How Joe Centeno and Team Infographics Are Building The Future of Sports Social Media

The company was born out of the need for a tool to help time-starved departments.

Joe Centeno (left) cofunded the company with Gilbert and Patty Chavarria. (Photo via Joe Centeno)

Think of your favorite college or professional sports team.

Odds are, that team has partnered with Joe Centeno and Team Infographics (TI) in the past several years in order to build a unique and effective social presence.

Since Centeno, the company’s art director, founded Team Infographics in 2012 alongside partners Gilbert and Patty Chavarria, the El Paso, Texas based agency of less than 20 employees has grown into one of the premier creative entities in sport by offering clients of all sizes the ability to stand out on all major, social platforms.

An El Paso native himself, Centeno attended the Rochester Institute of Technology before returning home to the University of Texas at El Paso, where his career in sports began to take shape.

“I started off as a marketing intern and then just started gradually working my way up. I taught myself Photoshop and video editing. I was intrigued by that part of it and just self-taught and picked up what I could with Photoshop and really liked the athletic style design and kind of where it was going.”

After a year of working as an intern, Centeno was offered a full time position with UTEP athletics in 2005 as the Coordinator of Video Production and Graphic Design, a role he stayed in for over five years.

In that role, Centeno started UTEP Athletics’ Graphic Design and Video Production Department leading a talented team of graphic artists and videographers to create marketing materials promoting the Miners’ various teams.

During his time at UTEP, Centeno learned from the financial and manpower limitations that often come from working in the Group of Five and mid major athletics.

“You just have to be creative. There wasn’t unlimited budget to work with, so there were certain areas you had to devote time and resources to and others you just couldn’t because of manpower.

If there was a resource like Team Infographics that was available, affordable, and going to ease the workflow on game day in order to increase their social presence — as important as that may or may not have been ten years ago, today it’s very important.”

After seeing these kind of situations digital marketers find themselves in, Centeno and the Chavarrias created a product to make their lives easier.

In addition to having the capability to design and build digital aesthetic for organizations that do not have graphic designers or artists on staff, Team Infographics enables even organizations that have full in-house production teams to greatly increase their graphic output.

Similar to a system like WordPress, the agency gives their clients access to their site that houses all the pre-made and coded images, motion graphics, and videos. On game days, even someone with no Photoshop or After Effects experience can generate a graphic, GIF, or video ready for posting in a matter of seconds.

“Say it’s the end of the quarter and they want to do a score update,” Centeno states as he describes this process. “All they have to do is plug in a couple of numbers (point totals or stats), hit a button, and a graphic is spit out for them.”

After logging in on Team Infographics, a client’s social media manager just follows the simple input steps shown and the finished graphic below is what is produced.

“We’ve already prepped players, styles and everything that could come up. I think where we’ve found the most power behind is where we can put it in the hands of someone like a social media director or even a marketing intern. Any one of those people could log in to their account. They wouldn’t have to worry about anything being off brand or not up to their standard since everything is already built and approved beforehand.”

A graphic made using TI’s system.

Team Infographics has made this system work for organizations such as, the Carolina Panthers, the University of Maryland, the New York Knicks, the PGA Tour, and hundreds of others over the last several years; but, Centeno recalls one of the first clients he worked with (and still works with to this day) that got the agency going in a major way: the University of Oregon football program.

“I remember [Oregon] because it was one of my first cold emails, and Craig Pintens responded. Getting that response from him was a little bit of a ‘pinch myself’ moment. They were one of the first to really push it, in everything they do, but especially on social media with Oregon football. At that time, I thought to myself that if Oregon was on board with this, then I think we’ve got something.”

Witnessing the success of Team Infographics is inspiring for a couple of reasons. For one, if you are part of a marketing department with limited resources, you can know that there are tools like the products and services of TI that can help you create high quality content, and a lot of it.

Second, young professionals and digital creatives can look to what the hard work of a small group of passionate individuals has yielded and have hope for their own futures. You just have to find ways to be original.

“Don’t limit yourself to learning only sports design. Every team has its own unique background and traditions, so that these designs could all be completely different. Look at other forms of inspiration to make your team look unique.”

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