The Business of College Sports

Pitt Athletics’ social media accounts reach far beyond the scope of the university. For example, the @pitt_athletics Instagram account has over forty thousand followers, which is far more than the student population at Pitt. For many, athletics are an important part of the college experience, and prospective applicants will oftentimes look for a strong sports program in a potential school. A university’s athletics social media accounts would appeal to prospective students in their research. Technically, a university is a business, whether it is classified as non-profit or not. Using athletics social media to interact with a high school-aged demographic presents an opportunity for Pitt and other universities to raise their national profile and increase applicants.

Forms of media are changing, especially the television industry as people move away from cable and towards streaming. Recently, streaming companies have begun to acquire TV rights to different sports leagues. Apple TV+ streams American major league soccer and Amazon Prime Video has the rights to Thursday night football. This trend has not been extended to college sports yet, but a service could buy the rights to all ACC games. Though Pitt would be paid for a deal like this, it would likely decrease viewership, as many people are only subscribed to a few streaming services.

As a prospective marketing major, I could add value to the social media department. I could gain experience researching the demographics that interact with Pitt Athletics the most and curate content to engage with them. It would also be valuable to see the different ways social media managers create content for different online platforms.

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