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How the UCF Knights Engage Fans with Fresh Visual Content

New research shows college sports teams are producing massive amounts of visual content and turning it around to their fans faster than ever. As An...

New research shows college sports teams are producing massive amounts of visual content and turning it around to their fans faster than ever. As Andy Seeley, University of Central Florida (UCF) Associate Athletics Director for Strategic Communications, will tell you, the UCF Knights are no strangers to this trend.

“We’re heavily invested in trying to tell our story. That’s one of the pieces of our mission, vision and values – to tell the UCF story far and wide,” says Andy. “In this day and age, you need good crisp imagery, you need good video. You need good digital media – things that can be as quick and timely, and as efficient as possible.”

Photo courtesy of UCF Athletics.

Andy manages a team of six people who are responsible for sharing the Knights’ stories through the UCF Athletics website.

“We like to keep that fresh,” Andy explains, noting that the homepage should look different every time a fan comes back to visit the site.

“Athletics is often viewed as the front porch to the university, and if we’re the front porch, a lot of times the website is the front step then,” says Andy.

Andy and his team strive to keep the website fresh on game day and on a regular basis.

For certain UCF events, like football games, the team is using a fast workflow to publish new content during the game. Photographers upload pre-game photos to the team’s PhotoShelter visual media library before kick-off. At halftime, they upload selects from the first half so the rest of the team has photos to share during the game and immediately afterward on social media.

“If there’s a great shot at the end of the game, we can oftentimes get that fairly quickly based on how our photographers are uploading and getting that to us on PhotoShelter,” says Andy.

Photo courtesy of UCF Athletics.

Now that PhotoShelter integrates with SIDEARM Sports, the Knights’ website provider, the team can push photos to the website even faster.

“It’s such a time saver. It just cuts out a full step,” says Andy. “If you don’t already have a photo up there or you want a new one or a different one, it just makes it so much easier and faster.”

Before they moved their library to the cloud, Andy and his team stored their photos on a server that was only accessible to a handful of people. They were constantly fielding requests from media and other departments like marketing, sales and development.

“They all now have access to those files on PhotoShelter,” says Andy. “Now, they can all search our photos. That’s all automated now where we don’t have to respond to those requests as long as they’re in our system.”

Now that image requests are self-service and users can run a quick search to find exactly what they need, no one wastes time going back and forth trying to find the right image for a project.

“We hear all the time how much simpler and easier it is, and how great it is that we don’t have to read minds anymore and they can just go get the image that they want,” says Andy.

Photo courtesy of UCF Athletics.

He estimates PhotoShelter helps save time for 20 UCF staff members on a regular basis, and helps his own team save time every day.

“It’s efficiency,” says Andy. “We work a lot of hours, we have a lot of things on our plates, and anything that can shave five minutes off is really appreciated.”

Andy was originally drawn to PhotoShelter because it’s the only NCAA-compliant automated photo sales platform (the team sells photos that they make available to the public on the Knights’ PhotoShelter Portal). But once he started migrating photos from the server to PhotoShelter, he saw that the value could go far beyond photo sales.

“The photo uploader and/or drag and drop functionality make it so simple,” says Andy.

He knew PhotoShelter was the right fit for his team when he saw how it could help them organize and share their visual assets.

“The more we got into it and realized all the benefits from the searchability to the ease of use on the sharing, etc., it seemed like a no-brainer on the investment for me,” says Andy. “The storage, the efficiency, the time management and making it easier for our internal and external partners to get the content they need is worth it.”

To learn more about how college sports teams use visual storytelling to engage their fans, check out our report with NACDA, Visual Asset Management in University Athletics Departments in 2017.

Plus, check out these college sports stories here on the PhotoShelter Visual Storytelling Blog:

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