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Sports

Learning the Ins and Outs of Social Media on a Co-op With Comcast

By: Ben Seal

May 3, 2017

Drexel student Alex Norcross, right, alongside NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski.

Alex Norcross, right, stands with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski.

This is one of a regular series profiling Drexel students and their co-ops. 

Three weeks into his co-op at Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, Alex Norcross was looking for something a bit different. He had been logging games and interviews for the sports media company, carefully recording everything that had happened each night and transcribing the post-game comments. What he really wanted to do, though, was drive fan engagement with the news outlet, and the way to do that was through social media.

So, in keeping with the Drexel University spirit of building something rather than lamenting its absence, Norcross asked for a change. He met with Josh Ellis, the company’s social media manager, and talked about his passion for the ins and outs of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. For the next five-and-a-half months the two worked closely together running CSN’s accounts. Norcross had talked his way into an ideal co-op experience.

“It basically changed my whole co-op,” said Norcross, a sport management major in the Center for Hospitality & Sport Management.

From that point forward, Norcross dove into the world of tweets, posts, graphics and highlights. Each day, he arrived at CSN’s offices in the Wells Fargo Center a few hours before game time and began preparing for the nightly 76ers or Flyers contest. He attended practices, taking footage to send out via Snapchat. He designed graphics in Photoshop to promote CSN’s broadcasts. He worked out new ways to get sports fans locked into their teams and the network covering them.

“I got a very unique opportunity to work for a major sports media company in a big role,” said Norcross.

For the 19-year-old Norcross, working in social media was a chance to turn a personal hobby into professional experience. As a member of a generation that has grown up with social media, his colleagues at CSN often looked to him for opinions on what ideas would resonate. He pushed for a more engaging Snapchat presence and a more intense focus on Instagram, where CSN moved from 35,000 to 50,000 followers during his six months in the office, he said.

Conveniently, Norcross’ time at CSN tracked closely with the rise of another social media star: Joel Embiid, the Sixers’ 23-year-old center whose personality shines on the court and off. Early in the fall, when Embiid was playing at his best and stirring fan excitement, Norcross had plenty of opportunities to ramp up fan engagement with CSN. Even something as simple as video of Embiid shooting three-pointers could get positive attention.

“We loved Joel Embiid,” said Norcross. “He was the highlight of the year for the Sixers.”

A lengthy Flyers winning streak provided another opportunity for Norcross to show his chops, as did the Eagles’ signing of big-time free agent wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. For each big occasion, he was ready in advance with a post or a graphic at hand to deliver the news quickly and keep fans interested.

“My mentor said timing and preparation are everything when it comes to social media,” said Norcross. “We wanted to make sure that we were the first and most reliable for the people following us. So we did a ton of preparation — and obviously it helps if the teams win.”

In the end, the co-op delivered a win for Norcross. And all it took was asking a simple question and putting in the effort to grow on the job.

“Experience is everything,” said Norcross. “That’s the reason I came to Drexel.”

About the Drexel Co-op program: More than 98 percent of eligible undergraduate students at Drexel University participate in the co-op program, balancing full-time classes and up to three different internships during their time at Drexel. Students can choose from more than 1,700 employers in 33 states and 48 international locations — plus endless possibilities through self-arranged placements.