College Sports: Will it Survive?

This conversation is happening in every collegiate athletics department around the country right now. My answer as to will college sports survive is yes, but…

The only way college sports will survive is if every department evaluates what is truly at the heart of what they do, recognizes what is most important and makes that a priority.

Every. Day. Of. The. Year.
Period.

What might you ask is at the heart of college sports? Community.
What is most important? Real connections with real people. Again, community.

Make that the focus and the priority and everything else will fall into place. College sports will survive if each department recognizes what really makes them great and what they really stand for. Every employee. Every day. All year. All conversations. With everyone you meet.

Is the competition aspect important? Yes. But it’s not everything. The community is everything.

College sports are unique and some legendary programs now span centuries of active existence and participation. And yet for some that legacy is in jeopardy. For others, they’re more confident now than they’ve ever been and they continue to reinvest in their communities.

I’ll say it again: College sports will survive if the executives in charge put community at the heart of everything they do and make their work about the community and nothing else.

Is money important. Yes, absolutely.

Are expenses real and growing every year, if not every month or day? Yes, absolutely.

So what do I mean by community?

I mean the collection of people who all believe in something greater than themselves. The community of alumni, employees, friends, fans and citizens that come together to celebrate the culture that exists around the competition.

This topic is somewhat controversial and may stir some people the wrong way, but over the next few months, I’ll be exploring why and how I think college sports can survive. The grand summary of how college sports will survive is community.

Community is service to others.
Community is acceptance.
Community is celebration.
Community is core values.
Community is academia and business coming together.
Community is people connecting at a higher level.

Community is love.

Celebrate Major Milestones

Celebrating major milestones is as important in sports as it is for family. Anniversaries, birthdays, graduations. Why not celebrate sell-outs, new player contract signings, major championship wins and other major achievements with your fans? Even if you don’t have some kind of formal party or celebration, use social media and interact with them around these special events. Here is what Evernote sent me recently when they hit the milestone of 100 million users:

Evernote Milestone Celebration
Evernote 100 Million Thanks Milestone Email

Evernote celebrated hitting this milestone by sending (presumably) all of the users a thank you message for using their service. They really seem to be like a company that strives to continually provide value, make a confident value statement with the full expectation that their users will WANT to pay for the add-ons they provide. By celebrating this milestone with their fans and users, they take one more step in that direction.

One example from the sports world is the post-Super Bowl victory parade. After the Seattle Seahawks 2014 victory, their victory parade through downtown Seattle drew crowds of (according to one report I heard) over 700,000 people! Now that’s a strong connection!

Celebrate with your fans and connect. Go Forth!

More Than Just a Business

Sports teams are more than just a business, more than just an organization trying to make money.
Sports are about more than just trying to score points or move the ball.
Sports embrace community.
Sports teach and pass along social values.
Sports encourage personal traits of leadership, integrity, honesty, and discipline.
Sports are where we come together to celebrate.

Don’t forget this as you move through life.

Go Forth!