Opening Round Recap
We received 72 entries from student “teams” participating in our inaugural case study competition and 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 85% stadium capacity for the season, the student response was incredibly impressive. Students demonstrated a clear understanding of the important role ticket sales play 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 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 was 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, a number of teams named their franchise the “Madison Flamingos”, a reference to Madison’s “official city bird”, the yard flamingo. I grew up 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 and Sturgeon) 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.
However, we did want to acknowledge a few teams that were on the outside looking in. We referred to that group of entries as our “Sweet Sixteen”. Eight of the “Sweet Sixteen” teams were so close to moving on in the competition to the next round that we felt they deserved some recognition.
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 fan engagement strategy for a college basketball program during the offseason… Continue reading