Joining us today is Scott Carr, the Deputy Athletics Director of UCF, Scott Carr. In his daily responsibilities, Scott has oversight of all external units, including Brand Advancement, Strategic Communications and Video Services, as well as being heavily involved in revenue generation. And he does it for one of the innovative, creative, organizations in college athletics, University of Central Florida, or better known as just UCF.
Scott’s one of the best guys in the business, and he’s been around college athletics all his life. Prior to working at UCF, Scott served as Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs at Auburn University, overseeing everything from marketing and promotions, ticket sales, box office, event management, community relations, gameday experience and all the partner contracts that come along with that.
Enough about Scott’s background, let’s talk about why you should be excited for today’s episode.
In a time right now where revenue is tight for all sports and live event organizations, we all need new ideas to engage our audience, our followers and our fans. And Scott’s been a key leader in an organization that has done a 180 in the last few years.
On January 1, 2018, Danny White, UCF’s Athletic Director, declared UCF the National Champions after a 13-0 undefeated season, despite not getting a chance to compete for the official national championship. Even before that public declaration of rebellion against the status quo, UCF had created an internal culture of innovation, one that challenged traditions and focused on engaging their young fan base and employees.
Look no further than their stats on social media engagement to show how much their fans love UCF. Despite not being one of the 65 Power 5 schools, UCF ranks in top 20-25 schools for virtually every engagement and interaction stat possible.
From a football attendance perspective, UCF ranked 13th last year in terms of percent capacity at 99.05%. And the year before, their attendance was even higher.
When you’re not a traditional superpower in your market, these kinds of numbers are hard to do. One of the best ways to achieve this is by taking risks, encouraging a “move fast and break things” mentality, and ultimately creating a culture of innovation.
Earlier this year, we had Duncan Wardle on our show, the former head of innovation and creativity at Walt Disney World. And we talked about concepts to kickstart innovation and creativity into your team. But sustaining a culture of innovation and creativity takes additional work, which is what we’re going to get into with Scott.
All the headlines usually go to massive capital investments in experiences like tailgating in a lazy river, or putting a beach in the stadium. But those headlines are the result of a 100 little things that have been done to foster a culture of creativity and innovation. Things like changing department names and role titles, the experience and demographics of your staff members, the metrics people are held accountable too, and more.
If you’re a smaller player in your market trying to make waves and topple the big guys, this episode is for you. And honestly, if you are the big guy thinking you can’t get any better cuz you’re already at the top? You’re gonna get toppled by the organizations that think like Scott and UCF. So you should listen in too because if you’re not innovating, you’re dying.