The University of Maryland’s football communications team started using PressBox Live to produce a higher volume of interesting fan engagement content to drive wider coverage and dive deeper into player performance. Read on to learn more about how:
- The University of Maryland’s media relations team found they could do more faster and still get home in time for dinner.
- An unexpected benefit could influence players’ draft rankings and affect every part of the football program.
- PressBox Live presents new possibilities for bringing more fans into their stadium and engaging the next generation of Terrapins fans.
- Sports data content helped focus the attention of fans and media on the unique aspects that make the team special.
When it comes to college football, it’s no secret that all roads lead to draft day. That said, fan appetite for coverage of team records, exciting players, upcoming games, and head-to-head records has never been higher. In fact, college football ranks as the US’ second most popular sport when attendance and viewership are combined, which makes it larger than baseball and basketball.
Maryland football has seen a resurgence over the past few years, as star quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, brother of Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, brought the Terrapins football team back into the spotlight. Despite the school’s success on the field, sports data coverage was not yet all-star.
“I was basically doing it all myself and having interns help me look up stuff using the internet. If I wanted to find a specific fact, I would have myself and a few people I work with literally go school by school, game by game, to find data to verify that fact… We would divide up the work by conference and look for the data to help support our intuition. Looking through each one was probably a half hour each… PressBox Live saves us time and gives us information I never would have thought of.”
– Ben Kessler, Assistant Director of Media Relations, The University of Maryland
The University of Maryland athletic department focuses on building the future of players, students, and the program’s reputation by engaging with football fans and media throughout the NCAA D1 Football season on social media and through media coverage packets. Before, during, and after the game, the press and The University of Maryland’s communications team refer to these packets for data, insights, and milestones to aid in the game’s storytelling. This storytelling ultimately influences draft-day decisions as professional teams look to media outlets for draft rankings to identify their future football stars.
With a small team manning the press and social media for the school, how could The University of Maryland produce richer insights and facts that excite fans about the team’s recent success, aid the media coverage, and help spotlight their emerging star players?
|Ben’s team was able to save hours each week by leveraging the data discovery tools inside of PressBox Live. He and his team found interesting insights, deep player and team data, and engaging data visualisations that helped him make his media coverage packets and player reports faster than before.|
Typically, NCAA college football is played on Saturdays in the US – meaning media coverage begins as early as Tuesday each week. For The University of Maryland’s assistant director of media relations, Ben Kessler, to provide the media documents to the local broadcast covering the game, he would begin preparing for the upcoming match on Sunday, less than 24 hours after the previous week’s game concluded. Ben, a self-proclaimed “big stats guy,” sought to find the most interesting milestones and data points to generate buzz about the upcoming matchup.
PressBox Live supports The University of Maryland in creating media coverage materials by supplying data insights that were previously discovered and written manually by Ben and his team.
Using PressBox Live, The University of Maryland Terrapins football communications team has a more streamlined approach to finding standout insights and data-driven commentary to build into their engagement as game day approaches.
Pre and post-game insights, live support on game days, and an analytics dashboard all help to deepen reporting, save time, and dive deeper into their key players. This depth brings new opportunities to engage and increase their share of fans’ attention.
“I think analytics are huge, and they’re only going to get used more as time goes on and more information becomes available.”
PressBox Live is built from the ground up to provide live sports outlets with the tools they need to keep up with the pace of the game. Data, analysis, insights, and live chat are all located in a single browser window.
“The time PressBox Live saves me is huge. It’s the difference between leaving the office at 8:30 pm and 6:30 pm early in the week. It means getting more work done faster and getting home in time for dinner.”
The University of Maryland took insights and data from PressBox Live and pushed the usage beyond what they initially envisioned. At first, data was used to enrich media coverage, but with creative thinking and the aid of his graphics department, Ben integrated rich data and insights into social media graphics to create branded assets that fans could share – helping them generate conversation and engagement and helping spread the word about Maryland’s success.
PressBox Live supplied Ben and his team with unique insights, which they leveraged in their press packets and on social media.
PressBox Live also brought one more unexpected benefit to The University of Maryland: the ability to direct the narrative around lesser-known players to increase their ranking in the NFL draft.
In a story reminiscent of Billy Beane, the Oakland Athletics, and Moneyball, Ben found that PressBox Live could help enlighten the media on overachieving players who might have otherwise been overlooked.
“PressBox Live gives us good notes, nuggets, stats, and analytics to promote our players and our program. That then helps in recruiting when others see the stats and insights on TV and social media… When you build up the players with these great game notes, it helps them [the teams] get it. It helps the players get drafted higher, helps them make more money… it could affect every part of the football program.”
The University of Maryland used PressBox Live to identify unique insights, such as the example above, which was shared to FS1’s coverage of the Terrapins. By drawing this comparison, it helps highlight and contextualize Tagovailoa’s potential as a future starting NFL quarterback.
What is next for The University of Maryland and PressBox Live? Ben hopes to see PressBox Live utilized by the coaching staff during practice and game day. On the data and insights front, Ben sees richer player and team coverage as a possible way to get fans interested in coming back to the stadium, seeing the team’s success, and building up a future for data-interested Terrapins fans.
Keys to Success
The University of Maryland didn’t just build on its success on the field by expediting game notes; it revealed unique data points that focused the attention of the fans and the media on the unique aspects that make the team special. What were the keys to their success?
Leveraging Unique and Insightful Data
With PressBox Live, The University of Maryland took data efforts a step further by tapping into a collection of automated and curated data facts the team might not have been able to generate on their own.
Driving Player coverage
Thanks to greater player insight and team data, The University of Maryland can steer the conversation they want to be had around their star players. This allows the school to be more proactive in their football coverage and allows them to be the experts on their own team.
Influencing Draft Decisions
When the time comes for the draft, professional teams look to draft rankings published by trusted media sources, as well as their own team scouting. As a result, The University of Maryland has the ability to call attention to lesser-known players who show great potential but could be overlooked by the press.
Want to learn more about how PressBox Live can help your college football coverage?