H-Town Takeover: Social Media Agenda Setting and Branding Efforts at the University of Houston

Kevin Hull – University of South Carolina
Jason Lee – University of North Florida
Ryan Zapalac – Sam Houston State University
Matt Stilwell – University of South Carolina


Social media marketing efforts have quickly emerged as a powerful method of engaging the sport consumer and developing long-term relationships through a variety of platforms. In a state with some of the most well-known college football programs, the University of Houston engaged in a marketing campaign to differentiate themselves from their competition. The school created the H-Town Takeover promotion in order to draw more attention from fans, alumni, and the media. The purpose of this study was to examine how the #HTownTakeover hashtag was used on Twitter during the first year following the hiring of head football coach Tom Herman. Two thousand eight hundred tweets (N = 2800) from the official team account were analyzed. Results demonstrate that the hashtag was often used to showcase the team’s success, but not frequently used in order to encourage fans to buy tickets or merchandise. Surprisingly, less than one percent of the tweets referenced the State of Texas or opponents within the State. Implications regarding agenda setting and stakeholder theory are addressed.