SBJ/20090817/This Week's News

ACC turns to social media, student bloggers to promote title game

The Atlantic Coast Conference has put the spotlight on student bloggers and their routine use of social media to promote the 2009 Dr Pepper ACC Championship Game in Tampa, an event whose attendance has declined significantly over its first four years in Florida.

The ACC has revamped its Web site for the game, theroadtotampabay.com, to include links to campus correspondents reporting on their respective teams throughout the season through their “Road to Tampa Bay” blogs, Twitter accounts and Flickr photo pages.

Other BCS conferences have jumped on the social network bandwagon as well, registering with Twitter and Facebook to get fans more engaged in conversing about their favorite college teams.

Championship game Web page (left) and
promos for the new RepresentACC.com

For the ACC, integrating social media into online operations provides one stop for information, in addition to pushing ticket sales for the Dec. 5 game at Raymond James Stadium, said Michael Kelly, associate commissioner for football.

A new site, RepresentACC.com, goes live Sept. 1 with advertising and ACC football videos, another asset to market the league, which in 2008 sent an NCAA record 10 of its 12 teams to bowl games.

“I think sometimes [the league’s growth] gets lost,” Kelly said. “We need to pump up the accolades and bring more focus on the championship.”

More than 50,000 tickets were sold for the 2008 Virginia Tech-Boston College title game at Raymond James, but fewer than 30,000 people attended.

In Charlotte, where the ACC Football Championship will be played in 2010 and 2011 at Bank of America Stadium, the local organizing committee plans to launch its new Web site by October.

Officials plan to use Twitter to post pre-sale offers 24 to 48 hours before tickets officially go on sale through traditional outlets, said Steve Swetoha, the group’s executive director.

With eight ACC schools within 250 miles of Charlotte, the goal is to develop a vast community of “friends” on Facebook by tapping into the region’s large alumni base.

Officials signed a two-year deal with Carbonhouse, a Charlotte-based Web design company whose principals include Brandon Lucas, the Charlotte Bobcats’ former director of marketing.

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