Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Back in 2002, Notre Dame football boldly had t-shirts printed with the slogan “RETURN TO GLORY” blazoned across the front. At the time, they had just hired Tyrone Willingham and were bullish on the prospects that he would bring ND football back to greatness.
The football program had not experienced a national championship since their undefeated season in 1988 and had high hopes for the new coach. After a successful first season at 10-3, his subsequent seasons were sub-.500 (5-7) and .500 (6-6), respectively. Admire the zeal, but maybe a bit too soon on the shirts?
Well, the 11-time national champions have run the table thus far in 2012 with their undefeated record of 12-0 under third-year coach Brian Kelly. They are poised for a showdown with the defending national champions, the Alabama Crimson Tide, on January 7 in Miami.
Notre Dame has arguably the strongest brand in college football with an estimated value of $112 million according to Forbes, as cited by AdAge. While the athletics program is poised to command record-setting rights fees in TV and apparel deals that are up for renewal in the coming years, what could they be doing on social media networks to augment their brand?
The official Notre Dame Football handle, @NDFootball, has just 36,052 followers on Twitter. Meanwhile, their foe in this year’s national title game, Alabama (AlabamaFTBL), has 60,819 followers. Believe it or not, Notre Dame Football was without an official football Twitter account until August 1, 2012. In four short months, they’ve amassed the following social media stats:
- Increased number of likes on ND Football Facebook page by 36% to 322,732
- Accumulated more than 5.8 million views on the Notre Dame Athletics YouTube channel
- #goIrish hashtag has appeared on Twitter 129,800 times since September 1
- Promotion of Heisman runner-up linebacker Manti Te’o with hashtag #HeIsManti
- As of November 28, #HeIsManti had appeared in 11,201 tweets
According to ND Athletics social media director Christianne Harder, “We were behind. Now we’re making up ground with the quality of our videos, our social media push, our blogger – those three things and, of course, the winning. That combination of things is a perfect storm for success.”
While Notre Dame has certainly returned to glory on the field this season, they are making a serious run for glory in the social media space as well. A win on January 7 certainly wouldn’t hurt. #ReturnToGlory