The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga athletics program has always enjoyed an excellent relationship with local, regional and national media. Despite being in the middle of SEC-crazed football country, there were 3,681 articles about Mocs athletics appearing online, in print and on television during the 2011-12 season - a 22% increase from the previous year.
Events like B.J. Coleman getting drafted by the Green Bay Packers, Stephan Jaeger's All-American season on the golf course and Michelle Fuzzard being named the SoCon Female Athlete of the Year all helped increase UTC's coverage over the last 12 months.
"Part of the mission of UTC is to be an engaged, metropolitan University," explained Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Rick Hart. "We help fulfill this by cultivating strong relationships with the media. Our student-athletes have great stories to tell and our fans have created a demand for that information. The media fulfills this need and helps us represent the University and the community in a positive manner."
The Mocs take advantage of their location in a metropolitan area that has three network TV stations, a major newspaper, online publications and access to added regional and national media outlets. These numbers do not include the countless mentions that do not make a full story, or the hours of discussion about the Mocs that take place each year on ESPN Radio (105.1 FM), SportTalk (102.3 FM) and Fox Sports Radio (1370 AM) in the Scenic City.
Chattanooga athletics self-generates the majority of its coverage through its official athletics web site, GoMocs.com. There were 1,024 stories posted on GoMocs.com in 2011-12, accounting for nearly 1/3 of all UTC athletics coverage. Add this to the coverage provided by websites such as Nooga.com and Chattanoogan.com and over 55% of all Mocs coverage was online.
The chart above shows that the Chattanooga Times Free Press published 765 features, previews and game stories on UTC athletics. In an era when most newspapers across the country are downsizing, the Times Free Press still dedicates beat writers to cover Chattanooga football, men's and women's basketball, wrestling, men's and women's golf and softball.
Television coverage of the Mocs also grew in 2011-12. Led by the three network TV stations in Chattanooga - WDEF-TV (CBS), WRCB-TV (NBC) and WTVC-TV (ABC) - there were 725 stories aired on television during the past year.
Reporters from all three stations are fixtures at Mocs home events, press conferences and open practices. This does not include the 13 hours of football and basketball coaches shows that aired on the local FOX affiliate, WDSI-TV FOX61. The full breakdown between online, print and television coverage can be seen in the chart below.
Once again, Mocs football was the most widely covered individual sport, followed by men's and women's basketball. Softball continued to receive unparalleled coverage, followed by general athletics news and wrestling.
Stories on the Mocs generally consisted of game previews and recaps, but there were many features run throughout the season. These included more than 100 articles on Chattanooga student-athletes' work in the classroom and in the community. Some of these include the Mocs dramatic increase in its APR scores, UTC student-athletes volunteering with Special Olympics and Chattanooga coaches helping out with the Ronald McDonald Spare Change Fund Drive.
"Technology and the way people consume information changes quickly," added Hart. "I think these numbers show that we are reaching our fans through the traditional media outlets, but still keeping up-to-date with the latest trends online. I want us to be a leader in fan engagement and we are working to make sure these numbers continue to grow."
GoMocs.com is the official website of the Chattanooga Mocs. The Mocs can also be followed on their official Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ChattanoogaMocs, or on Twitter, www.twitter.com/GoMocs. Find out how to join the UTC Mocs Club and support the Team behind Our Teams by clicking here.