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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

University of Miami Turns to Tech to Help Student-Athletes Deliver on Social Media


(*INFLCR is a Proud Partner of Front Office Sports.)

Cool uniforms? Check. Brand new facilities? Check. The chance to continue to build a better social presence? Check.

As the opportunities for athletic programs to differentiate themselves dwindle, many are turning to helping their student-athletes grow their digital brands. Whether it’s bringing in outside speakers or arming them with tech solutions only a touch away, giving them the chance to leverage their time playing college sports more effectively has become the latest priority for programs across the country.

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One of the latest to hop on this trend is the University of Miami. Led by Tim Brogdon, director of digital strategy, the Miami athletic department was looking for a way to allow their student-athletes the chance to get access to photos and videos created by Miami’s creative team.

This search led them to Influencer (INFLCR), a Birmingham-based SaaS startup that gives programs like Miami’s a platform to store, track, and deliver their content assets to the mobile devices of their student-athletes, coaches, alumni and other influencers who can then share this content on their personal social media channels.

Only a week old, the partnership has already proved tangible results. Since being onboarded, 55 different Miami student-athletes have downloaded and shared 511 content items, generating more than 68,000 likes on Instagram alone.

Brogdon pointed to the university being able to equip its student-athletes with something that will help them long after their playing days are over as to why they pulled the trigger for such a service.

“The University of Miami is one of the most well-known brands in all of sports, and our student-athletes are in the spotlight in many capacities – one of the biggest being the social media realm. With that in mind, we wanted to give our student-athletes a tool to showcase and build their personal brands while also helping grow the Miami Hurricanes brand at the same time. We want our student-athletes to leave Miami with a social brand that showcases who they are, what they’re about and to make sure they’re ready for the real world, no matter their profession once they graduate from The U.”

Working with programs like Kentucky, Auburn, Kansas, and Purdue, Jim Cavale, INFLCR’s CEO, views the trend of programs investing in their student-athletes digital presence a positive one.

“Giving attention to your student-athletes’ brands on social is something that 90 percent of college athletics brands are not going to do today, but 100 percent of them will be doing in the next 3-5 years.”

Miami is INFLCR’s first ACC client — and the deal will start with just football, but will have the chance to expand into other sports, something that Cavale is optimistic will happen.

“Most of our deals start with football and basketball and then grow beyond the revenue sports into the other sports a university may offer. For example, Jeremy McClain, the athletic director for Troy University, was the first to add a women’s sport, with women’s basketball recently coming on board in addition to football and men’s basketball.”

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While Brogdon and Miami may be early adopters, if the trend Cavale is banking on comes true, INFLCR is going to be busy the next few years. If that is the case, everyone from the college athletic programs to their student-athletes will win. After all, isn’t that the purpose for all of this?

(*INFLCR is a Proud Partner of Front Office Sports.)

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