Are athletes role models?

This week, Peyton Manning was in the news for something other than throwing touchdowns or winning football games. In an open letter to the Broncos’ star QB in the Indianapolis Star, it was revealed that Peyton Manning responded to a letter from a fan with stage four cancer by requesting to meet her, flying her and her husband to last weekend’s game in Denver, providing them field passes and spending a few minutes with the couple during pre-game. An amazing gesture that provides an example of how influential athletes and celebrities can be in our culture when they decide they want to help make the world a better place.

Then, the next day, it was announced that P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens (one of the best and highest-paid players in the NHL) donated ten dollars to a local children’s hospital. Yes, you read that correctly. $10 MILLION. Sure, he will make $72 million over the span of his contract, but that’s an incredible contribution that will help make a difference in the lives of many, many children.

Other sports stories making headlines this week? Rutgers suspended their head football coach three games for NCAA rules violations. The UFC banned one of their top athletes for FIVE years after his third positive test for marijuana. One of the NHL’s biggest stars denied any wrongdoing in a sexual assault investigation. Soccer’s International governing body (FIFA) fired a high level executive after allegations of unethical behavior. And in a story that just won’t go away, the NFL filed papers to clear the way for an appeal in the already infamous “deflate-gate” scandal.

The point? Sports CAN provide feel-good stories from time to time. Athletes can and often do have a positive impact on their communities. In an era where it doesn’t always seem to be the case, not all the news needs to be negative…

1993 Nike commercial featuring Charles Barkley

In 1993, NBA star (turned announcer) Charles Barkley was featured in an ad that was at the time deemed to be very controversial in which he declared that he was not a role model. The commercial sparked a fierce debate as to whether athletes and celebrities should be perceived as individuals that children should look up to…that debate has never quite been settled. However, in today’s day and age, with an increase in player salaries, influx of new social media channels and explosive growth in the number of media outlets, athletes are under the microscope now more than ever.

So, ask your students in class:  Should athletes and celebrities should be considered role models?

Fantasy Football in the Classroom

Exciting news!  We (Sports Career Consulting) are introducing an inaugural fantasy football competition with our member schools in an effort to create an engaging, interactive educational environment in sports marketing classrooms throughout the U.S. and Canada.

To enter, students will first be challenged to draft a team based on a “salary cap” to demonstrate a basic understanding of finance. Each team will then earn points throughout the season via player performance AND a series of weekly “sports marketing challenge” activities issued by the league office (Sports Career Consulting).  Each challenge is designed to encourage student development of sports business strategies for their “franchise” in several key areas, including:

  • Finance
  • Branding
  • Stadium/Facility design & management
    • The Fan Experience
  • Marketing
    • Promotions and digital marketing
  • Ticket Sales
  • Sponsorship
  • Understanding the consumer & the marketplace
  • Public Relations / Community Relations / Fan Relations

After reviewing each franchise’s weekly submission, points will be assessed by the league office, ultimately impacting each team’s position in the standings.  The weekly sports marketing challenge activities will have just as much (if not more) impact on overall points than player performance so students will be encouraged to develop a sound strategy before submitting their ideas!

We will be posting the standings each week on our blog so stay tuned!

Twitter in the Classroom

With school officially back in session, we wanted to dig into the archives and re-post a previous commentary on Twitter in the classroom…the post was an informal interview with Mr. Ryan Durrett, the sports and entertainment marketing teacher at Lake Oswego High School in Oregon, conducted by former SCC intern Griffin Booth (now with the LA Galaxy) and we explored Twitter as an educational tool.  

Be sure to follow SCC @sportsbized and @BizDRett!

SCC:  Thanks for taking some time to share some of your best practices with us Ryan.  If you don’t mind me asking, how long have you been teaching?

RD: I started teaching marketing seven years ago at Lake Oswego High School, eventually  helping to integrate a sports marketing class into the curriculum.  I also teach advertising, advanced marketing, and AP economics.

SCC:  How do you use Twitter as an instructional tool?

RD:  I started using Twitter about two years ago for my sports marketing class because sports and entertainment brands, specific artists, entertainers, athletes…they are all on there.  It is a huge media outlet for all of them and provides them with a great platform for connecting with fans (consumers).  I felt that, if that is where the industry is, that is where we need to be as well.

I primarily engage students by re-tweeting current events/developments within the industry and by looking for relevant stories that might be help illustrate some of the concepts we have explored in the classroom.

Students are always active with social media platforms. If you can have them have in contact with sports and entertainment marketing outside of classroom, that’s just more teaching for them beyond the normal class period.

SCC:  Do your students follow you on Twitter?

I don’t make them follow me because I don’t want to force interest from the students.  I think it’s important that the whole social media component is natural and authentic.  I’ve found that doing contests/fun trivia helps to really keep students engaged and active. I try to keep things pretty simple and avoid posting links to long articles, unless it is something I deem to carry particular relevance to whatever we’re currently discussing in class.

SCC:  What are the advantages and disadvantages to Twitter from a teacher’s perspective?

I think the biggest advantage is creating an outlet for continued communication with students, encouraging them to continue learning outside of class.  The number of students interacting with me on Twitter has grown tremendously. Three years ago, I asked my class of thirty two students to raise their hands if they were active on Twitter and only three raised their hands.  Two  years ago, that number jumped to over twenty. That’s when the foundation of interest and involvement really started.

The biggest disadvantage is definitely the issue of privacy.  I only follow those within the industry, and I don’t use it as a personal forum. Students follow me, but I don’t follow them because I don’t want to risk breaching their privacy. I also don’t use Facebook. It lacks valuable content and is used for more of a social forum.

SCC:  How do you think Twitter will impact the future of education (from a teaching perspective)?

It has already evolved a ton and will continue to do so.  While I’m not a fan of all social media platforms in the world of education, some can provide teachers with some real value, especially when used in engaging ways. With the way our students are right now, the amount of information you can retrieve from a mobile phone, we have to be a little more open minded on how to engage them, and not be afraid to put a spin on traditional education models.

To my knowledge, no other teachers within our school have adopted this style of teaching, which makes our class kind of unique. Obviously, subject matter can make a difference.  Tracking business industry trends via Twitter works for sports, business, marketing, etc., but it isn’t necessarily going to work for math teachers.

SCC:  What advice would you offer other teachers who are hesitant to embrace Twitter as an educational tool?

Perhaps the best advice I can offer is to not to be intimidated.  Once you create your account and get set up, it really isn’t much additional work. Even if you don’t need it (or want) to engage students, there will still be a wealth of information right at your fingertips which can be integrated into your curriculum and lessons.

When it comes to interactions with students, my advice would be to reflect your own personality. You have your own unique style and authenticity and don’t have to fake anything. Whatever your personal style is in classroom should translate to how you engage students with your tweets.

SCC:  Thanks again for sharing your insight with us Ryan.  I’m sure there are a lot of teachers out there looking for ways to get started on Twitter but aren’t sure where to begin so hopefully this helps them take that first step!

Griffin Booth is in his first year as Sports Career Consulting’s Blog Manager.  He is a recent Washington State University graduate where he majored in communications with an emphasis in broadcasting.  Booth began his career as an intern with sports radio 950 KJR in Seattle where he was responsible for managing the show’s podcasts.  He later gained experience as a news anchor, producer, and reporter for Cable 8 news in the greater Pullman area. In addition to his role with Sports Career Consulting, he is currently an intern with Washington State University’s Cougar Athletic Fund, helping to raise money for student-athlete scholarships.  Born and raised in Seattle, Booth is a huge fan of all Seattle sports. For any questions, comments, or feedback please feel free to contact Griffin by email at  You can also follow him on Twitter @gbooth6.

The Gamblers

Fair to assume that both fantasy football and bracket “office” pools are forms of gambling, no?  And as the numbers illustrate every year, March Madness and the Super Bowl are two of the biggest sporting events in the World.

I’m not sure there is a real metric in place that could provide an accurate measure of the value both fantasy football and bracketology carry for each respective mega event, but there is no question they have helped fuel the explosive growth over the years.

The American Gaming Association estimates that 40 million Americans will fill out more than 70 million brackets, more than the number of ballots cast (nearly 66 million) for President Barack Obama in the 2012 election.  According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association, 41.5 million Americans played fantasy football last year.

In the grand scheme of things, for as much as we love the cinderella story, the dominant brands continue to end up on the winning side.  In the NFL, the New York Giants and New England Patriots have appeared in the Super Bowl 9 times in the last 12 years.  Since 1992, only SIX teams have won the NCAA men’s bball championship that were not seeded number one.  Of those six, two teams were a two seed, two were three seeds, one was a six seed and last year’s UConn team was the real outlier as a seven.

So, that leaves us to wonder, would the Super Bowl or March Madness enjoy the same remarkable success without a little push from the gambling U.S. public?  Just food for thought as you fill out your brackets…

#BeFrank Player of the Year Campaign

The Wisconsin Badgers have a done a great job all year promoting Frank Kaminsky as a NCAA Wooden Award candidate (given to the nation’s top player each year).  The marketing efforts along with his play have helped solidify him as the leading candidate to win the award.

The Badgers athletics program has been updating a unique microsite (promoted through their various social channels using the hashtag #BeFrank) linked to their athletics homepage all season long (  Adding the social element has given the campaign more legs as it enables brands and media outlets to get involved (see the screenshot featuring tweets from Champs Sports and Sporting News below).  It also, allows them to maximize fan engagement such as their efforts on Instagram to congratulate Kaminsky on being named as a finalist for the award and share Vines featuring highlights throughout the season.

The site itself includes a brief video, media clips, accomplishments throughout the season, including his academic achievements and commentary regarding his character.  There is no question that having a player from your program win any award, particularly something as prestigious as the Heisman or Wooden award.  It certainly gives the program’s brand a big boost, especially on the heels of having another player from the program finish as runner up in this year’s Heisman race in Melvin Gordon (the Badgers used the hashtag #MelvinMoment to promote his campaign).  It is always interesting to see how an Athletics program promotes individual success but this particular campaign, to be frank, looks to be a winner.


Leveraging Free Agency (DeMarco Murray Edition)

After withstanding a firestorm of criticism for their free agent moves thus far in free agency, the Eagles made a major splash on the FA market with the signing of rival Dallas Cowboys’ RB DeMarco Murray.  To maximize the publicity generated by the move, the team naturally took to almost all of their social platforms with Murray related posts.  The only omission was Pinterest (screenshot below).

Interesting to note that the team now carries three explosive running backs on the roster and they parlayed that into the hashtag “Legion of Zoom”, a spinoff of the nickname for the Seattle Seahawks defense who is dubbed the Legion of Boom.  At the time of this blog post, that Instagram image alone had already received 28,500 likes and nearly 1,500 comments.

All in all, pretty well measured campaign to cap off an exciting free agency for the Eagles as they continue to overhaul the entire team…they have easily been the most talked about NFL franchise in the last week…both in the media and through social channels.  Check out the gallery below for more…


Leveraging Free Agency

How are teams leveraging their moves in free agency to generate excitement with their fan base?  Look at the Bills’ trade for LeSean McCoy as an example.  Look how many times these posts have been favorited and shared.  Notice the push to sell jerseys already.  No doubt they’ve seen an uptick in ticket sales as well, depending on available inventory.  Curious to see how other teams respond after a wild first day of free agent signings…


NBA Salary Explosion: SCC Original Infographic

Check out our second official SCC branded infographic, demonstrating the growth of the NBA based on salary comparisons of “marquee” players who have won the NBA’s Slam Dunk and Three Point Shooting contests over All-Star weekend. Hope you enjoy the results! Thanks to Laura Bennett at Curvity Design for developing the graphic…great work Laura! Follow her on Twitter at @curvitydesign and on Facebook at 

To view a larger version of the image, visit SCC’s web page at or our Pinterest page at


Winner of SCC’s NBA All-Star Sports Marketing Scavenger Hunt

Congrats to Austin Norton in Julie Frey’s sports marketing class at Manheim Township High School in PA for winning our NBA Sports Marketing scavenger hunt competition by answering all 20 questions correctly and being the first to submit them. Way to go!

Props to Alex Mancini for finishing in a 1st place tie, as soon as you let me know which school you are with, I will send your gift card to your teacher.

Nice job to the DECA students in Christy Flanigan’s sports marketing class at Santa Fe HS in Oklahoma for their runner up finish, missing just 1 out of 20 questions…

Thanks to ALL who participated! Winners, your prizes will be sent to your teachers in tomorrow’s mail…