Powered by Nevco, A New Gameday from CollegeAD focuses on how athletic departments are working towards the eventual return of sports and what that will look like on gameday. Dr. Brandon Martin who serves as the Director of Athletics at Kansas City joins the podcast to discuss trust, communication, and the future of college athletics.
Dr. Brandon Martin, who was hired in November of 2018, started the conversation by saying everyone at Kansas City is doing well considering the COVID-19 pandemic and societal issues. He said they remain committed to their student-athletes and committed to showcasing Kansas City as one of the premier mid-major athletics nationally.
He explained that his department has made communication and transparency during these times, a top priority. He said they have utilized their website, video capabilities, and social media to get their message out to the community.
Martin said they’ve had segments with student-athletes and coaches. He explained the coaches use their time on camera to explain recruiting, upcoming seasons, leadership of student-athletes and their philosophy as it pertains to student-athletes. Besides the content, Martin says it’s important that they are transparent with the community. He said this period has been an opportunity and has let them get more positive feedback about their department and they are using it to position themselves as they emerge to a new normal.
Martin explained that the use of video content and social media has been part of their planning, strategy, and philosophy for a while but the pandemic made it more imperative for their fan base.
Regarding the social events surrounding the death of George Floyd and the protests that followed, Martin says he released a statement but their overall message has not changed. He said that higher education is a microcosm of the real world and as they present these atrocities, it’s important that student-athletes remain in the forefront.
Martin said they have done some intentional things to take a stand beyond his statement. They teamed up with partners to create a Black Lives Matter poster that’s gone viral in the industry. He felt it was critically important to take that stand. He says the community has been receptive and it’s been an educational moment.
Dr. Brandon Martin says everyone from fans to staff to donors has to ask themselves what they can do on a daily basis to make things better. He explained it’s a watershed moment that calls for leadership beyond himself. He said his coaches are leaders, his student-athletes are leaders, but they also need fans to step up and be leaders.
The conversation then turned to fans returning in the fall and what kind of impact their messaging has had. Martin said that using video content, web, and social media to get their message out to the fans means they will still be engaged when they return in person to events. He explained it’s about having genuine interaction and genuine engagement.
As far as the future, he agreed they have more questions than answers as to what the venues will look like, what kind of capacity, what kind of safety measures will be in place, but he said one thing is for certain, that they will have a great fan experience. He explained that this time of COVID will redefine what that experience will look like, it requires ADs, external relations folks, campus communications to come together collectively to figure out what that fan experience needs to look like, but the core of it is transparency.
Next, he talked about some of the revenue opportunities on the horizon. Martin said the old paradigm will have to shift. He said their partners are truly dedicated to the student-athlete experience and that’s a long-term commitment routed in marketing. He said they want more partners, and as a mid-major, they want strategic partners. As far as revenue, he acknowledges that ticket sales will be impacted, but that for Kansas City it’s about relationships and planting seeds for the future. However, he explained their recent strategy has been overcommunication with their partners so they understand what’s going on with the NCAA and the inner workings of their department.
Martin said his main message is centered around trust and unity. Unity of the students, administration, stakeholders, donors, and all of Kansas City. Dr. Brandon Martin’s message is about staying true to Roo Athletics’ core values and mantra of comprehensive excellence.