LSU Athletics brand reaching new levels of growth, popularity
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - There may not be a brand that’s bigger right now than LSU Athletics. The Tigers have long been well known around the country and have been spotlighted quite a bit recently with all the success on the playing fields. These championships have not only added new trophies to display cases and banners in the rafters but also more engagements and monetary value on social media.
This diagram shows various trends for the social media pages of all the various LSU Athletic teams. Two numbers that stick out are engagements and equivalent media value. The engagements have grown 76.8% in the past year. Meanwhile, the value has increased 29%.
“Winning makes branding easy. We have a lot of great teams to cover with our 21 teams, I think 20 of them made the postseason last year,” said Cody Worsham, the chief brand officer and an associate athletic director at LSU.
What also helped is that the Tigers were in the conversation year-round. LSU Football beat Alabama to win the SEC West division title while women’s basketball and baseball both won national championships.
“The brand itself is so impactful and powerful and the platform it provides for people is one of the best in the country if not the best and it’s all about how you utilize that,” said JR Belton, LSU football’s director of recruiting.
Belton and other LSU staffers have adapted to the ever-changing landscape of college sports and used progressive movements like name, image, and likeness to boost on-field success and off-field popularity.
“Student athletes now in the NIL era care about the brand of the institution they’re going to because they know it’s going to have a positive impact on them,” Worsham said.
While NIL may be new to college sports, LSU has always embraced its athletes’ swagger and notoriety.
“He was Shaquille O’Neal when he arrived, he was Shaq when he left…Since then there’s been this culture of student athletes that have come through here that have wanted to brand themselves and we don’t shy away from that, discourage that, we encourage that,” Worsham said.
LSU currently has two of the top ten NIL earners with Livvy Dunne at #3 and Angel Reese at #9, according to On3.com. Athletes aren’t the only people who take advantage of this symbiotic relationship between ambassadors and the brand itself.
“To a T, every single coach that we’ve hired in that first conversation has brought up the LSU athletics brand and said how one of the appeals of coming to work here was the LSU athletics brand,” Worsham said.
The LSU brand is one that’s been established for a long time and is respected nationwide. The current staffers aim to maintain its reputation while furthering it with innovation.
“I see myself as a pilot, so great pilots you don’t really see them. They kind of stay in the cockpit the whole time. I didn’t build the plane, somebody else built the plane for me. My job is to fly it and not crash it. So that’s how I see my role, I’ve been given a really great brand to not only maintain but try to advance and enhance,” Worsham said.
One of those enhancements has been the addition of creative work and new platforms like LSU Gold. It’s the athletic department’s multimedia hub for digital content for the many LSU teams. You’ll find behind-the-scenes videos in the documentaries that showcase the Tigers teams.
Last year, LSU Gold debuted “The Path” which gives fans an inside look at the Bayou Bengals. Season 1 is available from the 2022 campaign, and season 2 begins on Sept 6.
You can subscribe to LSU Gold by visiting their website and joining for $8.99 per month or $99 annually. The platform is being offered to LSU students for free this year.
Episodes will also be aired on ESPNU every Wednesday night.
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