Olympic Fever: Schools Showcase Their Summer Olympians

Justin Suter by on Aug 30, 2016

olympic ringsThe 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro concluded on Sunday, August 21, capping a historic games for Team USA who captured a record-high 121 total medals. The passionate excitement for the Olympic games is a fantastic opportunity for colleges to stimulate alumni interest in their school. Among the thousands of athletes who competed in the Rio Olympics were 1,018 incoming, current and former NCAA student-athletes representing 107 countries and 223 NCAA member institutions. These talented young men and women represented not only their country but also their schools, many of whom spotlighted their student athletes’ success.

team usa by the numbers

The University of Southern California led the way among NCAA schools with 42 incoming, current and former students competing in the Rio games. To highlight this accomplishment, USC promoted its athletes’ achievements through news articles on the Trojan Athletics homepage. The University of California, which came in a close second with 40 athletes, similarly highlighted its athletes’ accomplishments through news articles on the Cal Athletics homepage.

While coming in at third with 39 athletes at the summer games, Stanford University took the gold in its Rio coverage, releasing a dedicated Wrapping up Rio section that it promoted on its Go Stanford Athletics homepage in the days following the closing ceremony. Across the section’s five pages (Recap/Medal Count, Olympians, Social Scene, Schedule/Results and Medal History), the school showcases every Stanford athlete in Rio, their event and its results, a live feed of relevant social media posts and a history of Stanford athletes’ participation in the Summer Olympic games. Stanford’s dedicated section provides a complete picture of the university’s presence in Rio as visitors can access biographies of the Olympians, track their progress and tap into the school’s history of Olympic success.

Colleges, though, did not have send a delegation of athletes to Brazil to take part in the Olympic fervor. Building on excitement for the Rio Games, the University of San Diego launched an Olympic-Sized Giveaway contest along with a 30-second commercial spot that aired during Olympic coverage in eight U.S. markets: San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Chicago. The contest was promoted on a dedicated responsive microsite, accessible from a promotional image on the public alumni homepage. With its bright color scheme and animated faux Olympic medals that descend from the top of the page, the visually appealing microsite provides an overview of the contest sweepstakes and a sneak peek of the university’s Leading Change campaign commercial. Participants who completed the online form before August 22 were entered for a chance to win a Homecoming and Family Weekend prize package that includes airfare, hotel accommodations, a tour of the Olympic Training Center and entry into the Homecoming and Family Weekend in October for four attendees.

usd olympic sized giveawayUSD Olympic-Sized Giveaway Microsite Homepage (Truncated)

alumni homepage promotional imageAlumni Homepage Promotional Image

Though the microsite does not discuss the Summer Olympics in depth, it does include multiple overt visual references to them, most notably the large gold silver and bronze medals that dominate the page. Further, the Olympic spot commercial features numerous USD student-athletes competing in sports such as basketball, swimming rowing, tennis and volleyball that are all Olympic events. The university does a commendable job of creatively tapping into the general excitement of Olympic competition and transforming it into enthusiasm for the school and its mission. USC, California, Stanford and USD are all stellar examples of schools that paired school spirit with students’ and alumni’s Olympic success to generate increased interest in and coverage of their school.

For more information on Alumni Monitor and our research on alumni outreach and engagement, please contact Dana Peterson at dpeterson@corporateinsight.com or visit us at alumnimonitor.corporateinsight.com.

About The Author

Justin Suter

Justin is an Analyst for Property & Casualty Insurance Monitor at Corporate Insight. Read more