Creating a digital media presence is one way to draw in a dedicated audience; but, there’s a more personable, genuine connection to be made with fans.
This starts by showing positive efforts towards the greater community.
It’s one thing to advertise your skills and hobbies as means of generating a following and an interested fanbase.
But to take this connection to the next level — a two-way relationship — means using your platform for a higher purpose.
NC State’s Shyheim Battle and Cincinatti’s Justin Wodtly, hosted their own youth football camps earlier this year in their hometowns of Rocky Mount, NC, and Cleveland, OH, respectively. Both athletes provided the opportunity to local kids free of charge.
Battle, who hosted his first-ever camp in the summer of 2022 (making this the start of an annual tradition), welcomed well over 120 youths to his event this summer. He even p covered the costs of apparel and food for his campers.
If you don’t have the materials or support system to host a high-profile event, you still have countless opportunities.
For the USFL’s Keonte Schad and many others, this comes in the form of volunteering. During his time playing at the University of Minnesota, Schad spent over 150 hours volunteering at several youth-focused organizations, including the Ronald McDonald House and Savannah Foundation.
Philanthropic efforts don’t have to be an individual task, either. In recent years, Battle and dozens of NC State players have donated their time to working at a food bank near Raleigh.
Proving community value doesn’t have to come in the form of charity or volunteering, however. It can be as simple as being a role model.
Earlier this week, SMU’s Brandon Crossley spoke to local middle school students. Crossley spoke about his personal journey and experience as a college athlete, and signed some autographs for the students.
Time is valuable. Your voice and your perspective as a college athlete are important.
Give yourself the opportunity to create meaningful effects. Plus, you give yourself the chance to have an active audience and a stronger support system.
You may just unlock a new fan base you never thought was possible.