[Ed.: “I Have An Idea…” is a series written for College AD by the author of Brands Win Championships, Jeremy Darlow.]
“Just Keep Taking Chances and Having Fun.” – Garth Brooks
The players aren’t having fun. The fans aren’t having fun. The media aren’t having fun. How’d we get here? How’d we get to a place where two of the biggest professional sports leagues in our country are being accused of being boring? As children, we played sports because they were fun. We loved to run around with our friends and compete. Today, as adults, we watch sports because of the entertainment value and storylines that come with 60 minutes of opposition. In a world inundated with reality television, there is no better reality show than sports. But the shows we’re putting on air these days are boring. The sports we’re putting on the field and court and rink are stuffy. The storylines are tired and played out. These aren’t the sports we grew up playing as a kid and the people have had enough.
That’s good news for you.
Players, fans, and media are begging for someone to make sports fun again. That could be you. That should be you. There is a gaping hole in college athletics right now and it’s yearning for someone to step in and claim ownership. A program. A football team or basketball team or baseball team. Anyone. Fans are waiting for a program to let their hair down, take the suits off and jump in the pool butt naked.
Look around. Go up and down your conference. How many programs would be described as fun? Free spirited? Loose? People latched onto the Monmouth Basketball bench antics because in a world of vanilla they were rocky road. As Seth Godin describes it in his book, they were the “Purple Cow” of the NCAA pasture. You’d have been hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t like watching the videos of those young men celebrating.
That was one team, from a small conference who by having a little fun and not worrying about what people thought of them, broke through and became a national story. How many of you reading this would like to be featured in every major national publication in the country? To be the talk of social media week after week for an entire season? To earn equivalent media value from those conversations that in most cases surpasses your marketing budget for the entire year. Would you like that?
Then let your hair down and have a little fun.
Jeremy Darlow is a brand marketing professional who, during his time at adidas, has worked with schools like Notre Dame, Michigan, and UCLA, and athletes like Jimmy Graham, Dwight Howard, and Lionel Messi. He works to help NCAA athletic programs and athletes build and elevate their brands to elite levels.