Charles Hampton '09 Works Directly with HBO's "Hard Knocks"

Charles Hampton '09 Works Directly with HBO's "Hard Knocks"

Each year HBO selects one NFL team to be the focus of its Hard Knocks show, which is an in-depth, documentary-style look into a team’s training camp and preseason preparation. When HBO chose the Houston Texans, it worked directly with the Texans’ Communications Department including Rice graduate Charles Hampton ‘09.

Hampton graduated with a Sport Management degree and a passion for public relations. As a Rice student, he worked two internships with the Texans and received the Roemmich Award recognizing his success as one of the top Sport Management students at Rice. After graduation, Hampton received an offer to join the Texans Communications Department in the full-time role of Communications Coordinator.

Charles Hampton with JJ Watt

With the football and entertainment worlds colliding under his watch, Hampton and his department experienced an exceptionally rare opportunity through which they were able to share their product with many new fans.

“Our website hits from other parts of the country and internationally changed immediately with people looking to learn about our players and team,” Hampton said. “People really connected with the personalities on our team and it helped us to create more fans.”

Throughout the process, Hampton, the Communications department, and the Football Operations department kept a close eye on the final cuts of footage shared publicly. They wanted to share as much about their team and shape their brand as best as possible without revealing any information that other NFL teams could use against them during the season.

“It was definitely a collaborative effort,” said Hampton. “The team was able to watch the show before the airing and point out any issues. We would help promote the team and tell some of the stories of our players to help the NFL Films crew efficiently cover the team.”

Hard Knocks uncovers so many nuances within the framework of the organization that many people assume working with HBO would have a dramatic effect on the team’s preparation for the upcoming season. After his experience however, Hampton believes that the cameras do not have an impact.

“The folks that do the shooting for Hard Knocks are from NFL Films, who already are on our sidelines on a week-to-week basis,” Hampton said. “Having them around every day was a fun experience.”

Hampton and the team saw many positives come of the situation and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Many players, like JJ Watt, embraced telling their stories and the fans were riveted by the construction and intricacies of the team. As a result, HBO and the Texans Communications department produced an exceptional product that reached far beyond the Houston market.

Trey Johnson, a senior from Portland, Oregon is double-majoring in Sport Management and Economics.