BYUtv could serve as blueprint for college athletics digital media strategy

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With the line between TV and Internet quickly becoming blurred, the way we consume media will probably look almost entirely different sooner than many think. BYUtv, at least in the world of college athletics, appears to be ahead of the curve in this new movement.

Looking to check out Big 12 favorite Baylor take on BYU on Saturday, I reluctantly agreed to register for BYUtv.org, a brand new endeavor launched by the university in concert with freeing their football program from a conference affiliation.

Basically, the school is looking to develop a more national presence by slowly agreeing to deals with major cable carriers around the country. That's cool and all, but the real ROI for this initiative may lie in the website BYUtv.org.

From a marketing perspective, BYU can close the gap with fans and prospective students. To register for BYUtv.org, you must provide a valid email address to confirm your site registration. At this point, the school can communicate with you, whether it be info on any of their athletic or academic programs. Unfortunately for this situation, I am not Mormon and I am not actively seeking graduate school, but at the very least I will be kept abreast of pertinent news and information regarding their basketball team.

If Matt Carlino goes off in a West Coast Conference game, BYU can ping me. If Brandon Davies delivers a facial to a overwhelmed opponent, BYU can upload the video and ping me. I'm far more inclined to write about things that are gift-wrapped and sent to my inbox.

The interface of the media player streaming live BYU Cougar events is sleek, easy to use, and provides HD quality video that doesn't slow down your computer. Supplementing this video is an in-real-time social stream that allows registered users to comment and discuss what's being watched, and then of course publish those comments and conversations to their personal Facebook and/or Twitter pages. A simple idea that will soon become the norm with all our media intake, but I don't see anyone in college athletics but BYU doing such a thing.

For non religious-affiliated schools competing with conference foes both on and off the court, this sort of methodology could pay serious dividends. Your fan base could grow and your number of high school applicants could increase in volume. Suddenly you're a more relevant institution in parts of the country far away from campus by nurturing along a list of emails that have "opted in" to what your website is offering.

Every school hosts an official website for their athletic teams, but nobody offers the current content and interaction of BYUtv. Many schools should take a note from the Mormon's playbook, there's an excellent opportunity to build brand awareness and engage fringe fans with an original-content rich, interactive website.

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