Erin Bean and Courtney Scrivano
Season 5 - Episode 533
The 2022-23 Baylor sports season is underway, and as fans return to campus for their favorite fall sports and traditions, they can impact the game visually as well as vocally. Erin Bean serves as Assistant Athletic Director for Strategic Marketing and Fan Engagement and Courtney Scrivano serves as Director of Licensing in Baylor Athletics. In this Baylor Connections, they take listeners inside the Go Gold campaign and share new ways fans can support the program and go gold for the Bears at upcoming games.
Derek Smith:Hello, and welcome to Baylor Connections, a conversation series with the people shaping our future. Each week, we go in depth with Baylor leaders, professors, and more, discussing important topics in higher education, research, and student life. I'm Derek Smith and today we are talking Baylor athletics with Erin Bean and Courtney Scrivano. Baylor's Fall sports schedule is underway with football season beginning September 3rd at McLean Stadium as The Bear's host Albany. This year begins a sustained Go Gold initiative across Baylor athletics with fans encouraged to wear gold at select events in each sport. Our guests today are Erin Bean, assistant athletic director for strategic marketing and fan engagement and Courtney Scrivano, director of licensing. It's a busy time for you both. I really appreciate you coming on. Thanks so much for joining us today.
Erin Bean:Thanks for having us.
Courtney Scrivano:Yes, thanks.
Derek Smith:Well I said it's a busy time. We know there's a lot going on. Soccer has started. Volleyball's had exhibitions and football's on the way. I want to ask you both, the start of a new athletic season. What does it bring in your worlds and what do you enjoy most? Erin, I'll start with you.
Erin Bean:I think what I enjoy the most is the chaos. It sounds very stressful but it's actually very exciting. A new year, all the teams are just back on campus. It's been great to see our student athletes back in the building and the excitement is very contagious. We have a lot of events to prepare for, excuse me, and we're just really excited to have them back.
Derek Smith:And I know you are, I mean, we'll talk about your role in a minute but a lot of sports, a lot of details are coming together. Courtney, what about you?
Courtney Scrivano:Yeah, I mean, I feel like this is what we live for when we work in athletics and when you work for a university, the start of a new year always brings just new energy. Typically, over the summer, you've tried to catch your breath a little bit but you've also done some planning and prioritizing and so now is the time you get to implement your plans and see them come to life. So it's fun. There's always a lot of hope at the beginning of a new school year which is a great thing to clinging to.
Derek Smith:And we're coming off a lot of excitement in the past year to build on that we'll talk about on the program. But I mentioned your titles at the start of the show and I want to get you to dive in a little bit more to what that entails. Courtney, director of licensing, how would you describe that role?
Courtney Scrivano:Yeah, I mean, it's a newer role. It's something that's just been passed around to different people and been a part of multiple job responsibilities, which is actually how I fell into it. It was at one point just one thing under my umbrella. And then we really wanted to make some strategic and intentional focus on licensing. So it's trademark licensing. It's the way that we use our Baylor owned marks and properties across the institution. So I work very closely with campus marketing on how that lives and breaths for our schools and colleges and departments and student groups, and then work very closely with athletics and how it works for our teams and then with all of our licensees and retailers for getting product out there that represents Baylor. So it's really fun.
Derek Smith:So if we're at a store and we see Baylor branded items, whether it's at the Baylor book store or elsewhere, does that cross within your purview?
Courtney Scrivano:Yep. Anything with Baylor marks that's out in the world for the most part.
Derek Smith:Somewhere in there. That's great. Well, Erin, your role, assistant athletic director for strategic marketing and fan engagement. What all does that entail?
Erin Bean:I think our priority is to tell the stories of our student athletes and as Courtney touched upon the brand, we really want to make our brand into an international brand, athletics specifically, and make that we are brand recognized. But then we also oversee the fan experience. So from the moment the fans get out of their cars, into the venue, during the competition and then back to their cars. We want to make sure it's a great experience. We try to relay as much communication as possible out, but then also make it fun and exciting with our social media channels, as well as our graphics.
Derek Smith:Visiting with Courtney Scrivano and Erin Bean and as we talk about this upcoming season, let's start off broadly here and then hone in on the specifics. Really the broad question, what's new this year in 2022, '23? What are some things that fans can expect to see that's different?
Erin Bean:I wouldn't say different, I would say enhanced. We are really trying to get back to our roots. Courtney was here in 2019 when really Baylor was at its peak and in the fan experience and a lot of exciting things were happening and then of course COVID hit and we had to really walk back a few things. And even at the start of last football season, we were limited in what we could do because we didn't know what the year was going to bring and what regulations were going to be placed upon us. So we really tried to just focus on the foundation and be really good at the small things and now we're really trying to make it exciting again. We want our fans to look on the field at timeouts and be entertained. So we have a couple things coming down the pike there. We also want fans to come into our venues and want to be on their feet and we want them to be loud and exciting. So how can we facilitate that? Is it from the music? We really focused on the five senses. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you say? And so that's really our focus for this year. Cub Club is back. Exciting to engage with the families and we're adding a few new events specifically for Cub Club and I think that'll be really great for families as well.
Derek Smith:Well, that paints a picture of what's upcoming and I know there's some things even further down the line as we talk about Go Gold. And obviously people can't see, this is radio, but you both are wearing your Go Gold shirts today. So very much on brand and I saw that a few weeks ago on Baylorbears.com building on what we saw last winter a little bit. So let's talk about that. What is Go Gold? What are the roots of that?
Erin Bean:So the Go Gold campaign is obviously is capitalizing on the success of the Sugar Bowl, but it's really we want to have a powerful punch. Anytime the fans from opposing teams come in and see us, our opposing teams, look up into the stands and it's this wall of gold. I grew up in the white outs up North are pretty powerful and so we want to bring that to Baylor and there's nothing better than the gold. I know Courtney can speak to the history of it but it was pretty powerful in New Orleans to see the fans go crazy. And then as we continue to watch the highlights over and over again because we never want to forget that excitement, to see the gold wall in the background and to see our band and our students and our fans all united. It was so powerful and I think it can make such a difference. So if we can really be intentional about when we're going to do it, I think it will really add to that home field advantage.
Courtney Scrivano:And I think to arrive at this campaign and this movement of Go Gold, there's really a three part history to it and it starts in the early 2000s with the gold rush that probably a lot of Baylor fans remember. I grew up in Waco, I grew up going to Baylor sporting events, and so I remember the gold rush T-shirts and that was just a grassroots effort led by some of our fans. Nell Hawkins was really involved in it and at the time fans took to it. It was just a fun way to participate and like most things, trends, things ebb and flow. And then what happened was we had a season of many different golds. All of our sports teams were wearing a different version of it and even fans were wearing different versions of it and it became a little bit diluted. So in 2019, when we did the brand refresh and really settled in on, okay, this is our Baylor gold, this is our university gold, the Mara gold that you see today, that was an opportunity to identify what that color is and really unify the fans around the core green and gold of Baylor. And so, then I think we had this moment in the big 12 championship game where, for those who are active on Twitter, they may remember seeing a photo tweeted out after that game where it looked like the Baylor fan base wasn't as represented in the stadium as they were because the orange from OSU popped so much more in the photo. When you have Baylor fans in green, gold, gray, white, all these different colors, it's harder to identify on national television in these photos that live after these really iconic games. And so that was a really, I think, important moment for us who manage these kinds of campaigns but also for fans themselves to see, "Oh, this color can represent us in a different way. It can bring an energy, it can bring a visibility that we don't always have." So yeah, so those are the three things that led to it and then obviously Sugar Bowl was a great opportunity to get that message out and then we just want to keep building on it.
Derek Smith:Visiting with Courtney Scrivano and Erin Bean here on Baylor Connections. I remember, you talk about when with the rebrand in 2019 where we had Jason Cook and [inaudible] Over shown on around then and they said at one point there were, I think Mac Rhodes said there's something like 18 different shades of green that they counted. I forget the exact number but it had gotten a a little bit out of hand and now we're unifying around these colors. In your world, you touched on this a little bit at the end, but obviously it's cool to see everyone wearing the same color. We have a lot of schools around us that have a very identifiable color when they play. What's the meaning of that beyond just a good look or even the social media aspects, like you said, where it didn't look like as many Baylor fans were there as there were at AT&T stadium.
Courtney Scrivano:I mean, I think it's an interesting thing for us because we're always going to be green and gold. We're never going to take one color and say, "Baylor's just green," or "Baylor's just gold." And that is unique because some schools really do have that one main core color, but we're the balance of the two. As with Baylor, there are many things in balance that we are representing to the world and so our colors are just another way that we do that. But as Erin mentioned, I think with the gold, there is a visibility to it and there's an energy to it. And so with Go Gold, what Erin's team has done is selected key games and key moments that we want to have that out there as, okay, let's all as fans and supporters of Baylor, let's wear this gold color together. Let's be visible for our team. Let's be visible on television. But by no means, are we saying to minimize all the other ways that we love to rep our brand. So those things still live and breathe on a daily basis.
Derek Smith:Well we'll mention here just a minute what the Go Gold games, excuse me, are this fall. I'm curious what's the fan response been since you've announced this?
Erin Bean:I think it's been positive. I think the fans actually recognize the visibility of it. I also think they're excited because we announced it in the summer so we've provided some time to find that gold gear. And I think, credit to Courtney and her work with our licensing team and all of our partners, is we've encouraged them to start purchasing it now and we've even seen the first wave of gear from the bookstore essentially sell out and have to order, well, they've already prepared to order more, but they're continuing to order more. And so instead of it feeling like this one off thing where our partners have to quickly provide supply, we can say, "No, plan for it." And we're going to be selling it and purposefully asking fans to wear it throughout the year so it doesn't feel like if we buy gold and they don't wear it at that moment, then it's never going to sell. Now we want it to sell often so very much excited about that.
Derek Smith:So in the licensing area is there're more gold clothing coming on the way? More options?
Courtney Scrivano:Yes. So we started the conversation literally right after the big 12 championship game. We started talking with some of our national licensees with the Baylor bookstore, just to let them know this is an area we want to focus and we know that fans are going to need more gold. And so, starting in early 2022, we've been letting them know this is coming so that they can prepare. Now that said, there are still significant challenges with supply chain. It's something that just still continues to impact so many different areas but apparel and product is very much affected by it. So there are limitations but all of our licensees have been super responsive to the campaign and excited to go out and try and source more gold, even with the challenges, and then the bookstore has been an absolutely incredible partner for us so they've also had this on their radar. They, first things first, talked to Nike about getting a Nike polo. Nike doesn't carry a lot of the gold Polos and I believe they already sold out of their first round of those, but other national licensees and even local licensees Hole In The Roof and W Promotions have worked really hard to source gold for us as well. So there's been a lot of people at work for many months to try and make sure there's as many options for fans as we can have.
Derek Smith:That's great, so a lot of options. Maybe Baylor bookstore, 1A for fans wanting to go check out some of the new gold gear. Visiting on Baylor Connections with Erin Bean, assistant athletic director for strategic marketing and fan engagement and Courtney Scrivano, director of licensing. And we've seen the schedule of Fall games, across the Fall sports, for the Go Gold initiative. September 21st for volleyball, the 23rd for soccer. Then October 1st against Oklahoma state, a game that could have some big 12 title implications, hopefully, as time goes on. That's October 1st and then equestrian on October 21st. So obviously this goes beyond football, but what does this mean to some of our other Fall sports?
Erin Bean:I think it's just brand recognition and I think our fans are going to be excited to wear gold and they're going to want to rep it as much as possible. So if that means they get to go to a bunch of different games and wear gold and supply that energy, like Courtney said, the gold is a very energetic color. And so if they can be a part of that, it kind of just creates that community and we're hopefully then building the fan bases throughout all of our sports. I think as we touched upon, finding those times for our fans to know to expect when to wear gold has been important. And so this year by acknowledging we're going to do the first home conference game for all of our teams, know to expect it, know that's when it's going to be, and then as we continue to build upon the campaign in the future, adding those marque games. If it is... We've already done a gold out but we're having a TV game, a big TV game or even college game day, as they like to come many times. Maybe we add in the gold and so fans have it already in their closet. We're able to execute on short notice and really pack that visual punch.
Derek Smith:So we've got the Go Gold games, the first conference home game for each of our Fall sports. Are there going to be other surprises? Obviously that's one thing that's been announced. What are some things? Are there going to be some fun events or game related activities that fans can anticipate?
Erin Bean:I think the number one thing that has been communicated to me is a gold pompom or a shaker, as many people call them here. I know it as pompom. I think that's the number one thing that fans want to see and I can't tell you how you're going to get them but I promise you're going to get them. We're also, with the false sports, we will be giving away the official Go Gold T-shirt at those sports outside of football in hopes that if you weren't able to purchase a shirt or you want a cheaper option come to these games, and I promise you, we won't be giving them to everybody but we will be giving out gear. Rally towels are also a big one. So we've really heard what our fans want and we're trying to find opportunities at these other events to really get gold items in the fans' hands so that by the time football comes and basketball comes, everybody has something and there's no excuses on why you don't have any gold.
Derek Smith:Plenty of gold options available, that's good. I want to ask you, you mentioned options for the fans and meeting what they need or helping, give them what they need to execute some of this. I want to ask you, let's zoom out a little bit again and talk about the department fan and engagement. Broadly when we talk about fan engagement, you touched on this, the five senses and what goes on, but what does that term mean to you and your colleagues?
Erin Bean:For us it means how are we connecting? Connection is a big part of it and how are we making sure that the fans understand that we are here to serve them? We are a customer service department from Baylor athletics as a whole and so we do listen. We do try to adjust throughout the season as recommendations are made. I actually learned this from Courtney is the best place to learn about our fans is to sit in the stands with the fans. I think sometimes in our job, we get so caught up in calling the game or producing the game and doing the actual job in the moment but the best thing that we can do is see what the actual experience actually is. And so if we're missing the mark somewhere, how can we adjust? And it may not be a full 180 degree adjustment in the moment, it may have to wait till next season but we can at least try to make those small tweaks. I challenge my team every day, 1% better. If we can get 1% better every day by the end of the football season, it's 100% better. And so I think that's one thing that we really try to approach all feedback with that in mind.
Derek Smith:You use the customer service analogy and in some businesses you get online reviews or there's products that sell or don't. How challenging is it to try to keep that pulse of the fan base?
Erin Bean:It's an opportunity. It's a great opportunity to hear from our fans and understand what they want. I do think our team as a whole is very hard on themselves and so to hear the feedback, to just recognize it as it's an opportunity for us to get better and not to harp on it and just say, "Okay, that's a great piece of feedback. What can we do with it?" And like I mentioned, it may not be an immediate response that we're able to pull off but if we can learn from that and apply it in the future, I think it's a great opportunity.
Derek Smith:Visiting with Erin Bean and Courtney Scrivano and as we head into the final few minutes of the show, I want to ask you both some things to get ready for the season now, because it is basically here. So Courtney, I'll start with you. You mentioned you're from Waco, you've been around Baylor a while. What are some of your favorite traditions, be it football or otherwise, that make you say, "Okay, this is a Baylor game. This is Baylor home Saturday."
Courtney Scrivano:Well, before that, there is usually a point where I'm somewhere around the office and I hear the band practicing in the field across the street and as soon as I hear the band practicing and playing, it's like this little switch of, "It's almost here. It's almost football season. It's almost the Fall." So that's kind of the first little hint of it. And then, I mean, everything about a Baylor home football game is familiar to me and so it's all the little things. The sounds, even some of the music that we play in key moments. But I mean, you just can't beat the running of the line. You just can't. It gets your blood pumping every single time. It's so fun to see the energy of the new freshman and it's just such a cool tradition. So that feels like such a great kickoff to football season.
Derek Smith:Now Erin, so Courtney's from Waco. You mentioned the white out. You're from big 10 country, near Penn State. Coming down here to Waco, what has stood out to you about the Baylor home experience?
Erin Bean:I think it's in the investment in the community. And so everyone knows the traditions, it's not just you have to be a Baylor student to understand the traditions. It's the entire collective family of Baylor and I think that's been the most important part to see. And definitely I have, like I said, I'm from the Northeast and so the Macy's day parade is always very big for me to learn that the parade is the oldest homecoming parade and to be a part of that, it was actually really cool to see. I only got to see the tail end of it, but it was really awesome last year.
Derek Smith:You're probably pretty busy on a home game Saturday but that's good that you got to see that. So if fans want to purchase, let's stock gold items first. I mean, you mentioned the bookstore, a lot of local businesses. Just Baylorbears.com has links as well to find some of this?
Erin Bean:Yes, absolutely. So Baylorbears.com is definitely a great place to go, the bookstore. And as our partners continue to get more gear in, Baylor athletics is committed to sharing that on our social media channels to make sure our fans know they just added the Nike polo or the next Nike polo is in to make sure our fans know when and where to buy it.
Derek Smith:And tickets again, Baylorbears.com, if fans want to get tickets to these events, and you mentioned social media. There's a lot of different... Each team has their own social media outlet. We want everyone to follow all those, but as far as events and some of these things we've been talking about, what's the best way for fans to stay on top of that?
Erin Bean:So we have two apps. We are pretty cool in that sense. We have the Baylor sports app, which is linked directly to our website and so any type of updates, you can pick your favorite teams and you'll get push notifications, beginning of a game, end of a game. There's a game coming up, don't forget about this, that you can automatically sign up for and then that's also where your tickets can be housed. So if you purchase a ticket to the game, it's in there. If you come to the McLean Stadium, concessions, you can order mobilely from there as well as our group experiences. So the Baylor sports app is a really great resource, but then we also have the Baylor bold app, which is more of an in-venue when you're there, you're checking in. But it's also going to be a great way because it also sends reminders of, "Hey, don't forget to check in and there's this event coming up and make sure you're there." So I think those are two great resources in addition to the website.
Derek Smith:That's great. I hope fans will go on iTunes or Google Play and check those out. Well, Courtney and Erin, really appreciate you coming on and like I said, I know it's a really busy time for you both, but thanks for coming on and sharing. Hope to see a lot of people out there this Fall.
Erin Bean:Thanks for having us.
Courtney Scrivano:Thank you.
Derek Smith:Erin Bean, assistant athletic director for strategic marketing and fan engagement and Courtney Scrivano, director of licensing. Our guests today on Baylor Connections. I'm Derek Smith, reminder you can hear this and other programs online, baylor.edu/connections and you can subscribe on iTunes. Thanks for joining us here on Baylor Connections.