Ole Miss Athletics Department Wins Technology Innovation Award
Published 3:55 pm Thursday, July 11, 2019
Ole Miss Athletics is raising the modernity standard.
The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, a professional organization comprised of over 1,600 institutions, awarded The University of Mississippi the 2019 Technology Innovation Award for Athletics Departments.
Ole Miss was chosen over the University of Notre Dame and Texas A&M University. The award will be presented in the fall at an on-campus event hosted by the University.
“We are honored to win an award that is so directly linked with what we’re passionate about at Ole Miss – using technology and innovation to engage the Ole Miss family,” Deputy Athletics Director Michael Thompson said. “Each and every year, we strive to cultivate existing Rebel fans, and introduce the Ole Miss brand to new ones.”
In design, the award aims to recognize best practices in technology innovation. A five-person committee consisting of athletics directors across the country and representatives from CDW-G, a business technology company, and NACDA aided in selecting Ole Miss as this year’s award winner. In winning the award, Ole Miss receives a trophy and $25,000 in Microsoft and Cisco technology products.
“CDW-G congratulates Ole Miss for harnessing the combined power of people and technology to provide winning experiences for their student-athletes and fans,” said Eric Goff, Sr. Manager, Education Field Sales, CDW-G. “From enabling student athletes with content that helps them engage via social media, to showcasing fan stories, to leveraging massive data volumes to make real-time decisions, Ole Miss’ commitment to excellence extends far beyond the sporting venue.”
Ole Miss made a handful of notable technological improvements within the department over the past year to put itself in the running for this award. The school made a concerted effort to use technology and subsequent data collected to drive their business decisions and interact with fans on a handful of fronts.
Among other improvements, last year, Ole Miss launched ‘Year of the Fan’ and ‘Fan of the Week’ showcases. Using a program called Tradeable Bits, a fan engagement platform, Ole Miss was able to collect fan video and photo selection and conduct polls to help select winners.
Additionally, the University partnered with a company called INFLCR. With the INFLCR platform, the athletic department was able to connect with students and student-athletes, allowing them to post media created within the department to their social media platforms. This allowed them to become powerful brand ambassadors.
“Behind every successful athletics department are passionate fans, and Ole Miss capitalized on innovative technology opportunities to make their fan experience the best it could be,” NACDA Chief Executive Officer Bob Vecchione said. “From facilitating engagement to increasing attendance, Ole Miss harnessed the influence of its own student-athletes to capture and enhance the magic of being a part of Rebel Nation. They are truly trendsetters in the technology space.”