Now that 2012 is our rear view mirror and we have exhaled a bit, what does the new year hold for the University of Cincinnati athletic department and more important, the cash cow aka the football team. Coach Tommy Tuberville is in place and now so is his staff; but what's not in place is a conference worthy of UC. No i'm not sounding arrogant as if UC deserves to be in a mega conference by default, but at least we know that they don't deserve to be in a souped up Conference USA. As Boise State retreats back to its original conference and the other Big East schools enjoy their swan song, UC is still on the outside looking in for now.
I agree with my good friend and colleague Dan Hoard that the dust hasn't settled but what I haven't seen, maybe because its confidential, is the full court press of some of UC's finest alums in the marketing world on board. I think for UC to land wherever they think they want to go, they have got to become attractive to other conferences in more ways than one. We are the home of P&G, the biggest advertising juggernaut in the world. Packaging firms like LPK and ad agencies like Northlich reside here and have a global respect and identity for raising the profile of some of the most powerful brands on the planet, so why not market UC athletics? Why not treat them as the brand and the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 as stores where you want product placement? Any good salesman will tell you that you have to have a product worth selling, and UC is. They will also tell you that product needs marketing and promotions and that's where the cream of the crop corporations mentioned above come in. Repackage UC, rebrand the athletic department, resurrect the successful and historic past and roll it out en masse.
I am convinced the brilliant marketing minds in this city and the UC marketing wunderkinds around the world and those who cut their teeth at DAAP can put a one of a kind athletic makeover together to make UC the most attractive team outside a major conference with an automatic BCS bid. It's the way of the world today that marketing matters even in conference courting. And I'm not naive either, money does too. The goal is to assemble the best TV markets to get the best TV packages, to get the most money possible. (Side note) But kids stay in college to get an education and don't chase money is still preached, counter to the actions of college presidents and universities in this day and time. Sadly UC has to dive in this money pit if they want the perks that come with the being one of the big boys.
UC has part of it in place with President Santa Ono in that he wants to be here; and he has a social media presence that can rally people worldwide. You may take issue with it but I don't. Kids that are looking to connect with a university knowing they can connect with the President is a plus. I just saw a retweet he gave an incoming student on twitter. How many people saw, retweeted or talked about that? I don't know but its priceless. So lets get in gear with the rebranding of our athletic department and understand many of P&G's products were reinvented that were already profitable but they did it so they could remain that way going into the future. Ahh the future...I see a new U C on the horizon but only if we market ourselves as the best university a BCS conference doesn't have. As they said about the 6 million dollar man: "We have the tools to rebuild..."
That's the way I see it, sitting in The Box Seat.