SIAC Commissioner Greg Moore uses social media to increase brand and revenues

SIAC Commissioner Greg Moore, presents the championship trophy to Albany St. head coach James "Mike" White
SIAC Commissioner Greg Moore, presents the championship trophy to Albany St. head coach James “Mike” White

Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Commissioner Greg Moore celebrated the 100th year of the conference’s existence with style: with a stadium full of delirious football fans, multiple NFL legends at his flank, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed throwing out the ceremonious coin toss, and, most of all, a titillating, down-to-the wire championship game at the Lakewood Stadium where the Albany State Golden Rams vanquished the Miles Golden Bears 17-14.

But Moore had even more reasons to figuratively raise the wine glass with his HBCU colleagues. In its centennial year of existence, Moore has helped to elevate the Division II NCAA powerhouse conference unprecedented heights in its history in terms of visibility, revenues and brand awareness.

“Our conference is really about our fans. We’ve lead the NCAA in average attendance in 21 of the last 22 years. We have six of the top 10 teams in terms of average attendance. We have the largest social media ecosystem in the country. We have the most Facebook followers in Division II. We have the most Twitter followers and the most YouTube views,” he said.

“So when you think of the SIAC, you’re really thinking about our fans, our brand, our fan following and the emotional connections that our school have with our alumni, the fans and the communities.”

Moore said his team was able to manifest their aspirations of leveraging the intense loyal fan following of their conference teams by harnessing that into a social media powerhouse.

“When I got here, we had been No. 1 in attendance 20 years in a row — about 400,000 fans going to our football games every single year. So I felt that was an asset that was underleveraged. One of the things that we had to do was we had to touch those folks, engage those folks, communicate with our fans and dialogue with them,” he said. “So the low-angle fruit, quite frankly, was to build a social media, digital infrastructure around our existing fan base.  We created a Facebook page, Twitter page, YouTube channel.

That investment has paid handsome dividends. Out of 22 division conferences, The SIAC is No. 1 in terms of Twitter followers on their Twitter page, No. 1 in terms of Facebook likes and No. 1 In terms of YouTube page views.

“We have more views than the 2nd, 3rd and 4th-place conferences combined. Our digital ecosystem … we took the model that is in the NBA, the NFL, the NHL and MLB in terms of integrating all of our school sites. And we took that model and applied it to all of our schools. We are now attracting 130,000 unique visitors a month. To put that in perspective, the ACC attracts about 78,000 unique visitors a month; the SEC about 110,000 a month. We only trail the PAC 12 in terms of unique visitors on our site per month. In terms of the other HBCU conferences, we attract more visitors than the other conferences combined. The fan base is already there, it’s already embedded. It’s really about building an infrastructure around them to better enable us and empower us to engage these fans.”

To further entrench the emotional connection between the fans and the schools, Moore invited back some of the football legends of the SIAC who went on to become all-stars and Hall of Fame inductees in the NFL, including: 5-time Pro Bowler Greg Lloyd of Fort Valley State and former All-Pro player for the Pittsburgh Steelers; Tyrone Poole, a two-time Super Bowl champ with the New England Patriots who is also a Fort Valley alum.

“What I’m trying to do as commissioner is to make sure we bring back some of our legends back into the fold and share their experiences of how they went to playing in this league and then going to the highest levels of professional sports,” Moore said. “And we’ll do the same thing during our basketball tournament for those who played in the NBA — Caldwell Jones, Charles Jones, Clemon Johnson and John Cheney, who just got elected to the Hall of Fame. And we continue to grow, we bring back all of our legends back to share their experiences with all of our athletes.”

Always with an eye towards the future, Moore said the SIAC will continue to invest in the digital platforms and leverage the reach of their corporate partners to take the conference higher on a variety of fronts:

  • “We’ve created a new model at the college level. This is our third year of our football championship; we will continue to grow that.
  • “Our basketball tournament will be in Birmingham (Ala.) and that has the potential to be a major destination event.”
  • “We have to improve the marketing of our events and the marketing of our schools. We are located in cities and towns where (our people) are two times, three times the national poverty rate.”

“And what are we doing in those towns? We are providing educational opportunities and providing jobs. And, of course, the greatest correlation of how much money you make in your lifetime is the amount of education that you have,” said Moore, who also owns a successful sports law and commercial transaction law practice.

“We have to bring our rural communities into the economic gains. How do we do that? We are already there, doing God’s work — creating jobs, providing educational opportunities, creating first-generation college graduates. We have to do everything we can to leverage sports to strengthen the educational institution, which will strengthen those communities.”

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