SportsBiz Madness 2020: Case Study Tournament Champions!

Thanks to our Judges!

An extra special thanks to Alex Dobson at Audible Design, an ad agency in Portland, for helping evaluate the championship round of our case study tournament.  Leaning on the expertise of industry veterans with a long track record of success to evaluate this round of entries was invaluable.  Alex’s feedback (read the post below for more) provides fantastic context for not only the finalists, but also the students and teachers following along at home.

Great stuff, thanks Alex!

Championship Round Recap

After receiving over 60 entries for Sports Career Consulting’s inaugural “SportsBiz Madness” high school case study competition, we finally crown a champion…

The case we distributed for the championship round presented students with a challenge facing sports marketing professionals at leagues with aging fan bases.  The two finalists were tasked with developing marketing strategies for the PGA Tour to help them connect with a younger audience, helping to grow the popularity of the sport and the league.  We were excited to see what our championship teams came up with and they did not disappoint!

Both submissions were very well done and we had a lot of fun reviewing each of them. We felt like there was a lot of thought and creativity put into each, and were impressed with the level of research that went into each submission. It is always a tough decision to decide on a winner, and the finalists certainly made it difficult to determine a champ…

Tappan Zee HS (New York):

Leading off the competition, we dove into the proposal from Tappan Zee High School. HUGE props to Jennifer who advanced to the final round of this competition without a teammate as she became the first individual student to compete in the championship round.

She put a ton of research into this case study, analyzing the demographics of the PGA’s existing fan base along with offering a sound recap of consumer behaviors that would present opportunities for the Tour to grow. Overall, a sound situational analysis.

Jennifer also presented a number of excellent ideas, creative and fun, that would most certainly create ways for PGA marketers to reach a younger demo. Some highlights:

  • A “Tee-Off” event that kicks the tour season off to create excitement, supported by a marketing campaign that features past and present PGA stars
  • Great cross-promotion idea with a concert series connected to tour events
  • Recognizing the shorter attention span of younger fans, brilliant concept to introduce a series of video shorts, selecting Brooks Koepka as the spokesperson for the campaign seems like a good, natural fit as well
  • Good idea to introduce a “sampling” concept…you are right, young fans that haven’t played or watched golf won’t know if they like it until they participate in some capacity so we liked the idea of incentivizing them with giveaway promos
  • Overall, loved the content marketing strategy – YouTube, video shorts, “showdowns” etc, fans of other sports would be intruigued to see Ray Allen play Steph Curry in a golf challenge, so you’re attracting interest from fans of other sports and introducing them to the product
  • TikTok challenge…perfect opportunity to reach younger fans
  • Great stat referenced in Jennifer’s case study response, 40% of millennial golfers are women, so we loved the idea of creating a special line of merchandise targeting that consumer group…also thought the “Moonshot” (golf was one of only two sports played on the moon) limited-edition merchandise was a fun idea!

No surprise, but Tappan Zee was well represented in the final round of this competition, as they have been all tournament. Fantastic job Jennifer, you have a very bright future regardless of which career path you choose! Congratulations on all your success in this competition and best of luck down the road.

Pinelands Regional High School (New Jersey):

Tappan Zee faced a formidable opponent in this year’s finals, facing a Pinelands Regional school who won this competition just two years ago. Not surprisingly, Kathy Bennett’s students produced another spectacular case study response in this round.

We limited the response to the final case study to just two pages, but WOW, Pinelands Regional students managed to cram a lot of fantastic ideas (supported by detailed market research and analysis) into their response.

Some highlights:

  • Great SWOT analysis, recognizing not only the challenge but also the opportunity in front of the PGA Tour to grow its popularity, including identification of key characteristics and behaviors of younger consumers
    * According to the Pinelands Regional “report”, there are currently over 24 million active golfers, with roughly 25% of them between the ages of 18 and 34, according to the National Golf Foundation. That is already a significant portion of all current golfers. However, that age grouping only played an average of 11.6 rounds a year which is far below what other demos are playing.
  • Incredibly thorough research on the existing social presence of today’s younger PGA Tour stars
  • Excellent identification of which social media influencers might be a good fit because of an existing affinity for the sport of golf
  • Some GREAT ideas for partnerships that would allow for the PGA to reach a younger audience (like a Dude Perfect partnership, a little “out of the box” strategy but would have a wide reach and introduce golf to many new consumers) and Barstool Sports, without pivoting too far and disrupting relationships with partners that continue to reach the brand’s current fanbase
  • LOVED the decision to include a charitable component, definitely a strategy that could help engender brand awareness and loyalty with a new target demographic…and really smart to align with those charities that resonate with younger fans
  • One of our favorite ideas: Implementation of golf simulators as part of the promotional plan, especially the traditional mobile marketing strategy to establish pop-up simulators with interactive marketing components at college campuses and popular public places (parks, beaches) to generate excitement for upcoming events and boost ticket sales / attendance
  • Really smart to recognize the opportunity TopGolf could provide based on the demographic data that suggests TopGolf fans could easily be converted to fans of the PGA Tour and its rising stars
  • Interesting to see several of the PGA Tour’s younger stars have a presence on Peloton, thought that was a creative way to find ways PGA stars could have some fun promoting upcoming events

Once again, Pinelands Regional crafted a fantastic case study response, full of market research, a clear understanding of core sports business concepts relating to this case, and a variety of great (and creative) ideas. Really well done!

And the winner is…

As mentioned, both of these submissions were strong, smart and strategic and choosing the winner was not easy. Both teams are to be commended for putting their marketing hats on and thinking about how they could plan and organize a community event. Having said that, we felt one team managed to separate themselves with a little more creativity, attention to detail, and communication of marketing strategy. That team is Pinelands Regional High School.

Congrats to Kathy Bennett and her students at Pinelands Regional High School for winning this year’s “SportsBiz Madness” Case Study Championship, winning the tournament for the SECOND time!

SportsBiz Madness Case Study Competition: On to the Championship Round!

Thanks to our Judges!

An extra special thanks to Alex Dobson and Audible Design, an ad agency in Portland, for evaluating the Final Four round of our case study competition entries.  Leaning on the expertise of industry veterans with a long track record of success to evaluate this round of entries was invaluable.  Their feedback (read the post below for more) provides fantastic context for not only the four teams remaining in our competition, but also the students and teachers following along in their own classrooms.

Great stuff, thanks guys!

“Final Four” Competition Recap

After receiving nearly 60 entries for Sports Career Consulting’s inaugural “SportsBiz Madness” high school case study competition, we are left with just two teams.  The championship round is set, and we have an all East Coast finale.

In the previous round of this competition, our competitors were tasked with the development of an advertising campaign for New Balance to help the brand gain market share in the basketball market, leaning on one of the athletes who rep the brand (Kawhi Leonard) and the company’s new NBA sponsorship deal.  Teams were given a budget and a “rate card” (list of costs associated with each advertising medium), then asked to develop a promotional campaign to promote the brand.

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Case Study Competition 2020: The Final Four

FINAL FOUR

As SCC’s case study competition moved into the head-to-head tournament round, remaining teams were asked to create a sponsor activation strategy tied to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo as Coca-Cola re-introduces its Orange Vanilla Coke flavor. Students were asked to prepare a strategy as if the games had not been postponed.

We were really impressed with all of the entries as each team demonstrated a very clear understanding of all the sports business principles outlined in this particular case study. Each team presented a very compelling call to action for fans through social activations, sponsor engagement and advertising campaigns.  Those who advanced, however, did the best job focusing on maximizing the impact of the sponsorship, recognizing the critical role activation plays in the ROI from sponsorship.

While we’re sad to see four more outstanding student groups eliminated from our competition, we are looking forward to seeing what the remaining teams bring to the table in response to our third case study.  The tournament’s next case study challenges students to effectively budget for an advertising campaign.  Stay tuned!

HONORABLE MENTION

Wichita East High School (Kansas):

Pretty neat social media activation strategy to create a competition on Instagram in the lead up to the Games. Encouraging fans to post videos showing examples of how they are keeping active and staying fit (followed, of course, by taking a sip of Orange Vanilla Coke) is a great way to keep fans engaged while promoting the product. The strategy could definitely help provide a sales boost as well.

Overall, nice job Wichita East students!

Richardson High School (Texas):

Love the idea of “Olympic size” cardboard cutouts of athletes competing in the Tokyo Games as a way to attract the attention of shoppers in stores, providing photo opportunities creates a fantastic opportunity to not only increase product sales but also promote the brand through social media channels. Partnering with Usain Bolt and Simone Biles for sponsored Instagram posts will certainly maximize exposure.

Overall, great retail activation strategy by providing in-store Orange Vanilla Coke samples, positioned next to your cardboard display and creative packaging w/ special-edition 12-packs featuring commemorative cans. Well done Richardson High!

Downers Grove South (Illinois):

This was a great lead: “Coca-Cola is a worldwide staple, but in order to get consumers to try the new Orange Vanilla Coke, we’re going to need to get them to be different.” Great recognition of the challenge facing marketers with the launch of a new product.

Love the idea of creating a kind of “docu-series” featuring athletes that the brand has partnered with to tell their stories and give fans a feel-good connection to Orange Vanilla Coke. Smart idea to partner with athletes “with boldening stories to entice the consumer to be bold themselves, and try our new product.” The Twitter hashtag #BeBold is a great choice for the campaign. Nice work!

Flower Mound High School (Texas):

A couple of awesome ideas here, starting with the strategy to create a “mini-Olympics” competition with Coca-Cola themed obstacles in pop-up locations around the World as a way to introduce Orange Vanilla Coke in the months leading up the Tokyo Games. Staging mini-events in cities like London, NY and LA will most certainly attract consumer attention and help connect the brand to the excitement surrounding the Olympic Games. With a grand prize of fans competing in a final round taking place in Tokyo seems like a great way to encourage consumer participation.

Love the interactive idea of placing ads during the games that encourage fans to visit a Coca-Cola branded microsite to sign up for a chance for viewers to receive a drone delivery to their home to sample the new Orange Vanilla Coke flavor.

Last but not least, thought the social media strategy was brilliant. Nice to see you didn’t limit the campaign to just one social channel, makes sense to try to maximize reach by including Insta and Snap to reach younger fans but also promoting OVC through Facebook to reach an older demographic. Love the idea of staging a “best Orange Vanilla Coke” picture competition, and encouraging fans to “socialize” by asking them where their favorite place to drink OVC is, along with positing a photo, makes this a truly global campaign. Including Twitter polls will boost engagement as well.

Great job Flower Mound!

ADVANCING TO THE “FINAL FOUR”:

Downers Grove North High School – Period 6 (Illinois)

Tons of super strategies here… Great awareness of the value of giveaways. Stationing “street team” members at venues throughout the games to give away Orange Vanilla Coke t-shirts is a surefire way to generate enthusiasm for the new flavor, and it will turn fans into walking billboards for your product for the entirety of the Olympics.

Tickets, both in physical and e-ticket form, will feature Coke’s new product logo

And speaking of giveaways, love the idea of leveraging packaging as a tool for creating a sweepstakes type promotion by giving tickets away to fans through specially marked caps (also liked the idea of placing the logo on the physical and e-tickets). Taking it a step further, awesome idea to include experiences as part of the promotion, genius to reserve branded “Coca-Cola fan” space/areas during the Opening Ceremonies and Olympic venues. Love this: “This is where they can meet podium athletes from men’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming, women’s volleyball, and women’s gymnastics. While there, the winners can get autographs, take photos, and share an Orange Vanilla Coke with a gold medalist!” Overall, what a great way to boost product sales right out of the gate.

Another great packaging strategy to help activate your Olympic Games sponsorship is the inclusion of different flags for each of the participating countries on Orange Vanilla Coke. Levels of fandom are high throughout the games as fans demonstrate pride for their nation, connecting the brand to fan loyalty is a smart move. Developing a collector’s edition design for the cans is icing on the cake.

Social activation strategy was really good as well. The “Track the Truck” concept gives you a means for activating via mobile in more than one way…the mobile “Orange Vanilla Coke truck” fleet that will have a presence in major cities around the globe providing product samples and the mobile campaign tied to the trucks on Instagram and Snapchat platforms.

As described by Downers Grove North students, “Anyone who posts a selfie with the truck and uses the hashtag #trackthetruck can be featured on its Instagram and/or Snapchat story. These featured posts all have a location tag on them which will help people seek out these trucks. Each truck will be in a specific part of the world, as well as, one following the Olympic Torch.”

Fantastic job!!! Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

Pinelands Regional High School (New Jersey):

Love the idea of creating nationwide pop-up sampling stations in 20 cities and over 150 college campuses throughout the U.S. prior to the Tokyo Games. Given the global nature of the Olympics, really liked that the pop-ups would feature different Coke flavors from around the world.

Using Coca-Cola’s official YouTube Channel will be a great platform to extend the advertising messages, love the hashtag #CokeJourney from a storytelling perspective which is such a big part of what makes the Olympic Games so special. Nice overall mix of advertising to support your sponsorship of the 2020 Summer Games as well and not exhaust all your resources on digital, important to try to reach consumers through traditional channels like TV ads and outdoor. Great idea to diversify your advertising investment to maximize the sponsorship reach.

Love the packaging strategy as well by providing codes on specially marked packages of Orange Vanilla Coke that represent one of the five colored rings of the Olympic Games logo. Fun that, when a fan collects all five different colored rings, they will receive official Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games merchandise. Grand prize sounds awesome as well with an all-expense paid, private, guided tour of Coca-Cola in Atlanta…wonder if you could do some kind of viewing party with them during the Games as well? Also love the idea of featuring Olympic Games trivia questions on Orange Vanilla Coke bottles and including different flags from those countries competing in the Games.

Great idea for an on-site activation with the “Orange Vanilla Coke Victory Lounge” (described by Pinelands Regional students as “a luxurious suite for all Olympic athletes featuring flat screen TVs, memory foam seating, all you can eat food and Coca-Cola products).

Love the way you’ve tied together on-site strategies, packaging strategies etc. with your digital activations. Some highlights:

  • A spot outside the lounge for fans to take pictures taken with life-size
    cardboard cutouts of various Olympic athletes holding a bottle of Orange Vanilla Coke
  • Opportunities for fans to create Tik Toks outside the lounge using the Tik Tok dance you’ve created related to the release of the Orange Vanilla Coke, called the “O-Nilla Pop”
  • Providing Snapcode on coke bottles that fans scan on Snapchat, unlocking a “Coke Cam” filter that turns fans’ heads into a giant bottle of Coke, but an “Orange Vanilla Coke” when fans smile…Great concept, and in your words, “yes, this is a fun filter, but it is also a psychological effect causing customers to form a relationship with
    “smiling” and “Orange Vanilla Coke”.” That is next level Olympic thinking. 🙂

Overall, super job from students at Pinelands Regional High School. Good luck in the next round!

Downers Grove North – Period 1 (Illinois)

Great breakdown of the different ways your activation strategies will maximize ROI for the Olympic Games partnership…clearly a lot of thought went into the development of your activation strategies.

Love the idea of branded “Olympics Size” vending machines (10 feet tall) in and around downtown Tokyo, and connecting the campaign to a cause is a great strategy (proceeds from the sale of the vending machine are donated to Rise Against Hunger and machines will feature special “thank you” signage when consumers purchase Orange Vanilla Coke)

Interesting idea to introduce a “My Rewards with Orange Vanilla Coke” program to build brand loyalty and offering a chance to win Olympic Games tickets to with a scannable code inside the cap of any Orange Vanilla Coke product. Great idea to promote the rewards program through TV ads highlighting Olympic athletes drinking the new flavor and explaining how the program works and how fans can win prizes.

Super fun idea to create a giant “bright orange and white” branded water slide in a high-traffic area (“epicenter of the Olympics”) to draw the attention of Olympic fans, nice touch to provide free samples at the bottom of the slide (smart idea to encourage fans to post videos and pictures on social media as well).

Great job. Good luck in the Final Four round!

Tappan Zee High School (New York):

So many fantastic ideas here. Great job recognizing how much clutter marketers must cut through to reach consumers and good idea to share statistical evidence to support that lead statement (the average individual sees 4,000-10,000 ads a day).

Love the idea of leveraging the popularity of Coca-Cola’s app to activate the Tokyo Olympics sponsorship and maximize visibility of Orange Vanilla Coke throughout the Games. Clever idea to change the color of the app logo to orange during the Olympics, and providing double product points to fans purchasing the product (and offers to unlock coupons) will not only boost engagement levels on the app but also increase sales.

Interesting idea to have an email campaign to encourage fans to sign up for Coca-Cola emails as “VIP subscribers”, cool idea to have emails sent from Olympic athletes thanking customers and providing them with a special offer to buy one 4 pack of Orange Vanilla Coke, get one free, with a sticker and lanyard included in their purchase.

Also, really liked the idea partnering with the Leukemia Society. Providing cancer survivors and fighters merchandise and tickets to the Olympics is a great idea for a cause related campaign tied to the Orange Vanilla Coke product rollout, and it works well with the Leukemia ribbon which is also orange.

Smart strategy to partner with Steph Curry, clearly you did some research by recognizing he already has a strong presence in Tokyo after going on a Tokyo tour last year and basketball is typically one of the most talked-about events at the Summer Games. Fun idea to offer limited addition USA Basketball merchandise in an orange colorway during the Games.

Great strategy for reaching your target audience by staging a youth basketball contest through social media. Encouraging young fans (open to any basketball team with players ages 8-16) to post videos showing how much they love the game of basketball, and Orange Vanilla Coke, for a chance to win prizes is a pretty cool idea…and a grand prize of a chance to shoot baskets pre-game on the court at the Olympic games as well as sitting in on a team practice and exchanging high-fives with players would certainly motivate fans to participate. Experience-based marketing can be a very effective tool for connecting with consumers.

Last but not least, great sampling strategy. Love the idea of pop-ups all over Tokyo in the lead up to the games, and providing samples at area hotels when they are all at capacity during the Olympics will certainly get the product in front of consumers.

Really, really well done. Great job, can’t wait to see your response to the next case study!

UPDATED BRACKET:

Best of luck to the four remaining student teams from Downers Grove North High School in Illinois, Tappan Zee High School in New York and Pinelands Regional High School in New Jersey! Here is an updated look at the bracket for SCC’s 2020 SportsBiz Madness Case Study Tournament.

SportsBiz Madness 2020: Case Study Tournament

Opening Round Recap

We received over 60 entries from students for our fourth annual SportsBiz Madness case study tournament. As always, we couldn’t be more impressed with the submissions.  Tasked with the development of a promotions plan that would help a new minor league baseball franchise based in Madison, Wisconsin reach a goal of at least 85% stadium capacity for the season, the student response was fantastic.  They demonstrated a clear understanding of the important role ticket sales plays in the financial viability of a minor league franchise, and how promotion and fan experience impact the team’s ability to sell.

We had a number of student teams that submitted particularly impressive responses to the first case study.  Unfortunately, only eight could be selected to advance to our “elite eight” round of the competition where the tournament shifts to a “head to head” format.

Of course, selecting just eight teams from our pool of entries is always extremely difficult. It was very evident that students put forth a lot of effort in creating their responses to the first case study, including a lot of background research on the Madison market, including local businesses and city/community traditions and history.  For example, one team named their franchise the “Sugar Maples”, a reference to the official state tree of the state of Wisconsin.  I was born and raised in Madison and didn’t even know that!  We also saw a number of teams incorporating either cheese, cows, capitals (Madison is the capital city of Wisconsin) or popular area lake fish (Walleye, Pike, Muskies etc) into team names, further demonstrating that the students did their homework on the Madison area.

As we evaluated each entry, it was fun to see the creativity behind all of the ideas for promotions, but ultimately we had to select the entries that best met the criteria established in the assigned case study.  One of the most critical elements (in addition to offering creative and unique promotion ideas) was to provide a clear strategic plan for how promotions would help the franchise bottom line, specifically by meeting attendance goals.  Those who communicated the best and most viable strategies were the teams selected to advance to the “Elite Eight” round.

To challenge the students even more this year, we only allowed a maximum of two pages for their promotional plan submissions. While we would have liked to see more emphasis on groups and theme nights, with a focus on driving sales, students really nailed the creative aspect of the competition. It was a bit surprising to see how few entries incorporated any digital or social components to their promotions planning, but those who did really knocked it out of the park (so to speak).

As we look ahead, eight teams will compete head to head for the chance to advance to the SportsBiz Madness Final Four.  The teams were not seeded.  Names were drawn from a hat and added to the bracket accordingly.  We can’t wait to see what the students come up with as a response to the next case study as they are asked to create a sponsorship activation plan for a brand in the lead up to the Tokyo Games this summer, assuming (and hoping) they go on as scheduled.

HONORABLE MENTION

Before we recap the opening round and announce the teams that will advance, there are a couple of items that need to be addressed.

One, it is important to note that some entries came from twelve different school districts around the country, including submissions from individual students, small groups, and full classrooms.  In some cases, an individual school submitted multiple entries.

Two, the case study was presented in a way that encouraged teams to create a promotions plan that would boost attendance for a new MiLB franchise.  Specific instructions were provided (along with a due date deadline), and teams were evaluated on how well they followed instructions, demonstrated a fundamental understanding of sports business concepts, and their creativity.  Additional consideration was given to how well participating teams researched the market (Madison, WI) prior to developing the brand.

The most common promotions featured in this year’s batch of entries:

  • Star Wars
  • Mother’s Day / Father’s Day
  • Bring your dog to the park
  • 4th of July
  • Bobblehead giveaways
  • Discounted food / concessions promotions
  • Christmas in July
  • Back to School

Of course, this does not indicate lack of creativity, just recognition of what promotions have actually been successfully attract fans to the ballpark.  This suggests participating schools did their homework!

There were a lot of great ideas this year.  We would like to recap some highlights before announcing which teams will advance to the next round of our case study tournament.  All participating teams deserve a standing ovation for their efforts…easily the best case study competition yet!

SHOUT OUTS

“Madison Muskies” – Downers Grove South (Illinois)

Paying tribute to some of the most popular symbols of the Madison area culture, this group of students from Downers Grove South High School opted to name their team the Madison Muskies and to call “Brats Stadium” home, honoring one of Wisconsin’s favorite food groups, the bratwurst. As described in the team’s promotion report: “We chose Brats Stadium because we found that Madison is home to the world’s largest Bratwurst festival and the fans love them and the city of Madison hosts a Bratwurst festival every year.” Great logo too, can see fans scooping up tons of Muskies merchandise this season for sure!

“Madison Bison” – Independence High School (Virginia)

In what might be the very best example of a classic whacky minor league marketing stunt, one entry that came from Independence High School in Virginia suggested a promotion for “Awful Night.” According to the team’s case study submission, one of the promotions on the Bison’s calendar for its inaugural season would encourage fans to wear the other team’s clothing that doesn’t match, concessions stands would serve “uncomfortable foods” and the stadium PA announcer would purposefully pronounce the names wrong. Classic minor league sports promo!

“Madison Lakers” – Wichita East (Kansas)

The Lakers offer several great ideas for some fun on-field promotions. “Chuck-a-Ball” and “Baseball Bingo” would certainly be entertaining for the fans and having each promo sponsored is a great way to generate revenue. We would have liked to see more promotions that would boost ticket sales, however, like theme nights and group sales, but loved the concepts from a game entertainment and fan experience perspective.

Here are the descriptions for the promos via the Lakers’ case study entry:

Chuck-a-Ball: Each fan will receive a foam ball with a number on it assigned to them when they enter the gates. When instructed, fans will throw their ball to a designated target on the field. The one fan that comes closest to the target will receive a prize. Sponsored by Hitters SportsPlex.

Baseball bingo: Bingo cards distributed to fans as they enter the stadium. Each card represents a play that could happen during the game – either offensively or defensively for the Lakers. For example, double play by defense or home run by offense. Keep track of the bingo card and prizes will be rewarded for the game the fan chooses to play; i.e. black out (fill the whole card), four corners, or just plain Bingo. Sponsored by Heartland Credit Union.

Nice job by the students at Wichita East High!

“Wisconsin Wedges” – Independence High School (Virginia)

First and foremost, really liked the name and though students at Independence High did a great job keeping everything “on-brand” with this case study entry. In particular, thought the concept of hosting a “Cheese Parade” to introduce the team and kick off the season was a great idea to get area fans excited about the new franchise. According to the team’s promotion plan: “The parade would consist of cheese themed floats and community engagements. Community engagements will consist of giveaways throughout the parade by the players on the team. Also, we will have a band to help send off the team to the first game. Throughout the whole month, if you visit Chipotle and mention the Wedges, you will receive one free Queso Blanco dip per visit. To promote the upcoming season for the Wisconsin Wedges, players and coaches will show up periodically to Chipotle to sign autographs and talk with the community.” LOVE the tie-in with Chipotle as a sponsor and providing resources to activate the sponsorship will certainly add value to that partnership.

Also loved the second major promotional push with the “Cheese Olympics” during the team’s 4 home game stretch in May, featuring a different event before each game. According to the team’s promo plan, the events included will be the cheese throw, cheese high jump, cheese dash, and cheese bowling. Encouraging fan participation in events like these would most certainly boost levels of fan engagement.

Really creative work from the Wedges front office, well done.

“Mendota 4ths” – Dallas High School (Pennsylvania)

The award for most unique franchise nickname goes to a group of students from Dallas High School in PA who named their team the “Mendota 4ths.” For some context, James Madison (whom the capital of Wisconsin is named after) was the 4th president of the United States, and the city is home to four lakes.

Also thought the team’s idea for a May 2nd promo, which is National Brothers and Sisters day, was pretty clever. The team announced plans to host challenges encouraging sibling competitions between innings, like a three-legged race in which the duo that wins will receive free jerseys, signed by the team’s star player Tim Givens. Between the 6th and 7th inning, brothers and sisters would participate in an egg toss competition. The siblings that make it the farthest distance without cracking the egg will receive tickets to sit front row, behind home plate at the next Mendota 4ths game they can attend.

Some good ideas here…nice job Mendota 4ths front office!

Lake Mendota Badgers – Miami Valley Career Tech Center (Ohio)

A couple of really good ideas to highlight from the Badgers’ case study entry. Absolutely loved the idea of a “fishing tailgate” (one other case study submission suggested something similar), but the concept could be really fun and a great way to lure fans to the ballpark on hot summer days in Madison.

Also liked the idea of celebrating “National Root Beer Float Day” at the stadium for an August home game. Fans love collector or commemorative items so providing a limited edition team cup to help celebrate the promotion adds a nice touch.

Overall, nice job by this group of students from MVCTC!

“Wisconsin Wildcats” – Independence High School (Virginia)

Great idea to engage in a cross promotion strategy that adds value for your fans. Recognizing that the stadium’s close proximity to Lake Mendota is one of the most valuable assets for the new franchise, the Wildcats chose to partner with a local cruise company, Betty Lou Cruise. Fans buying 10 or more tickets would be treated to a free Betty Lou Cruise on Lake Mendota.

Also like the fan engagement strategy of encouraging fans to tweet “cheesy jokes” during games for opportunities to win merchandise, and announcing the winners on the Jumbotron (and via Twitter) is a great way to bring attention to the promotion. Keeping it “cheesy” is clever as well, aligning the social media marketing strategy with the team’s cheese-related promotions. Well done Wildcats front office!

“Wisconsin Snowriders” & “Wisconsin Stingers” – Dallas High School (Pennsylvania)

Both the Stingers and Snowriders (loved this nickname by the way…one of our favorites from the competition) chose to launch “Water Balloon Night” promos, each with a different twist. The Snowriders would allow “everyone in the stands to buy water balloons at concession stands and fill em up with a free-to-use hose and throw them at anyone in the stadium” while the Stingers would encourage families to “purchase buckets of water balloons, or bring their own, and chuck them onto the field at the players after they are done playing. When the game is finished, everyone can jump onto the field and throw water balloons at each other, creating one big water balloon fight.” Fun idea, in theory, but likely too much of a logistical nightmare with some potential liability consequences as well to pull this off. Fun idea though!

A more realistic promotion might be the Snowriders plan to offer a “Slip N’ Slide Day” after one of the team’s final day game of the season. According to the team, Slip N’ Slides would be installed on the field, outside the stadium AND near the lake and fans can enjoy them for free with the purchase of a ticket to the game. Offering $1 hot dogs, drinks and fries as part of the promotion would also help to draw a crowd.

Great ideas from the Stingers and Snowriders…well done!

ADVANCING TO THE “ELITE EIGHT”:

“Madison Pioneers” – Downers Grove South (Illinois)

Cool promotional flyer from students at Downers Grove South, great idea to provide sales material that will help persuade fans to buy tickets to come out to the ballpark and enjoy the Pioneers’ promotions.

Great idea to offer a post-game concert series, and clearly the front office did their homework on the Wisconsin area by promoting a concert featuring an iconic band in the region with the Bodeans. A lesser known band would be a more affordable, making a concert series a more realistic option for the team.

Also really liked the idea of proactively establishing relationships with all the neighboring businesses prior to the season, helping to create the best possible experience for fans but also creating lots of avenues for drawing interest from area fans who are dining and shopping at stores and restaurants in the area. Nice job Pioneers!

“Mad Town Hodags” – Downers Grove North (Illinois)

To be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure what a Hodag was until I looked it up. According to Wikipedia, “In Wisconsin folklore, the hodag is a fearsome critter. Its history is focused mainly around the city of Rhinelander in northern Wisconsin, where it was said to have been discovered. It is also mentioned in several Paul Bunyan stories.” Great job doing the research by this group of students from Downers Grove North, and a nickname like this offers a ton of creative possibilities as you develop marketing strategies for the team in its inaugural season.

In addition to the name, love the social media presence and appreciate the effort to create an actual team webpage and Twitter account. Great use of hashtags to create awareness for upcoming promotions through the team’s social platforms, liked that you created real Twitter posts as well. Nice touch!

Hodags had some really good promotion ideas. All tried and true, historically proven to work at minor league stadiums around the country. Some classics like movie night, fireworks, military appreciation, Star Wars etc. Also like the celebration of several “holidays” linked to team promotions (National Cheese Day, National Hot Dog Day, National Dog Day for Bark at the Park) without the overkill of doing something at every game.

Overall, fantastic planning. No doubt this will be a successful season for the Hodags.

“Madison Mozarella Sticks” – Pinelands Regional (New Jersey):

The Mozarella Sticks (interesting name btw), will offer a great variety of seating options at various price points and targeting different demographic groups, from club level and suites to the “Twisted Path Party Zone” targeting adult fans and budget-friendly “Lawn Lounge” targeting families. All of those strategies are super important to the success of a minor league franchise.

The Sticks were also one of the few teams to submit a plan that included a range of ticket options, from groups and theme nights to mini-plans and flex packages. Great strategy when the goal is to maximize ticket sales. Also, appreciate seeing the attention to detail by including an opponent in your game-day promotional schedule along with a sponsor for each game and target audience. Overall, really well done. Nice job Pinelands Regional High School!

“Mad City Pikes” – Miami Valley Career Tech Center (Ohio):

What really stood out with the Pikes’ case study submission was the team’s overall attention to the fan experience, from parking to concessions and building strong relationships with sponsors. Recognizing that building a fan base in new markets often takes time, but investing as much energy as possible right out of the gate to offer the best possible experience for fans will go a long way in developing loyalty in the long term.

Great idea to partner with sponsors for individual game dates, and like seeing a great mix of sponsored promotions (National Have a Coke Day), creative promotions (Opening Day Merchandise Scavenger Hunt) and community / charity involvement (Cystic Fibrosis Night). Really nice job from the Pikes front office at MVCTC.

“Madison Red Foxes” – Tappan Zee High School (New York)

So many really good promotions with the Red Foxes case study entry, awesome to see the research that went into building a plan with tons of local flavor, tied to the Madison area and its culture. Some of our favorites:

  • CRANBERRY DAY: The team will wear cranberry jerseys as an honor to the state fruit and the farmers market will be outside the stadium the afternoon before the game.
  • PINK (FLAMINGO) OUT: The city bird is a pink plastic flamingo so on May 25th we will have a pink out where the players and fans wear pink to raise awareness for breast cancer, and representatives from the foundation will be present and accepting donations.
  • BACK TO SCHOOL: On August 22nd we’ll have a back to school night where college students that play baseball for University of Wisconsin-Madison will play a game on the field before the Red Fox game.
  • THROWBACK DAY: On July 23rd , the Red Foxes will celebrate Bohemian Rhapsody
    turning 45 this year, and throwback night will feature 70’s and 80’s music and style.
  • BIKE DAY: This game on June 2nd will be sponsored by Pacific Cycle. People who bike to the
    game will not have to pay for parking (which is normally $5). There is also a bike raffle.
  • WACKY WEDNESDAYS: There will be new odd food combinations available to buy every
    Wednesday, such as bacon and jelly sandwiches and melted chocolate on pizza.

Lots of variety on stadium seating options as well, creating a range of ticket prices that appeal to a variety of fan demographics while maximizing revenue for the ballclub. For example, the “Tornado Tables” (tables that seat up to four people sponsored by Tornado Steak House) provides a unique experience for fans while creating a unique sponsorship opportunity for a partnership with local businesses.

Good ideas for group ticket packages as well, love the idea of the birthday parties at games. A package that allows a family to bring a group to a game to celebrate a birthday, meet the mascot, warm-up with the players and have the stadium sing happy birthday will most certainly be a home run with fans!

Fantastic work from the Madison Red Foxes front office / Tappan Zee HS!

“Madison Sugar Maples” – Flower Mound High School, Texas

Nice variety of promotions here from the Sugar Maples front office. Offering a range of promotions allows the team to market ticket packages to fans of all ages, ultimately boosting ticket sales and helping the team to reach its attendance goal for year one. Here were a few favorites:

● Rivalry Night, come support the Maples in the first game against our rival Illinois, and receive a free Sugar Maple hat to show your support for the first 1,000 fans through the gate.
● BBQ night & tailgate, the people who attend the game on this theme night will have the chance to receive a premium pastry brush
● Brewers Night, the first 1,000 fans will receive a Christian Yelich Sugar
Maples bobblehead, and Bernie Brewer will be in attendance. Come
enjoy a fun night with the Maples and Brewers!
● Madison Sports Legend, Wesley Matthews will be in attendance for his
bobblehead night at the Sugar Maples for the first 1,000 fans through the gates! Wesley will also be signing autographs before the game. Come and enjoy the chance to meet Wesley!
● Ghostbusters Night, this is the night of chills and will spook the fans out of their shoes. On that night our team name will Change to the “Madison
Ghostbusters.” We will have custom jerseys and will pass them out to the
10 people who are best dressed as ghostbusters.

“Wisconsin Robins” – Richardson High School, Texas

Cool idea from the Robins’ front office to create a special section of the stadium for former players…will help to establish franchise legacy and shows fans a commitment to the area, sending a message to fans that the team plans to be a part of the Madison community in the long term. Also liked the triple level party deck in right field to maximize the number of premium seats available on game days.

Robins’ promotions schedule also includes all the greatest hits like fireworks, bobblehead giveaways etc. A season jam-packed with a wide variety of promos will help the team to meet its attendance goals.

Also loved the use of digital to generate excitement for the team in the first season, providing fans with a Snapchat geofilter for posting from the ballpark is a great idea. Also, smart strategy to host other non-baseball events at the stadium, helping to maximize revenue for the ballclub. Bringing food trucks to the park could also help draw more fans.

Nice job Richardson High School students!

“Mad City Moonshots” – Downers Grove North (Illinois)

LOTS to unpack here, it is obvious how much time and energy this group of students from Downers Grove North put into this project. The “Moonshots” front office put forth an amazing attention to detail throughout.

Overall, love the stadium design. Some create stuff that will offer really unique experiences for your fans, including the rock wall and hot tub suites. Nice job creating ticket options at a variety of price points, offering affordable seating one one end of the spectrum and high end premium seating on the other. Thought the YouTube video included in the Moonshots promotion plan that featured a mock up of the team’s game day starting lineup introductions (sponsored by Harley Davidson) on the stadium video board was really cool too.

Tons of really good promotions ideas here too, starting with “Moonshot Mondays” to provide discounts on slushies at concessions areas. Discounted concessions items and “themed” meal deals like Taco Tuesdays etc. provide added incentive for fans to purchase tickets and boost levels of perceived value. Liked the idea of a one game name change / rebrand to Mad City Cheese Curds in a rivalry game and an alternate logo unveiling featuring a design competition with fans will certainly be well received in the community.

Overall, fantastic job from the “Moonshots” front office / Downers Grove North students.

Here is how the bracket sets up as we move to the head-to-head round of our SportsBiz Madness case study tournament. Good luck to the remaining competitors!

SCC FFL Sports Marketing Competition – 2019 Champions

What an amazing finish…without a doubt, this was the most competitive season in the history of Sports Career Consulting’s Fantasy Football sports marketing contest.  Despite some separation in the standings in the final few weeks, the top ten teams were legitimate contenders to win this year’s championship and a standing ovation is in order for all of this years participants.  It is safe to say that a new bar was set this year, however, as we received the most elaborate, creative and comprehensive responses to the challenges that we have seen in this competition…overall, such an impressive group of kids, no doubt the result of the efforts of some outstanding sports marketing teachers.  Kudos to all for a great season!

That said, we did have a few standouts, particularly with the final challenge (digital marketing).  Congratulations to Karen Russo’s class at Hinsdale High School in Illinois for winning our 5th annual fantasy football sports marketing competition!  This is the second time they have won the competition, making them the first two-time champions in league history. Way to go Omaha Haymakers front office!

Hinsdale Central students managed to hold off last year’s champions (Kim Radford’s sports marketing class at Blacksburg High School in Virginia) the last few weeks to win the competition, no easy task considering how well the Toronto Owls’ front office performed in the sports marketing challenges . Both the Haymakers and Owls will be rewarded with pizza parties to celebrate their accomplishments and the Haymakers will get another trophy to proudly display in class.  Congrats to both schools on a job very well done.

Ed Lapp’s class at Pequea Valley HS in Pennsylvania (Kentucky Reigns) also had a great season, taking third place (highest finish in league history for a first-time participant in the competition) while Bob Kelly and his students at Waverly HS in New York (OKC Tornados) landed in fourth.  Zach Gueth’s class from Miami Valley Career Technology Center in Ohio (Dayton Cruisers) managed to hold off a late season push from Ricole Rusch’s class at Pine Island HS in Minnesota (Oregon Mountaineers) for fifth place. 

Richele Falloon’s class at Montgomery County HS in Missouri consistently performs well in this competition and this year was no exception as they were a top ten team all season, nice job from the Honolulu Hammerheads front office finishing in 7th place. John Smulowitz’s students from Dallas HS in Pennsylvania also turned in an impressive “rookie” performance as the first-time participants (Keystone Mountaineers) took 8th place. Steve Hodges’ students at Crook County High School in Oregon had their best performance ever as the Omaha Bandits front office cracked the top ten, finishing in 9th place. Rounding out the top ten was the Portland Pioneers front office, led by Stephanie Neal, as her students at Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas turned in another solid performance throughout the competition. You can visit us at masterspokerclub.com

We also have a few individual school shout-outs for the response to the digital marketing challenge below…

FRONT OFFICE “SHOUT OUTS” FOR CHALLENGE #6 (DIGITAL MARKETING):

Toronto Owls (Blacksburg HS / Virginia):

Every team had a solid digital marketing strategy in place, quality app, easy-to-use website, social media presence etc. One of the things that really stood out about the Owls’ digital strategy was recognizing the value of digital not only for sales, marketing and communication, but also for service. For example, the team developed a stadium experience survey to be deployed via the team’s app and team’s website (image below) to gather fan feedback to help meet and exceed consumer expectations on game days. Loved the proactive approach and recognition of all the ways digital can benefit from the franchise.

We have preached the importance of attention to detail throughout the competition, and nothing screams ATD like not only creating ACTUAL social media handles, YouTube channel (with REAL videos) and a website, but also smack talking the only team ahead of them in the standings through the team’s official Twitter account like the Owls did. Like every challenge response this season, the Owls’ front office did an amazing job. Congrats on a fantastic season!

Las Vegas Leopards (Wheatley School / New York):

Again, attention to detail is key, and one thing that we thought was really cool with the Leopards digital strategy was the recognition of the importance of sales. Great idea to have pop up ads for ticket and apparel specials, making sure that you are providing a value to your app users above and beyond the fantasic and robust features already included. Nice job Wheatley School students, congrats on a successful first season in SCC’s fantasy football competition!

OKC Tornados (Waverly HS / New York):

Fan engagement is the name of the game with digital, and the Tornados front office developed some fantastic strategies for connecting with fans through a myriad of different programs. Our favorite idea, among the many described, was the implementation of in-game contests like “Do You Want to Challenge the Call” through the team’s app. The contest will encourage fans to choose decisions they think the Tornado’s head coach will make throughout the game (like throwing a challenge flag) for a chance to win prizes and discounts on stadium concessions and items from the team store. Really well done, and another amazing season from Waverly high school.

Toronto Wolverines (Richardson HS / Texas):

Another great example of using digital for more than just sales and marketing, thought it was a great idea to feature the Wolverines’ mission statement on the team website. Effective communication with your fanbase is challenging, and dedicating space online to share your team values and commitment to the consumer is a smart strategy. Well done Richardson HS!

Oregon Mountaineers (Pine Island HS / Minnesota):

Lots of clever brand extensions here with the Mountaineers digital strategy, loved the creativity. Also, one of only two teams that recognized the importance of developing a distribution strategy for the app (Mountaineer Mobile) by making it available on the Apple store and Google Play store, along with a great price point (free) and commitment to content marketing.

Direct fantasy football integration seems like a natural fit, not sure why more teams don’t do something like this, and the wide variety of themed photo filters to appeal to multiple demographics seems like a great way to engage as many fans as possible.

Another successful season in the books for Pine Island High School, great job as always!

Kentucky Reigns (Pequea Valley, PA):

Loved seeing the focus on development of “interactive elements” as a strategy for boosting fan engagement from the Reigns’ front office. Also, the focus on capturing fan data was some really advanced stuff. Lots of great ideas here and an amazing run the last few weeks to shoot up the standings and finish in the top three, particularly for a school participating for the first time. Really well done Pequea Valley students!

A few highlights from this challenge response:

  • Gamification strategy with the “You Make the Coin-Call” promotion, a digital marketing tactic used to engage fans and capture fan data through the team app (sounds like fun!)
  • Digital scavenger hunt encouraging fans to connect with the team through social channels, including everything from Facebook to TikTok to maximize reach
  • Cause related campaign through social media in partnership with Ronald McDonald house for “Baby Food Challenge” (including the awesome video of you guys actually DOING the challenge…and while we appreciate being nominated to attempt the challenge, we have to pass on eating the carrot flavored baby food on camera)

Dayton Cruisers (MVCTC / Ohio):

Lots of great ideas here from the Dayton Cruisers front office, including a fantastic hashtag to share through social with #cruizetovictory, along with podcasts, trivia games on the app (what a great way to boost fan engagement levels) and pro bowl voting functionality, but our favorite was the introduction of Cruisers branded emojis, particularly the mascot. Brilliant work! Nice job all season by MVCTC students…

Omaha Bandits (Crook County HS / Oregon):

Another week, another perfect score on a sports marketing challenge for the Omaha Bandits front office who came on strong at the end of the year…unfortunately for Crook County students, they had too much ground to make up to find their way into the championship conversation. Such an impressive showing from the Bandits though…can’t tell you how impressed we were with the response to challenge #6. Way to go Bandits!

Some highlights:

  • “Dashboard Analytics” using an algorithm to capture fan data to improve their experience as they interact with your digital marketing efforts
  • Fan of the week nominations through social, great way to boost fan engagement levels
  • Player “take over” days, most definitely will increase the number of followers and keep fans engaged with team-branded content
  • Integration of augmented reality like photo ops w/ virtual players
  • Digital “scratch off” ticket program through the team app
  • “Bandit Banter” podcast show
  • Team branded trivia and “riddles” on the team’s website

Hollywood Gold Diggers (Flower Mound HS / Texas):

One of only two teams to recognize the importance of an “opt-in” with digital marketing, the Gold Diggers front office created a sms messaging marketing campaign for its fans. The key to a successful campaign like this one is content, and sharing a variety of stuff ranging from inspirational quotes from the team’s players to discounts, ticket specials and unique videos will definitely keep fans interested and engaged.

Smart strategy to feature the #TheGoldTheBold hashtag on all messaging, and love the concept of the gamification strategy on the app allowing fans to “bet” on challenges being performed on the half-time show. Overall, nice job from Flower Mound students this year!

*** SCC FFL 2019 FINAL STANDINGS ***

Important reminder for teachers:  No matter where you finished in the standings, please be sure to reiterate what a great job your students did this season.  You all made evaluating each challenge very difficult as the ideas were so creative and everyone demonstrated such a fantastic understanding of the business of sports throughout the competition. Again, this project goes above and beyond what most schools are doing in class and your students all deserve to be commended for a job well done. At the end of the day, all we really hope to accomplish with our fantasy football project is a fun way to teach sports marketing.  Hopefully we managed to do just that.  Congrats to you all, great work.

Hope to see you all again next season!

TeamPrevious PointsChallenge #6 PtsTotal
Omaha Haymakers35463453891
Toronto Owls35023503852
Kentucky Reigns34953473842
OKC Tornados34793483827
Dayton Cruisers34603453805
Oregon Mountaineers34583393797
Honolulu Hammerheads34493193766
Keystone Mountaineers34243183742
Omaha Bandits33483503698
Portland Pioneers33133353648
Toronto Wolverines32763223598
Las Vegas Dynamix32453193564
Las Vegas Aces32313053536
Las Vegas Blackjacks31993053504
Birmingham Bombers31643053469
Kansas Nightmare31013173418
Orlando Lizards326503265
Las Vegas Spades294402944
Las Vegas Leopards26183122930
Hollywood Gold Diggers25353222857
London Knights253802538
Grand Rapids Riptide251102511
Grand Rapids Loggers248802488
New Mexico Mustangs217002170
Oregon Flood207902079
Winnipeg Lumberjax135301353
OKC Young Rich Nation127101271
Anchorage Anchors8720872
WLHS5010501

SCC FFL Current Standings – Challenge #5 Point Distribution

With just one sports marketing challenge remaining (digital marketing) before we crown a champion in our fifth annual sports marketing competition, the standings have been updated as we head into the weekend and Thanksgiving Day NFL games.  It is shaping up to be a photo finish!

One of our favorite things about this competition is seeing not only how well our students grasp fundamental sports business concepts, but the effort, enthusiasm and creativity that goes into each response to our sports marketing challenges.  One of the best challenges for demonstrating that creativity is the ticket sales, promotion and sponsorship challenge…and the students did not disappoint, incorporating elements from three different chapters of our textbook while demonstrating an understanding of the importance of the sales and service function in managing a professional sports franchise.  There were so many unique and fun ideas.  We also loved seeing the mock-ups of actual tickets that their franchise would be distributing to fans…several pretty cool designs this year!

There were some great giveaway, sponsor and game day promotion ideas as well…here were a few favorites:

  • Oregon Mountaineers (Pine Island HS, Minnesota): Team branded goat stuffed animal in partnership with the Oregon Zoo
  • Portland Pioneers (Colleyville Heritage HS, Texas): “Simpsons” theme night (one of several teams to offer a Simpsons’ themed promotion) with a fun twist on a popular giveaway item: The first 20,000 fans in attendance receive a Patrick Mahomes/Simpson themed bobble head (also, all concessions will sell the famous Simspon’s pink donut with sprinkles and there will be a donut hole eating contest during breaks)
  • Kansas Nightmare (Wichita East, Kansas): A bedroom makeover giveaway sponsored by Ashley Furniture
  • Honolulu Hammerheads (Montgomery County, Missouri): Pepsi sponsoring Mini Helmet Night with the first 5,000 fans that enter the stadium receiving a replica mini helmet of the Honolulu Hammerheads. Pepsi also sends out a code if the Hammerheads win that will get you a free 32 oz. Pepsi at any gas station.
  • Orlando Lizards (Lyman High School, Florida): “Fan Spirit Contest” promotion for last home game, brilliant strategy to create a competition to ramp up the stakes to build elevated levels of fan enthusiasm and engagement
  • Las Vegas Dynamix (Little Elm High School, Texas): “Dress Like a Miner” promotion with prizes for best dressed and grand prize of seat upgrade to the team’s suite is a fun idea while creating opportunities for the team to build fan loyalty
  • Omaha Bandits (Crook County High School, Oregon): A partnership with Hershey’s to create “Bandit Bars” candy bars will provide fans with the chance to win one of five “golden tickets”, granting each lucky winner VIP team access for the season

As we have seen throughout the competition, another fantastic job by all of our competing schools…

Here are a few highlights from the ticket sales, promotion and sponsorship challenge:

Grand Rapids Riptide (Kent Career Tech Center, Michigan)

Several good ideas from the Riptide for this challenge, especially liked this promotions calendar the front office created for distribution in the lead up to the first game of the season. Smart strategy to distribute the calendars at areas with high foot traffic like grocery and convenience stores, making sure to get them in the hands of as many fans as possible. Also liked the “on-brand” special ticketing areas to provide added value to ticket holders. Nice job Riptide!

OKC Tornados (Waverly High School, New York)

The Tornados have absolutely crushed every single challenge in this year’s competition, and the fifth challenge was no exception. Will they be able to close the gap and put themselves in position to win their first SCC FFL championship? Earning the highest score for challenge #5 keeps them in the hunt…overall, super impressive ticket sales and sponsorship plan from students at Waverly High School. Really well done!

Some highlights from the Tornados ticket and sponsorship plan include:

  • Excellent job laying out a very detailed plan for how the team will advertise and promote its ticket packages, including outdoor advertising at bus stops and on billboards like the one pictured below
  • Excellent value-add for the Holiday ticket package by providing a copy of the popular Madden Football video game with the purchase of a ticket package
  • Fantastic variety of promotions, including sponsored promotions featuring sweepstakes, community-driven promotions, game day giveaways and
  • Really smart direct marketing strategy, a time-tested a proven means for reaching fans and introducing a personal selling plan will no doubt help the Tornados to pack the stands at every home game

Las Vegas Aces (Carl Sandburg High School, Illinois)

Really well organized presentation of all promotional elements for each home game for the Aces’ season, easy to communicate and share information with fans that will encourage them to buy tickets and provide visibility and exposure for sponsors. Highlighting everything from pre-game information to half-time performances and game day sponsors is a great way to keep Aces fans excited about each and every home game. Well done Aces!

Toronto Wolverines (Richardson High School, Texas)

Nice job on the ticket mock up, loved seeing some of our competing schools provide sponsor opportunities on the ticket backs as well. Great way to provide exposure for partner brands while helping to drive traffic to their place of business, putting them in position to boost sales (which is ultimately one of the key goals of their sponsorship).

Dayton Cruisers (MVCTC, Ohio)

Overall, another great job by the Cruisers’ front office…a few highlights from their response to challenge #5:

  • Great strategy to introduce dynamic pricing, will help to maximize ticket revenue in the Cruisers’ inaugural season in the league
  • Smart idea to highlight a rivalry game (according to the team’s ticket sales and sponsorship report, the Cruisers main rival will be the Kentucky Reigns, who will also be a divisional opponent) and build some promotion around that game…could certainly see some sponsors that may want to align their brand with a game like that
  • Good idea to offer mobile ticketing in today’s digital world, nice to see the attention to detail that went into creating the mock up for Cruisers’ mobile tickets

Overall, fantastic job on this challenge from the Cruisers’ front office!

Keystone Mountaineers (Dallas High School, Pennsylvania)

And the award for the strangest idea from challenge #5 goes to…the Keystone Mountaineers!

Not sure we can describe this, well, uh…unique sponsorship promotion any better than the sports marketing students at Dallas High School:

UPDATED STANDINGS:

As we head into this weekend’s games, here are the updated standings reflecting the point distribution following the response to sports marketing challenge #5 (Ticket Sales and Sponsorship Strategies). This does not include any points teams may have earned from Thursday Night’s Colts vs. Texans game. Good luck to all this weekend!

TeamPrevious PointsChallenge #5Total
Omaha Haymakers28446293473
Toronto Owls28226383460
Kentucky Reigns28306093439
OKC Tornados27406753415
Oregon Mountaineers27676423409
Dayton Cruisers27486413389
Honolulu Hammerheads27176443361
Keystone Mountaineers27106383348
Omaha Bandits26476503297
Portland Pioneers26186463264
Toronto Wolverines25916413232
Las Vegas Dynamix25696333202
Orlando Lizards25586213179
Birmingham Bombers25465763122
Las Vegas Blackjacks25415763117
Las Vegas Aces24946183112
Kansas Nightmare24746023076
Las Vegas Spades23545602914
Las Vegas Leopards19875652552
London Knights249902499
Grand Rapids Riptide19005942494
Hollywood Gold Diggers248202482
Grand Rapids Loggers245502455
New Mexico Mustangs15215822103
Oregon Flood200802008
Winnipeg Lumberjax130101301
OKC Young Rich Nation126001260
Anchorage Anchors8370837

SCC FFL Current Standings – Challenge #4 Point Distribution

Four challenges down, just two to go in our annual fantasy football sports marketing competition and it is getting crowded at the top of the standings.  Every year, this is one of the most fun challenges to evaluate, in part because we see so much creativity with fan experience strategies, but also with the attention to detail that some of our competing teams go through in designing and creating their stadiums. As always, there were several fantastic submissions this year!

Karen Russo’s class at Hinsdale High School in Illinois retains an ever so slight lead at the top of the standings. Kim Radford’s class at Blacksburg High in Virginia (“Toronto Owls”) remain in second place, while Ed Lapp’s class at Pequea Valley HS in PA continues to climb up the leaderboard. Nicole Rusch’s class at Pine Island HS in Minnesota moves up one spot to fourth place, while students at Waverly High School in New York crept into the top five.  Things are going to get really interesting as we head down the home stretch!

Overall, ALL of our participating schools have done a fantastic job with this project thus far. The responses to our sports marketing challenges have been incredibly impressive and the league office is looking forward to seeing what the students come up with for the remaining challenges! Follow along via our blog (or @sportsbized on Twitter) for updates as the season rolls along and be sure to encourage and support those schools in your local area!

Points have been distributed for each team’s response to the Fan Experience / Stadium Design component of this competition (sports marketing challenge #4). Updated standings are below as well as a few individual “shout outs” for particularly creative, unique and strategic franchise branding ideas…keep up the great work everyone!

Continue reading

SCC FFL Current Standings – (After Challenge #3)

Halfway through our annual fantasy football sports marketing competition and we are starting to see some movement in the standings with several new teams making a midseason charge toward the top.

Congrats to Karen Russo’s class at Hinsdale Central HS in Illinois for vaulting into the top spot in this year’s competition. Students in Kim Radford’s class at Blacksburg HS in Virginia slipped into a close second, separated by just a few points, with Zach Gueth’s class at Miami Valley Career Tech Center in Ohio moving up four spots this week into third place. Ed Lapp’s class at Pequea Valley High School in Pennsylvania jumped six spots in the standings to claim fourth place after the third challenge, with
Nicole Rusch’s students at Pine Island High School in Minnesota dropping from third place to fifth. Needless to say, with three more sports marketing challenges to go, it looks like we are in a for a fantastic finish this season!

Overall, ALL of our participating schools have done a fantastic job with this project thus far. The responses to our sports marketing challenges have been incredibly impressive and the league office is looking forward to seeing what the students come up with for the remaining challenges! Follow along via our blog (or @sportsbized on Twitter) for updates as the season rolls along and be sure to encourage and support those schools in your local area!

Points have been distributed for each team’s response to the Public Relations / Community Relations component of this competition (sports marketing challenge #3). Updated standings are below as well as a few individual “shout outs” for particularly creative, unique and strategic franchise branding ideas…keep up the great work everyone!

Keystone Mountaineers (Dallas High School, Pennsylvania)

Really liked the Adopt a highway “Keystone Mounts Highway” community program to help keep the area clean and the investment in a cause to reduce the organization’s carbon footprint.

One of our favorite PR stunts in this challenge was the promotion of “The Office” night and have the actor that played “Dwight” make an appearance at a home game. Encouraging fans to dress up like their favorite characters for the game could be a fun twist as well.

Toronto Owls (Blacksburg High School, Virginia)

Students at Blacksburg High School keep bringing fire for this competition, clearly working hard to become the first back-to-back champs! Lots of really cool initiatives in the Owls’ community relations plan.

Also, always appreciate seeing classes that go above and beyond the requirements for each challenge, in this case submitting multiple press releases (rather than just the one that was required) detailing all the team’s community relations efforts for the season. The attention to detail throughout this competition is one of the main reasons the Owls’ front office continues to excel and remain atop the standings. Let’s see if they can maintain that lead with several other teams in hot pursuit!

Omaha Haymakers (Hinsdale Central High School, Illinois)

An absolute haymaker from the haymakers as they vault into first place in this competition on the heels of a fantastic response to the third challenge.

Hinsdale Central students created several perfect press releases with unique community twists (loved seeing them printed on team letterhead too…great branding). Great job doing the research on team demographics and creating an event that caters to your fanbase with a fishing tournament, donating all proceeds to charity obviously a great gesture by the franchise and connecting the team and event with a sponsor like Bass Pro Shops was a great decision.

Really liked seeing the franchise participating in a NFL themed PR campaign as well, great job doing the extra research. The #MyCauseMyCleats campaign will certainly engender some goodwill within the community, and the league’s support of the program will provide tons of additional publicity for the Haymakers’ campaign. Awesome job!

Birmingham Bombers (Kellam High School, Virginia)

Really cool idea to host a fan fest to build excitement for the team as it joins a new community…this is something teams do all the time, great thinking Kellam students! Some highlights from the program:

  • Team meet and greet with Bomber fans with photo opps and autographs
  • A field goal contest against the Bombers’ kicker
  • Dunk tank with chance to dunk Bombers’ players
  • Opportunity for kids to learn a dance from the “Bombettes” (dance team) along with view a live performance from them

Well done Bombers’ front office, keep up the good work!

Kentucky Reigns (Pequea Valley HS, Pennsylvania)

So we have seen some pretty creative media guides and press kits in the past for this competition…but NEVER have we received, in the mail, an actual hard copy of a media guide…OR two complimentary tickets to one of the team’s games.

Seems the Reigns PR department is really focused on forging a positive relationship with local media for the team’s inaugural season. Really well played by the Reigns front office, so many impressive components here, including a staff directory assigning front office roles to all the students in class.

Such an impressive response to the PR/community relations challenge in this competition…standing ovation for Pequea Valley sports marketing class!

Kansas Nightmare (Wichita East HS, Kansas)

It is always fun to see unique ideas in this competition, and the Nightmare provided one of the most unique community events we have seen. Hosting a community pickleball tournament is a great way to engage your fans, and enlisting two of your star players to participate will no doubt generate a ton of publicity for the franchise. Nice job tying two challenges together by recognizing pickleball as a family-friendly sport, fantastic synergy with the family friendly branding strategy from the previous sports marketing challenge. Good stuff from the Nightmare front office!

Portland Pioneers (Colleyville Heritage HS, Texas)

Really liked the “Children’s Day” event supported by the Pioneers’ front office, the commitment to consistent visits to the local children’s hospital will go a long way in bringing smiles to local children each and every month.

Also thought the “Simpson’s Day” promotion was a pretty cool idea, definitely would generate some buzz in the community and opens up some creative ways to engage fans. Nice job Pioneers!

Omaha Bandits (Crook County High School, Oregon)

Wow! What an impressive response to this challenge from the Bandits front office! Some really cool ideas here, including a community BBQ to raise money for a charity, featuring team personnel and players, at a sponsors’ location. Smart on several levels. Also thought the football camps were a fun idea, and loved the “cleat design competition” for area youth as part of an education initiative. Lots of great stuff here, but the delivery is what really sold this, ultimately helping the Bandits’ achieve one of the highest scores for this challenge with a live video of a team press conference announcing these programs. The kicker? The team even included a branded press conference backdrop. Again, attention to detail in this case was off the charts. REALLY well done Bandits! Looks like your front office is making a late season charge toward the top of the standings!

Honolulu Hammerheads (Montgomery County, Missouri)

Some fun ideas here from the Hammerheads, love the consistent focus on the brand, tying several of your community driven programs to the team’s original branding strategy. Pre-game community luaus could be a big hit with your fan base, and really thought the recognition of the important role social media has on public relations efforts was a great demonstration of how well MC students are grasping the key sportsbiz concepts.

Last but not least, loved the idea of a weekly e-newsletter…great recognition of how content marketing can help communicate key information to fans and the value of content marketing. Really well done Hammerheads…don’t sleep on this front office, they could be making a late season run!

Dayton Cruisers (MVCTC, Ohio)

For those who are new to this competition, look no further than MVCTC to see how much your class can improve year-to-year in this competition. In one of their best challenge responses to date, the Cruisers’ front office developed a fantastic PR strategy/communications plan.

Some highlights:

  • Groundbreaking event for new stadium
  • Not only implementing breast cancer awareness events, but creating a line of merchandise to help generate revenue to donate to a worthy cause
  • Recognition of ways social platforms can amplify the community involvement message
  • Donating both time and money to help aid victims of tornados that have ravaged the community (#DaytonStrong)
  • Connecting with NFL’s Play360 community programs
  • Dayton “Triangles” publicity stunt in celebration of the NFL’s 100th season
  • An ACTUAL, FUNCTIONAL website to help answer fan questions and communicate information relating to the team’s efforts within the community, including a bio for every player and team schedule…clearly Cruisers staff put a lot of time into this challenge!

Amazing to think this is the first time a class has come up with the idea of a “groundbreaking event” to help build enthusiasm for the new team within the community (to our recollection anyway) but what a savvy decision from the Cruisers front office. Keep up the great work Dayton front office and you’ll keep cruisin’ up the standings!

UPDATED STANDINGS (INCLUDES POINT DISTRIBUTION FOR RESPONSE TO SPORTS MARKETING CHALLENGE #3):

TeamPrevious PointsChallenge #3Total
Omaha Haymakers13265821908
Toronto Owls12856171902
Dayton Cruisers12816011882
Kentucky Reigns12546251879
Oregon Mountaineers12885771865
OKC Tornados12136251838
Keystone Mountaineers12545801834
Omaha Bandits12036191822
Oregon Flood12095911800
Honolulu Hammerheads12145791793
Portland Pioneers12155761791
Toronto Wolverines12265421768
Birmingham Bombers12005681768
Las Vegas Dynamix11965461742
Las Vegas Blackjacks12105231733
Hollywood Gold Diggers11865211707
Las Vegas Leopards11715321703
Orlando Lizards11725311703
London Knights11475321679
Grand Rapids Loggers11355341669
Las Vegas Aces11325241656
Kansas Nightmare10865671653
Las Vegas Spades10925441636
Grand Rapids Riptide11461146
Winnipeg Lumberjax11131113
OKC Young Rich Nation10981098
New Mexico Mustangs671671
Anchorage Anchors629629
WLHS275275

SCC FFL Updated Standings (After Challenge #2)

Congrats to the students in Kim Radford’s class at Blacksburg High in Virginia for maintaining their lead and remaining in first place in our fantasy football sports marketing competition, although several teams are closing the gap!

Karen Russo’s class at Hinsdale Central High School in Illinois (the “Omaha Haymakers”) currently sits in second place while Nicole Rusch’s students at Pine Island High School in Minnesota remain in a very close third. 

As always, ALL of our participating schools have done a fantastic job with this project thus far. The responses to both sports marketing challenges have been fun to read and the league office is looking forward to seeing what the students come up with for the remaining challenges! Follow along via our blog (or @sportsbized on Twitter) for updates as the season rolls along and be sure to encourage and support those schools in your local area!

Points have been distributed for each team’s response to the branding component of this competition (sports marketing challenge #2). Updated standings are below as well as a few individual “shout outs” for particularly creative, unique and strategic franchise branding ideas…keep up the great work everyone!

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SCC FFL Current Standings – Challenge #1

Our annual fantasy football competition places an emphasis on how well students respond to six sports marketing challenges (like mini case studies), not how well the players perform during the games.  While we recognize picking players and setting lineups is fun, our focus for this competition is seeing how well students demonstrate a fundamental understanding of the core concepts from our textbook while finding creative ways to market and brand their expansion franchise throughout the season.  Every year we see some amazing ideas in this competition, and if the response to our first sports marketing challenge is any indication, this could be one for the ages!

Congrats to the students in Kim Radford’s class at Blacksburg HS in Virginia for currently sitting in first place in SCC’s fantasy football sports marketing competition. The “Toronto Owls” front office is picking right up where they left off as they work to defend last year’s championship. Karen Russo’s class at Hinsdale Central High School in Illinois, another previous champion, is in a very close second place while Nicole Rusch’s students at Pine Island High in Minnesota are in a very close third, aided by one of the top scores from the first sports marketing challenge.  Really impressive effort from ALL of our schools as the competition kicks off…can’t wait to see what they come up with this season.

We have a few shout outs for individual schools in recognition of their responses to the first sports marketing challenge for this week:

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