Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Like reaching in your pocket and finding $20,000

Well, not quite. But we have uncovered a little revenue nugget at Vanderbilt that all athletic departments should actively pursue.

Facility rental for non-traditional purposes. We all receive requests for basketball games, Special Olympic events, or maybe even concerts. But unless you have a promoter on your staff, relying on those sorts of opportunities could be a daunting task.

At VU, we have discovered a market for our premium basketball donor rooms for non-traditional events. A list of the events we are pursuing/booking are below:
  • Wedding rehearsal dinner
  • Corporate sales meeting
  • March Madness viewing parties
  • Wedding receptions
  • Birthday parties
  • Sales presentations
  • Holiday parties

After we began promoting our venue for holiday parties this winter, we have had several inquiries for renting the facility. Those inquiries led to us researching how we might fit into the wedding market by meeting with a wedding planner. Low an behold, she stated that there was a shortage of spaces our size, and coupled with the unique environment around Memorial Gym we should do very well.

After some intial evaluations, we estimate we can generate at least $20k in revenue this year, withthe number escalating in years to come.

In the never-ending search for more revenue, sometime you should look around you to find your answers.

Take care.

I get no respect!

I began this post by Googling those schools in the hoops tourney that used the no respect tag as motivation.

I had intended on linking a few of them, but there were so many I choose not to link to any of them. This is getting ridiculous.

If everyone is getting 'no respect', then who is?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

One Shining Moment

So we are one of the best 16 men's basketball teams in America. The Vanderbilt Commodores. It is a fun time to be a Commodore. It IS Good to be Gold!

It is kind of funny the kinds of questions and requests you get when a school reaches the Sweet 16. We spend hours upon hours, scratching, clawing, begging for coverage from our local media who are all so enamoured by the local pro sports teams to give us as much time as we feel we deserve. (of course, yes, we all think we could use more coverage. Actually I think we are treated closer to fair than unfair)

But, now we are fielding media requests from national sources and potential hospitality from places I would never have dreamed. You see, because of the tight turnaround, many parties have to begin contingency planning for all 16 teams that are left for Final Four plans.

Below is a brief list of the calls/requests we did not get a week ago:
  • Approve artwork for the National Championship Wheaties cereal box
  • Provide number of people interested in taking a charter bus from Atlanta to Augusta during the off day of the Final Four
  • Jim Rome media request
  • Cold Pizza media request
  • Mike and Mike in the Morning
  • NY Times
  • USA Today
  • Around the Horn
  • Atlanta Journal Constitution
This is all very fun, and very hectic. We have a great staff that is working their tails off right now and should be commended.

But all this makes me wonder, is this what it is like all the time at UNC, Texas, USC, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Florida? Probably.

PS - Of course, from my perspective we are plugging our Band Together campaign that has the Commodore Nation wearing white and headbands to all events. Should we make the Final Four, they could become "cult-like" and be in high demand.

Take care.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Local Media Gone Loco

We at Vanderbilt are smack in the middle of a great amount of success, but you wouldn't know it by watching the local TV media.

But, I do not blame the media. It's not their fault ... at least not entirely. Yes, there could be a little less Pacman Jones stories, and yes we are in the shadow of the Tennessee Vols to a certain extent, but the real problem lies in the era we are in. The internet era. (maybe we are past it, but for my purposes, let's call it that)

Here's the rub, we recently were at the SEC men's basketball tournament, and had a student send-off of our team to the NCAA tournament and one local station was noticeably absent at both. To some this may not be shocking, but the network absent has always been one our better partners.

When pressed, you would not believe the answer ... THE videographer was on vacation and the news department would not lend one of their video guys. Yea, the sports department of a major local TV media station in an NFL town has ONE video guy. Amazing.

This is just the nature of the beast. Those who know me have heard me preach for a while about the inability of mass media to accomplish my goals. (nothing new there, everyone sees that trend) Therefore, the media outlets' ad revenue is plummeting. With no ad sales, no budget. No budget, no video guy.

But this blog is not to whine and complain, but rather to propose a solution to what will be a problem to everyone. I think there are a few things that can be done to stem the tide, and perhaps allow for more coverage.
  1. Provide video footage for media - create a system by which the media could be able to pull video clips from a server as needed. Perhaps they could even request questions to be asked thereby keeping the reporter in the station or another assignment
  2. Enhance your website - your own website should be the leader in ALL content related to your entity. This includes press releases, opinion columns, video, audio, message boards, etc
  3. Develop the infrastructure now so you will not need the media in the future - even as poorly as I perceive the ad value of the media, they still push info to a broader audience than our website can currently reach. However, our website is more targeted to those interested in VU. Therefore while in this transition period, your site should leverage every opportunity and every new technology to push info to those not necessarily interested in you. I wish I could say right now what that is, but I am sure it will be developing soon.

We are in a transitional period relating to local media. Those that embrace it, enhance it, and address it will be the winner in this race.

Take care.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Failing to plan is planning to fail

That is one phrase I can not get out of my head. I am not even sure where I heard it first. But, me and my staff work very hard to be prepared to capitalize on any sliver of success.

March 2007 provides such an opportunity.

While I will not talk about the full plan (I believe in jinxes), we will launch the second phase tonight on our website,

What a good March Madness plan should include:
  1. Buzz -the plan should be something creative, that is easy to spread around a group of fans who are eager to share in some fandom
  2. Media Friendly - a new campaign/plan should be easy to implement and grasp and capture via the print/TV/radio media.
  3. Scalable - a solid plan should have the ability to scale up depending on the level of enthusiasm and success.
  4. Revenue - you really do not have a plan if there is no provision for revenue generation
  5. Interactivity - a good campaign in the Internet era (can we still say that?) should allow for fans to share in their excitement whether it be in photos, videos, or written pieces.

Many of our plans of which we are most proud never see the light of day. Let's hope we get to phase II of the campaign. Stay tuned as I will discuss each phase as they happen and provide some critique of how well we did.

Take care.