CSVS Advisory Committee Q&A: Drew Martin, Associate AD for Branding & Creative Development, Texas A&M University

In anticipation of the inaugural College Sports Video Summit (CSVS), to be held June 9-10 in Atlanta, the Sports Video Group has assembled a seasoned advisory committee that includes some of the game-changers in the business and technology behind college-sports broadcasting. Each week leading up to the event, College Sports Video Insider will feature an interview with a different member of the College Sports Video Summit Advisory Committee. This week, Drew Martin, Texas A&M assistant AD for Branding & Creative Development, talks about the importance of deciding why you want a video department before diving into building it.

What’s the biggest challenge your program faces to increasing its video-production quantity and quality?

In my opinion, we actually have one of the largest and most comprehensive internal video staffs in the country for a college athletics program. We have nine full-time employees and about 40 student workers that work on video, and that’s just production video; that does not include coach’s film or breakdown.

That being said, people always want more and more and more. The challenges that we face are like anybody else’s: time and manpower. If we had more hours in the day, we could get more done, but, all in all, I think that the quantity and quality that we put out is right up there with anybody else in the nation.

How important should video be to a college athletic department?

For us, video is paramount. When we talk about the overall game-day experience, returning value to our fans, who have invested dollars in season tickets, and to our donors, who have invested in capital projects, we’re talking about adding entertainment value for them when they come to games.

That is in addition to recruiting. There is no question that, when these young student-athletes come on campus to have their official visits and they attend a sporting event, the better show we put on, the better impression we feel like we leave.

Nothing tells our story and our message like video can. We cross-promote all of our sports, we make sure we maintain consistent messages and branding, and they get out to the public. For us, the video presence at a sporting event is paramount.

Are there easy ways for video departments to become more cost-effective?

I deal with more of the streaming video, live and archived events, and it doesn’t take a six-person crew to show a swim meet or a soccer match. It suffices to have a couple of cameras with some students that are very capable of running those things. We tend to be most cost-effective in those areas.

Why is an event like the College Sports Video Summit important?

For me, it’s important from a networking standpoint and to hear what other programs are doing, what new equipment is out there to streamline and make it a more efficient process. I’m interested in the sharing and gathering of ideas and building personal relationships to help share those resources in the future.

You are on the panel Welcome to the Virtual Arena: Maximize the Value of Your Content Worldwide and Year-Round. What is most important to be discussed?

The one thing that I want folks to take away from the discussion is that it’s very important to really sit down and think about why it is that you’re doing the things that you’re doing, and what the goal is.

The goal of our video streaming was really to broaden our reach. We are one of the unique schools in the country that does not charge for our live streamed events. The return on the investment there is really goodwill. It’s the ability for our coaches to talk to parents and be able to say yes, you might live in California but you’ll be able to watch your daughter play volleyball at Texas A&M halfway across the country for free, at no charge, where, at other schools, you pay your fee per month or per year.

That was our mentality, but it’s good to sit down and discuss what is this to you. Is it a revenue-generation model? If it is, then absolutely you need to charge. For us, it was more about branding, extending your reach, providing access to the individual programs, so we went in a different direction. But I think it’s really important to have a very clear idea of why it is you’re doing what you’re doing before you just dive into it.

Registration for the College Sports Video Summit is now open. Register today by clicking here.