When the first notes of “Enter Sandman” are played on Virginia Tech’s campus, the ground in Blacksburg literally shakes as Hokie fans start jumping. This moment in Lane Stadium is described as a cauldron of noise, the most electrifying entrance in college sports, and the Terror Dome.
Hokie student-athletes put it all on the line when the fans start jumping. Now, Hokie student-athletes will have an opportunity to do the same with their personal brands through the JumpStart program.
Through an enhanced partnership with INFLCR, the leading content and compliance software platform for college athletic staff and student-athletes, VT Athletics is launching JumpStart, an immersive name, image, and likeness program that will empower current Hokie student-athletes with the knowledge and resources to build their personal brands, seek out business opportunities, and write their future while living in their present. Hokie student-athletes will have the tools, tips, and training to maximize their individual benefits.
Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said it is an exciting time to be a student-athlete, especially a Hokie. “We are thrilled to launch JumpStart in order to connect our student-athletes with the tools and knowledge to expand the impact of their personal brand,” Babcock said. “The student-athlete experience is constantly changing, and we are fully committed to supporting our student-athletes in this process.
“The Virginia Tech brand continues to elevate across the board, from athletics to academics, and the global recognition paired with the JumpStart initiative creates a consistent path to success for student-athletes during their careers as Hokies and into their professional lives,” the AD said.
Branding opportunities for Hokie student-athletes will be supported and bolstered through national partnerships with media entities including ESPN, ABC, and the ACC Network. Additionally, over 250,000 living alumni create a multitude of opportunities for business ventures within the Hokie community across the world. Through the world-renowned Pamplin School of Business, student-athletes can participate in classes to learn about personal branding, the monetization of content, career planning, and entrepreneurship, all taught by titans of industry.
As the JumpStart program helps student-athletes leverage their reach, influence, and personal brands, INFLCR’s digital platform will play a critical role by offering education, social media metrics, market valuations, and other important elements for growing personal brands.
JumpStart will enable Hokie student-athletes to measure, evaluate, and analyze data related to their own brand. Moreover, they will continue to access videos, photos, and graphics provided by Virginia Tech’s Brand Advancement department to communicate their story and success through their own social media channels, as has been the case for the last few years.
For example, Christian Darrisaw, recent Hokies football student-athlete and 2021 First Round NFL draft pick, grew his Instagram follower count by over 30% in one year. As a team per individual accounts, the Hokies Football team was provided over 7,000 pieces of content and witnessed nearly one million impressions.