July 17, 2024

Clay Travis speaks during UT Social Media Week 2017

Sports media phenomenon Clay Travis closed UT Social Media Week 2017 with a talk about his rise to fame through social media in Alumni Memorial Building March 2, 2017.

Sports media personality Clay Travis spoke to a packed house in Alumni Memorial Building room 210 to close UT Social Media Week 2017 Thursday, March 2.

Travis, the founder and host of Outkick the Coverage, spoke on everything from Tennessee football to political issues. He emphasized his rise to stardom and how he uses social media to his advantage.

The 37-year-old Nashville native graduated from George Washington University in 2001 and from Vanderbilt Law School in 2004.

Travis began his law career in the U.S. Virgin Islands, but after realizing no bars carried DirecTV’s “NFL Sunday Ticket,” he wrote online in order to “protest” the lack of coverage.

His online writing eventually led to an unpaid position at CBS Sports, and after a stint at Deadspin, he started work at FanHouse.

But everything came to a halt. In 2010, as Travis sat in a meeting at the then LP Field, FanHouse decided to close.

Suddenly, everything changed.

His only thought being, “what am I going to do?” Travis realized the power of his own talents and where he could next take them.

He then started Outkick, which has, in his words, “exploded.”

In order to start the site, Travis admitted he had to take a risk, something he encouraged everyone in the audience to do.

Travis spoke to why the website became so successful.

“It was because I had the belief that my audience…would find and follow me wherever I went,” Travis said.

They did.

Just last year, over 20 million viewers visited Outkick the Coverage, and millions tune in daily to Travis’s shows on Periscope and Facebook Live.

Travis also said he recognized early-on the “distribution capability” of both Twitter and Facebook, figuring out quickly how to use both.

In addition to the success of his website and use of social media, the self-made sports mogul also imparted a few life lessons, one of which was to “deal with it.”

He included his four guiding tenets of success: “smart, original, funny, authentic.”

Travis concluded with remarks on his decision to start his own website and create a brand.

“The name on the back of the jersey is going to matter much more than the name on the front,” Travis said.

Following the speech, Travis met with fans and followers in the College of Communication and Information. He sold t-shirts, took pictures and chatted with UT students.

To contract Travis, email him at clay.travis@gmail.com.

Follow Travis on Twitter @ClayTravis or visit Outkick the Coverage for daily content.

Featured Image by Deanna Cooper

Edited by Lexie Little


Sports editor Jake Nichols has been part of the TNJN staff in two different capacities. His freshman and sophomore years, Jake worked as a staff writer before moving on to write for Rocky Top Insider, and he also worked with VFL Films and the SEC Network for a semester his junior year. When asked the summer before his senior year to return to TNJN as the sports editor, Jake jumped at the chance to end his time in Knoxville working with the organization he first began with as a freshman. Jake is excited to help lead younger writers, much like former editors Cody McClure and Jordan Dajani aided him. Jake also does freelance sports coverage and photography for The Mountain Press in Sevierville, Tenn., and in his spare time, he can be found with family, his girlfriend or driving his Jeep, most likely with his Canon in tow. Be sure and follow Jake on Twitter and Instagram at @jnichols_2121, and keep up with TNJN Sports on Twitter as well!