As we move past Thanksgiving and on to the higher stakes of football in the United States, a number of pieces came to light that show the value, or lack of value, that football can bring to a brand. On the positive side, Jere Longman's New York Times piece on Friday is a shining example of the role that high school and college football can play in a community…the value of grassroots team sports to connect a community, especially in times of crisis, and especially in small town America where the local athlete is still important, really comes through in another well done piece by one of the Times’ best writers.?On the other side, you have the What Valu. question the cost of smalltime collegiate football can bring to an institution, especially in tough economic times. That arose this week as Iona College dropped its program with nary a blip in the media, citing tough scheduling and lack of financial support from the community as the reasons.The program, buried in the media mix in New York, (where college football outside of Rutgers’ recent success has not registered in the casual fan meter in almost 40 years), failed to bring in th.”extras” in interest (media, extra applications, ancillary sponsorship dollars) tha.programs on that level are expected to, even at a time when many small colleges are lookin.at football as a way to increase male applications from high schools.?Whether Iona handled the announcement correctly…putting out one press release on a slow news week as opposed to stating more about what they are doing for the student-athletes already in the program…is not a major issue since the story appears to have come and gone in one news cycle. What is interesting is the failing of a collegiate sports brand to achieve what was set out, and whether the support of such efforts in tough times is worth it by an institution.Boise State is dealing with. The Broncos, with another outstanding season and growing national attention, have to choose between the larger Poinsettia Bowl in California, which boosts the schools visibility and helps grow the program, or playing in the hometown Humanitarian Bowl, which if they don’t pla.may lose it's loca.sponsor, since that sponsor is all tied to the local Boise State benefit.?The examples of Iona and Boise State show that trying to even get maximum brand exposure, in the small or the large market, still puts universities in a difficult spot in tough economic times. Now would one rather have the issues Boise has, as opposed to Ion.? Absolutely. Still, as Boise goes through up and down years in the collegiate football world. the value of having th.local brand support could outweigh the one time shot at national attention. The issues may be larger scale, but the challenges are still the same. How to get maximum value at home for fans, alumni and media (as all three pieces point out) while balancing the true value of why the sport is being played…added dollar value for all aspects of the institution whil.uniting a community, whether that is the local high school, the smalltown college, the emerging program, or the school in the urban setting. Tough to achieve all, but the challenge remains.
Some other good reads…Media Post has a worthwhile read on how Facebook and MySpace are still struggling to justify value for top decision makers in the brand activation space….while i.OnLine Media Daily there is a good piece on how brands are continuing to grow using the video game portal to reach young people…the LA Times also has a good q and a with Craig's List founder Craig Newmark on the space his idea has dominated, and what's ahead….