Over the summer, changes are aplenty in any collegiate athletic department. Rosters change and new coaches are hired as others depart. Bradley’s summer changes went well beyond the athletic teams themselves.
With the departure of former Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing and Fan Engagement Brooke Buzard, Bradley Athletics hired Karen Carty and promoted Nathan Bramwell to Associate Athletic Director for Marketing and Tickets.
Carty, who has 15 years of experience in collegiate marketing, the most recent coming at Grambling State in Louisiana, will head marketing for volleyball, women’s basketball and softball.
For Carty, the transition from Louisiana to Illinois has been smooth, especially when it comes to the attitudes found at Bradley.
“I’d never been to Peoria before, and I’d been to Chicago like once,” Carty said. “Everybody’s so nice. I genuinely love being here and it’s been fun.”
Bramwell will be in charge of marketing soccer, men’s basketball and baseball.
This team-oriented approach is a shift from when Buzard lead the marketing effort for all sports, with the assistance of a few part-time employees.
“To be able to really focus in during a season is really good for both Karen and I, because then we don’t become overwhelmed in those sporting aspects,” Bramwell said. “We’re just able to give more attention to those individual sports than what we had been previously, so that’s an exciting standpoint.”
Bramwell brings a different perspective to the marketing operation after overseeing the ticket office for two and a half years.
“[The ticket office] is what I would call the front porch of the athletic department, so I’ve always kind of been in the trenches since I’ve been here,” Bramwell said. “It’s nice to be now more from a strategic position where I can help create some of these campaigns to help sell tickets.”
While at Grambling State, Carty contributed to attendance increases in multiple sports- including doubling the average basketball attendance in one season. Increasing attendance, especially from students, is something that remains a priority for her on the Hilltop.
“[At Grambling State], I learned some really innovative ways on how to get the students involved,” Carty said. “My goal for each of the three sports that I cover is to increase student attendance. [We’re] just gonna try to create a more fun environment.”
The success of multiple Bradley teams in the 2018-19 school year makes the transition a little easier for the new marketing team.
“It’s great to come into a place where people are winning, because it’s easier to market sports when teams are winning and fans are more interested in seeing winners, so I’m definitely excited to be here,” Carty said.
Bramwell concurred with the statement on athletics’ recent success.
“It’s a rising tide lifts all ships kind of thing, that’s what we’re hoping, that the success of a lot of our programs can see those residual effects among the student body population and the community at large,” Bramwell said.
While winning means larger crowds and more ticket sales, short term success on the playing surface doesn’t always mean long term results in marketing.
“As marketers we can’t get too sucked into success,” Bramwell said. “We have to be able to have elements in place and things in place that if that success were to go away tomorrow, people would still want to come out and support Bradley.”