During her undergraduate years at Clemson, Meredith Starkey couldn’t escape sports — not that she wanted to. She didn’t simply attend athletic events, she owned them — dancing in the east endzone with the Rally Cats and tossing orange T-shirts to fans in Littlejohn Coliseum. Whenever she wasn’t on the field, she excelled in her marketing courses interacting with Clemson’s athletic sponsors.
Now, 15 years later, Starkey has channeled her passion for competition into a career with one of the largest wireless companies in the nation. As T-Mobile’s director of sponsorships, entertainment and events, Starkey seeks out sponsorship and event marketing opportunities to spread the company’s core message. Although she’s no longer on the sidelines in Death Valley, she’s still at the heart of crowd engagement.
Today, inside Memorial Stadium, more and more fans spend time staring at their smartphone screens. But this doesn’t necessarily take away from the spectator experience. With just a tap of a thumb, fans can generate photos, videos and social media posts to share with friends, family and rivals who couldn’t be at the event.
It’s Starkey’s responsibility to capture the attention of these fans and paint T-Mobile as the choice carrier for sharing these moments. It’s not easy competing against larger wireless carriers like Verizon and AT&T, with big names and bigger budgets. But, Starkey rises to the challenge, employing the creative perspective she gained while firing up fans at Clemson.
After a year of negotiating contracts and unraveling legal tape, Starkey closed on a huge sponsorship deal that gave T-Mobile exclusive Major League Baseball rights. During the World Series in Minneapolis, Starkey and the T-Mobile team set up in-stadium ads encouraging fans to record and submit videos of themselves singing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” from their smartphones. Then, they showed the video mash-up during the “seventh-inning stretch.”
As Clemson’s former Rally Cat captain leads the charge to strengthen T-Mobile’s brand messaging, she will also make the game-day experience more universal — one snap, share and selfie at a time.