Rhett Hobart has been named deputy athletics director for external affairs at Auburn, Athletics Director John Cohen announced last Thursday.
Hobart, who previously served as executive senior associate athletic director for external affairs at Mississippi State, will have oversight of all external aspects of Auburn Athletics, including ticketing, marketing, fan engagement, communications, War Eagle Productions and Auburn Sports Properties, among other duties.
“Auburn attracts not only the best student-athletes and the best coaches in the world, but Auburn also attracts the best support staff,” Cohen said. “That is Auburn being Auburn, and that is Rhett Hobart. Rhett has incredible vision and will help create unique experiences for our student-athletes, fans, coaches and staff.”
At Mississippi State, Hobart was responsible for the Bulldogs’ External Affairs team, which comprised Broadcast & Live Events, Communications & Creative and Fan Experience & Sales. The Greenville, Mississippi, native and Mississippi State graduate returned to Starkville in May 2022 after spending time at Wake Forest, where he served as associate athletic director of Fan Experience & Brand Development.
“I am thrilled to be joining the Auburn Family and have the opportunity to experience the Auburn Spirit firsthand,” Hobart said. “The possibilities on the Plains are endless. We will work earnestly to harness tradition, creativity and innovation to build and foster the Auburn brand while creating preeminent in-venue and digital experiences for the Auburn Family and our teams to enjoy.”
During his time with the Demon Deacons, Hobart led a team which implemented new and engaging marketing and creative strategies, which led to record crowds and engagement in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Those efforts included the launch of a new brand campaign and a reimagining of the football gameday experience, which led to the highest net promoter score in the ACC — a 24-point increase on the prior season.
Additionally, the implementation of a new football student tailgate experience drove the largest-ever student attendance, including the first, second, fourth and fifth largest student crowds of all time. The new student experience was recognized by Inside Higher Ed as a “Model of Inclusivity” and received national acclaim by the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators.
Prior to his time with the Demon Deacons, Hobart spent eight years at Mississippi State in a variety of roles within the marketing department. Hobart served as the Bulldogs assistant athletic director for Marketing & Branding for the last three years of that stint, where he managed all aspects of their marketing and fan experience, game production, branding, athletic licensing and spirit groups.
Hobart and the Mississippi State marketing staff received national recognition for the redevelopment of their gameday experience at multiple venues, where they worked to invest in the idea of maximizing the car-to-car experience for fans. Twice during his tenure, MSU Marketing took home the nation’s top prize in collegiate athletics marketing, being named the NACMA Marketing Team of the Year in both 2016 and 2017, becoming the first school to ever win the title in back-to-back years. The team received honorable mention recognition in 2014, 2018 and 2019, and was a finalist for the award in 2015.
Hobart earned his Bachelor of Arts in communication from Mississippi State in 2012, and his Master of Business Administration in 2014.