Attention, Trojan social networkers: The trending hashtag for game days is #USCselfie. Football fans who try it might just find their grinning mugs splashed across the Coliseum’s pre-game jumbo video board.
Trojan Athletics unveiled the hashtag in late August. Powered by social media tech company Postano, #USCselfie comes with some restrictions. Images are filtered for appropriate content, of course; and for the present, they can’t be uploaded directly from the Coliseum.
“Our focus is on pulling up content before the game,” said Jordan Moore, director of social media for athletics. “Fans can tag themselves at the tailgate or wherever, then they can come inside and see themselves on the board.” Selfies will appear on the video board throughout the pregame.
Stadiums across the country struggle with the problem of limited connectivity, said Moore, explaining why a USCselfie can’t be uploaded inside the Coliseum. “Anytime you get that many people in one place, no one can use their phones to full functionality. They end up just blocking each other.”
Newer stadiums — such as the 49ers’ just-finished Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara — have invested heavily in experimental technology hoping to solve the problem. A major priority for the 10-year, $70 million stadium renovation project, Moore added, is to provide wireless connectivity throughout. “Our guys are touring stadiums around the country and trying to learn,” he said.
When the hoops season begins November 15, #USCselfie will make its debut on the Galen Center video board. Unlike the Coliseum, the Trojans’ home basketball arena is already fully wireless, so fans can beam up their smiles right from their seats.
But fans of USC’s signature #FightOn hashtag needn’t worry: that hashtag will continue to be the rallying tag for Trojans all over the world. Game day tweets and images tagged with it might appear on the video board during the game itself.
Improving the fan experience
Selfies and tweets on the video board is just the beginning. Trojan Athletics is harnessing assorted digital tools to reach out to fans in new ways.
In the past, Moore said, “We’ve had a more one-sided relationship with fans. We’ve interacted and taken questions, but we’ve never promoted fan-generated content. What we’re doing on our website now is going to change our fans’ profile on USC platforms.”
“It’s a major initiative,” he added. “We’ve been challenge by Pat [Haden] to make the Coliseum and the Galen Center experience special.”
Tech consultants at Postano have revamped the USC Trojans website to focus on fresh content, branded as USC Now. “Instead of dated material — old scores, last season’s schedules — fans will see what people are talking about right now, broken down sport by sport,” Moore said.
- On game days, usctrojans.com becomes a hub for fan-generated content. The site supports live chat between Trojans and pushes out real-time updates from inside the stadium.
- Fans watching from home can upload content from their Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or YouTube accounts. Fan-generated content displays in a lively, collage-style frame on the page.
- Another game day Web feature is the “Tunnel Vision” pregame show — a full hour of exclusive Trojan football programming, including head coach interviews. For fans watching from home, it’s a way “to be on the field, see the Marching Band’s pregame routine, see the Song Girls, watch the team come down the tunnel,” Moore said.
- For early-birds inside the Coliseum, the Tunnel Vision pregame show streams on the stadium video board and new flatscreens installed in the beer gardens and outdoor suites. For play-by-play commentary, in-stadium fans can purchase or rent special Live Sports Radio headsets, eliminating the five- to seven-second radio broadcast delay.
“There’s a lot of stuff going on,” Moore said. “As much as we can do for the fan both in the stadium and at home, that’s what we’re trying to do.”