make highlights their own? I would love to see your favorite examples below.

2016 Football Hype Videos

Another football season, means another season of epic hype videos that will give you all the chills. I’ve put together a collection of some of the best ones I’ve stumbled upon for you to enjoy.

 

Gators

The Gators go way beyond campus in their hype video and tap into affinity throughout the entire state. The emotional, strong nod to Florida makes this one a winner.

 

Philadelphia Eagles

Working with 160over90, the Eagles always have strong hype videos that go well beyond the field. They focus on the city. The community. The tradition. I especially love the “local” credits at the end of this one.

 

Minnesota Gophers

The intro visuals and voiceover is strong in the “Under the Lights” video from the Gophers.

 

GSU Football

GSU picked a great thematic that really speaks to the current chapter of their program. It does a nice job of telling the story of where they’ve been and where they’re going with a hopeful, optimistic tone.

 

UGA

UGA has one of the best video departments in the country. They always nail their storytelling with interesting thematics and strong scripts. Love the lines in this video and that fact that the series is treated like a movie trailer with installments.

“True storytelling is the story of life. And this is the telling of the most important story. Our story. Love the focus on values, culture. Welcome to our humble tale.”

 

Tennessee

This is a more traditional hype video, but the voiceover from the student-athletes is powerful and strong.

 

Notre Dame

This video is part of Notre Dame’s partnership with Bleacher Report. Again, a more traditional video but the intro is powerful, music is on point and highlights cut just right.

 

Ole Miss

Game day is always different. Game day is special. Love the intro to Ole Miss’ hype reel and the way they showcase offseason footage to set the tone.

 

Nebraska

Nebraska has realized a couple strong videos, one tapping into the offseason and one on the opportunity to play. Both emotional and high-energy, the videos are extremely well done.

 

Seahawks

The Seahawks always do a great job of tapping way beyond the field. They tap into their city, the passion of their fans and even the PNW. The even have a local, PNW guy featured in their voiceover. This is a stellar hype video that taps into the uniqueness of their team and their fans.

 

Dolphins

So simple and sleek, it works. Proof that good content and videos don’t need to be overly complicated.

 

Baltimore Ravens

Ray Lewis defining what a Raven is, for the win. This is another good example of going beyond a highlight reel to tap into the sentiment of your fans.

 

Raiders

Really love the intro of this video and the use of fan UGC.

 

49ers

This video is long, but it’s really long done. It’s not just an ode to the 49ers, but an ode to the city of San Francisco. I love the footage choices, the nostalgia and the strong voiceover. If a video is going to be four minutes, this is how it should be done.

 


 

What video above is your favorite? Share your thoughts below.

 

Thanks for reading! 

GIF + Still Image Content Idea

Working in social media and the digital landscape will make your head spin. You are always on and it’s always changing, but it’s what makes the industry fun (and challenging).  Because of the changing environment, I tend to follow all the teams across leagues as much as I can for inspiration.  Everyday I feel like I learn something new just by following along.

So, as I was following the Atlanta Hawks and Cavs series, I noticed something from the Hawks that I had never seen before: Score update + GIF.  I really like the idea because it catches people’s attention, but can still be consumed quickly. Brilliant!

It’s always great to to see teams in the industry take up the content a notch, like this example from the Hawks. Don’t be afraid to try something new and push the boundaries. These days if you can think it, you can create it. That’s a powerful thing.

The Hawks aren’t the only ones who have created these awesome still images + GIFS. Here are a few more examples:

If you like what you see, here’s a tutorial that gives you at least one way to get this done:


This idea is a great reminder that t’s always good to take a step back and ask yourself how you can take content up a notch. Never be complacent with where you are, but instead continue to find new ways to tell your teams story and reach fans online.

 



Have you seen others use this GIF + still image format? If so, share the links below!

Thanks for reading!

Reaching Fans Through Video

There are a lot of different avenues to take when it comes to video content now. It’s easier than ever to get video content to the masses with Twitter video, YouTube, Periscope and more.

As video mediums and tools continue to rise, it becomes increasingly more important to reach fans where they are. It’s not about a this or that approach to video tools and platforms. Instead, it’s about leveraging them all to reach the greatest number of fans wherever they prefer to consume.

If you want to ensure you use each platform/tool effectively, then think about creating an internal guide on video platform best practices. Below is a guide to start thinking about the differences:

 

YouTube

Before Twitter, Video and Instagram rolled out their own video capabilities, YouTube was always relied on. And while it’s not the only answer to video anymore, do not neglect the platform.

YouTube is not just a distribution channel. It’s a community. A community that reaches more US adults 18-34 than any cable network and has 1 billion visitors every month. Unlike Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, users are going to YouTube to seek out video content. There’s a certain value to that.

Teams should focus on a specific platform strategy for YouTube, just like they do every other platform. Take note of the content that works best, use YouTube playlists, leverage the annotation features and engage with users. Don’t forget to cross promote the content on Twitter too!

When it comes to content on the platform, anything is fair game. With no limits on length, YouTube is a great hub for more “long-form” features (even those 2 – 3 minutes). At the end of the day though, to be successful on YouTube is all comes down to create compelling content like every other platform.

Long-form storytelling, hype videos and behind-the-scenes features work well on YouTube. Here are some examples of how teams are using YouTube:

 

 

Facebook Video

Facebook has allowed brands to upload video directly to the platform for quite some time now. And between their focus on video content and autoplay, native video on Facebook outperforms any other video content on the platform.

No matter what type of video content you are looking to share on Facebook, it makes sense to go ahead and upload it directly there. There’s no reason teams should share any video links. Take a look at the NBA’s numbers on Facebook and you’ll get a sense of the reach:

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Just like YouTube, all kinds of video lengths and features work well with native Facebook video. Again, it all comes down to sharing content that resonates.

 

Twitter Video

Twitter video is a great tool to tell a more seamless and instant story by posting video (30-seconds or less) directly to the platform. Twitter video is not a platform with its own community like Vine or Instagram, but another tool to help you create content for Twitter.

With the 30-second limits, Twitter video is a great to share player/coach interviews, quick behind-the-scenes content, the game atmosphere, etc. The content does not have to be polished; the real value is in sharing a quick and raw perspective.

Here’s a look at a few ways teams are using Twitter video:

 

 

Vine

Unlike Twitter video, Vine is its own social media network where video content is shared directly on Twitter’s timeline. The short, looping video platform has built a strong, niche community. One that loves humor, elements of surprise and excitement. If you want to know what content works best on Vine, answer this simple question: Is this something I would want to watch over and over again?

Because of the looping factor and short content bursts that Vine lends itself too, content that evokes emotion works best here. Think about awe, surprise, humor and shock. In addition, teams also capitalize on Vine’s tap feature that stops and starts the action to engage fans in a deeper way.

Here’s a look at a few ways teams are using Vine:

 

 

 

Periscope/ Meerkat

Live streaming is the latest craze that has taken the social media/tech world by storm thanks to Periscope and Meerkat. Both apps allow you to stream live video from your phone to all your followers.

While there’s still a long way to go in figuring out the value in live, it’s hard to deny that there’s something special about it. Kelly Mosier of the Huskers nailed it when he said “the draw for Periscope/Meerkat is giving people a seat to something first hand, in real time. Live is uncomfortable, but powerful.”

So far we’ve seen teams use it to live stream practice, interviews, behind-the-scene looks, press conferences, etc.

When thinking about how to use Periscope/Meerkat, ask what the value of live brings. Is this moment so intimate, important or emotionally fueled that watching it “now” is important. Does it make sense to forgo quality to provide the coverage instantaneous? If there’s value in brining your fan into the moment right then and there for a front-row seat, then Periscope and Meerkat could be the way to go.
In the future, video content is only going to continue to grow. It’s time to invest time and energy to figure out how you can tell your story through video and maximize all the tools for optimal reach!

 


 

What video platforms/tools do you think will continue to grow in the future? Share your thoughts below!

Thanks for reading!