BYU sports has done more to normalize the public image of the church...
than anything the brethren have ever done. They’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars on national ad campaigns, social media blitzes, and other expensive, high profile attempts at public outreach, but none of it has ever been as effective as BYU sports.
I have never once had a non-Mormon friend or neighbor ask me about the “I’m a Mormon” ad campaign, or the “Meet the Mormons” movie. I have, however, had countless conversations with my non-Mormon friends about BYU football and basketball. Jimmer Fredette Single handedly did more for the church’s public image than every public outreach campaign the church has ever engaged in combined. And Taysom Hill’s dismantling of Texas on national television created more national buzz than anything the church’s media department has ever conceived of.
The church treats BYU Athletics like a red headed step child when it should be actively funding and promoting it.