There is a hole in the football market in Missouri now that the St. Louis Rams have moved to Los Angeles to become the Los Angeles Rams once again. For the first time since the 1994 season, no professional football will be played in St. Louis. Really no football at all.
And so, the Missouri Tigers are looking to strike.
Mack Rhoades has made St. Louis something of a priority both for marketing and notoriety, according to reports from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. And Mizzou Sports Properties, the school’s exclusive athletics multimedia rights holder, is taking steps to make good on that.“There’s no question it’s a proactive approach,” Nick Garner, Missouri’s new general manager of Mizzou Sports Properties, told Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We hope we can provide a solution for people who might be missing the Rams.”
St. Louis is about two hours from Columbia, Mo., so it would be quite a drive to go week to week to Faurot Field for each home game. But the Tigers have taken some serious steps to make a bigger presence in the St. Louis market, the 21st-largest media market according to Nielsen.
The Post-Dispatch reports Mizzou Sports Properties will move a staffer to St. Louis to engage with local companies, and a member of Missouri’s athletics administration will sit on the board for the St. Louis Sports Commission for the first time ever. The school has also increased its advertising budget and put a bigger focus on St. Louis.
The Tigers are no strangers to St. Louis. The basketball team typically plays its annual rivalry with Illinois there. The football team did too for a while in the last decade. But the Tigers have not played in St. Louis since a season-opening game against Illinois in 2010. The Tigers took four straight games from the Illini in St. Louis from 2007-10.
Many of Missouri’s neutral-site games in the recent past have been played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, including last year’s game against BYU.
Being more engaged with St. Louis from a marketing perspective does not necessarily mean the Tigers will play more games in St. Louis. But the opportunity is undeniable for the Tigers to become a bigger presence in a large television market that the school has perhaps not engaged in the past.
And despite the turmoil of last season, things are looking up for the program. The Tigers have won two of the past three SEC East titles. Coach Barry Odom has his work cut out for him, but still has a lot to work with this season.
If he can give St. Louis something worth buying, all the better.