Case Study Competition: Final Four is Set!

“Elite Eight” Competition Recap

As SCC’s case study competition moved into the head-to-head tournament round, remaining teams were asked to create a fan engagement strategy for the Northwestern men’s basketball team.  Following the most successful season in the program’s history, students were tasked with the goal of leveraging the team’s on-court success to boost ticket sales, merchandise sales and sponsorship through fan engagement.

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 developing strategies for the off-season that would continue to tap into the momentum created by the Wildcats’ fantastic 2016-17 season.

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 from an entrepreneurial perspective so it will be exciting to see what they come up with.  Stay tuned! Continue reading

The Social Sixteen (Infographic)

Last year, the North Carolina men’s basketball Twitter account had 303,000 followers when they advanced to the Sweet Sixteen.  This year?  Nearly 575,000, an impressive increase to say the least.  Even more impressive is the increase seen by their rival Duke who enjoyed an astonishing 503% increase from last year at this time. While the Blue Devils were stunned by South Carolina and eliminated before they could reach the Sweet Sixteen, a million new Twitter followers in the last year might serve as a nice consolation prize.

But where do the rest of the teams remaining in the NCAA Tournament stack up?  This infographic, created with the help of sports marketing students from Helena High School in Montana, provides a nice summary as we gear up for the Sweet Sixteen!

Social Sixteen: Which Remaining Teams Have Biggest Twitter Following? (Infographic)

The fact that Syracuse basketball, ranked by Forbes last year as the sixth most valuable NCAA basketball program in the country, has just  25,000 Twitter followers could be the upset of the tournament.  An unexpected Final Four run could change all that.  Case in point?  4,000 new followers this week alone.

But where do the rest of the teams remaining in the NCAA Tournament stack up?  This infographic, created by sports marketing students from Helena High School and Capital High School in Montana, provides a nice summary as we gear up for the Sweet Sixteen!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Twitter (and other social media platforms) have a unique ability to manufacture “holidays”, finding reasons to celebrate something just about every day.  With today being Dr. Seuss’ birthday, it is only fitting that “DrSeussDay” is currently trending on Twitter.  Perhaps not coincidentally, #WednesdayWisdom” is also trending.

I love this.  If you think about it, Dr. Seuss should be credited with the creation of the first “motivational poster” through his illustrations and wisdom shared in his books.  Today provides a seamless and fun opportunity for teams to create motivational messaging to share with their fan base.  An inspirational post is more powerful than traditional content in the sense that it creates an emotional connection to the brand.  Tying a message to something as simple as #DrSeussDay and #WednesdayWisdom creates an authentic and organic means for reaching fans of all ages.

Surprisingly, few teams have jumped on the opportunity thus far.  A quick scan of my timeline shows a limited number of posts with #DrSeuss hashtags.  Considering how many teams participate in anything from #NationalToastDay to #LEAPDAY, it seems a bit surprising that more teams haven’t taken advantage of the opportunity today’s “holiday” provides.

That said, here are a few examples of how the sports business business world is taking a moment to pay tribute to the great Dr. Seuss.  If you think about it, Dr. Seuss is actually the originator of the “motivational poster” we see so often in sports through the illustrations and wisdom shared through his books.

The Carolina Panthers’ mascot is all in on #DrSeussDay!

Dartmouth Hockey took a moment to recognize Dr. Seuss as one of the school’s most influential alumni.

The Houston Astros posted a motivational image for fans.  This seems like a slam dunk idea for any team today.

The Houston Texans posted a vine with a player hopping out of the tunnel to start a game with a reference to a Seuss classic, “Hop on Pop.”  Adding visuals like vines and gifs can create an even stronger emotional connection with fans.

This image was posted on NBA on TNT’s Twitter account with the caption “Starring Splash 1 and Splash 2” in tribute to the Golden State Warriors’ “Splash Brothers.” Pretty clever.
Creating content worth sharing through social channels is always a challenge.  Creativity can be key when trying to capture the attention of fans so kudos to those who have jumped on the #DrSeussDay train today.

#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 (http://www.uwathletics.com/befrank).  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…

 

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.

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The Latest Viral Dance Craze

Today’s post comes courtesy of Griffin Booth, Sports Career Consulting’s blog manager.  CONGRATS to Griffin for being accepted into Major League Soccer’s sales academy.  I know you will do very well and would like to wish you the best as you continue to pursue your dream job!

Back in August, SCC featured a blog post about how the song “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jespen took over music entertainment. Her video became so catchy and popular that many athletes imitated the musician’s performance by creating video parodies. The commercial success generated by the video resulted in success within many social media outlets. Another song recently went viral on social media and took the world by storm. However, the latest trend has gotten even more viral then “Call Me Maybe” and even taken out “Gangnam Style”. Yes, we are talking about “Harlem Shake.”

Once the Harlem Shake hit the Internet scene in early February, its popularity and growth in social media markets has been exponential. The song itself reached the number one spot in the US billboard top 100, as well as reaching the number one mark in both Australia and New Zealand. While there are many different parodies of the Harlem Shake video, I want to primarily focus on how it has affected the sports scene. From NBA to NASCAR, the Harlem Shake has had an impact many segments of the sports industry. Here are a few examples of this video has crossed over to the sports world.

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