Behind-the-Scenes of Sports Communication – Miami Athletics Launches @USocialSuite
By: Natalie Mikolich
As a former student-athlete at the University of Miami playing on their Lady Canes Varsity Tennis Team, and graduating from their Communications program in 2006, I am excited to be one of the first to share more information on the launch of Miami Athletics’ @USocialSuite project. At the upcoming ACC game against Georgia Tech on October 5, I will have a first-hand opportunity to experience the Suite and all it has to offer.
After speaking with Chris Yandle, Hurricanes’ Assistant AD/Communications, I learned that Miami is the first college athletics program to launch a project like @USocialSuite that will include opportunities for fans to share their GameDay experiences in a brand new way this school year.
So, what exactly is the @USocialSuite?
For nine of this season’s football home games, @USocialSuite is giving a select group of Hurricane fans the opportunity to experience GameDay in a whole new way at Sun Life Stadium from inside the press box. With each person receiving a media credential and special access to the press box, the @USocialSuite participants can share their in-game fan experiences from a different, behind-the-scenes perspective than those fans sitting in the stands.
Created by Chris Yandle, @USocialSuite has been his personal project since he arrived at Miami in July of 2012. Inspired by the Cleveland Indians Social Media Suite, Chris said he didn’t want to rush the project and wanted it to be done right. It wasn’t until he discovered that the Cal Bears did a similar project under the radar in 2011 and 2012 that he reached out to its digital marketing team who developed it and had them help him fill in some holes for Miami’s plan.
“We are the first college athletics program to do a project like this one of this magnitude,” said Chris Yandle, Assistant AD/Communications, at the University of Miami. “My reason for creating this experience is a simple one – Miami Hurricanes fans are passionate both in the stadium and online. They represent our brand ambassadors and we want to harness that energy and create more brand ambassadors that can extend their reach much further than we can.”
With the University of Miami having one of the most engaged social media fan bases in the nation that are highly active online, and with the launch of @USocialSuite, participants can now share their in-game fan experiences from a different perspective through their social medium of choice – whether it is Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Vine, or Tumblr.
“What makes @USocialSuite different from, say, tweeting and sharing your experiences from your own seat in the stands? Our social media influencers don’t get to experience the game from the press box or witness what goes on behind the scenes,” added Chris. “Instead of keeping our social media influencers at bay, why not embrace them and give them a chance to experience the game in a different way? These users are our brand ambassadors that will be fighting for The ‘U’ on the front lines. They can expand and share our brand farther than we can on our own.”
And now on to the fun part, my experience at the @USocialSuite on October 5! Following the big ACC game between Miami and Georgia Tech, I will share my experience from the press box at Sun Life Stadium with the Miami Hurricane fans, Miami Athletics’ Communications directors and press in attendance on GameDay.
Of course, if you want to see me experience it in real time on GameDay, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @npmikolich or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/npmpr. Go Canes!!!
“It’s great to be a Miami Hurricane!” #ItsAllAboutTheU