SCC FFL Sports Marketing Challenge #3 Recap & Updated Standings

Halfway through our annual fantasy football sports marketing competition and we are still seeing quite a crowd at the top of the standings.

Congratulations to Kim Radford’s students at Blacksburg HS in Virginia for moving into first place, edging Bob Kelly’s class at Waverly High School in New York by just one point. Matt Kazba’s students at Grant HS in Oregon are just two points off the lead with several other schools still within striking distance .

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 school’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!

Waverly High School, NY (Toronto Thundercats)

Really loved seeing the commitment to community as part of the Thundercats’ overall PR plan by establishing a “12 month presence plan.” Making sure to be involved all-year long, including the off season, will most certainly ingratiate the franchise with the fan base, weaving the brand into the fabric of the community along the way. As summarized by the franchise in their communications plan: “The Toronto Thundercats understands the road to success is a two-way street.” In other words, students at Waverly High recognize the importance of making a positive impact on the community to build a loyal fan base that will support the team through thick and thin. Really well done!

Miami Valley Career Technical Center, OH (Miami Valley Aviators)

Lots of good ideas here from MVCTC students with the third sports marketing challenge, with some sound strategies for establishing a presence throughout the community, including a street fair, kids camp and a volunteer clean up initiative.

We also loved seeing some of those initiatives being highlighted on the Aviators’ website (students created an actual website to demonstrate some of the franchise concepts). Really great stuff from the Aviators’ front office!

Wichita East High School, KS (Wichita Wolves)

One of the more creative community programs from this round of the competition was introduced by students at Wichita East High School in Kansas. Here is the description from the Wolves’ community relations plan: “On October 30, 2021 the Wichita Wolves football organization will host the first annual Halloween Field Day at Field of Screams in Wichita.  Time for the event will be 5:30 – 9:00 p.m.  Along with the maze there will be games such as witch hat ring toss, ghost stacking, tic tac monster, pumpkin carving, and a costume contest.  Admission for the event will be $20 per individual and $35 for families of 3 or more which is good for games and activities.  Proceeds from the event will go to the Wichita Children’s Home.” Great concept from the Wolves’ front office!

Hanford High School, WA (San Diego High Tides)

Loved these custom High Tides camo t-shirts on Military Appreciation Night to help raise awareness AND funds for veterans from Hanford High students…very cool! Also loved some of the other initiatives, inncluding the Fuel Up to Play 60 to promote youth activity and exercise, sending players to local children’s hospitals, and sustainability. Nice job High Tides front office!

Blacksburg High School, VA (Salt Lake City Pioneers)

Beginning with a fan code of conduct, the Pioneers’ front office submitted a fantastic communications plan in round three of this competition. We loved seeing a proactive approach to communicating fan expectations to help establish the best possible fan experience on game days…great idea. The first of MANY in this challenge for the Pioneers.

Other standout ideas from students at Blacksburg High School included:

  • Team partnership with Preservation Utah, including some of the team’s players volunteering as tour guides to help raise awareness for the program
  • Support for a foster care system to help generate awareness and funding by donating proceeds from sales from the team store on game days
  • Aligning with the “Play Like a Girl” charity by leveraging the team’s position as an NFL franchise owned by women to support a program that encourages middle school girls to play sports and pursue careers in STEM…great job maintaining consistency throughout all challenges thus far by continuing to place an emphasis on supporting gender equality at every turn
  • Encouraging players to establish foundations, then helping raise awareness for those causes through a variety team platforms
  • Proactively preparing staff for a crisis management plan on the off chance a public relations crisis were to occur

Really nice job by the Pioneers’ front office!

UPDATED STANDINGS AFTER CHALLENGE #3

SchoolTeam NamePoints Possible
Blacksburg High SchoolSalt Lake City Pioneers747
Waverly High SchoolToronto Thundercats746
Grant High SchoolPortland Pines745
Miami Valley Career Tech CenterMiami Valley Aviators742
Green RunVirginia Stallions739
Richardson High SchoolSalt Lake City Mountaineers733
Lyman High SchoolRhode Island Ragers731
Helena High SchoolSalt Lake City Stingers731
Mount Si High SchoolSan Diego Surge730
Montgomery CountyMexico City Chupacabras729
Wichita EastWichita Wolves728
Woodbridge High SchoolPortland Bears727
BFA St AlbansPortland Hurricanes726
Hanford High SchoolSan Diego High Tides722
Elizabethtown High SchoolDover Divas722
Bigfork High SchoolBirmingham Bullfrogs714
Lake TravisAustin Aztecs712
Kellam High SchoolNew York Racoons712
Little ElmPortland Racoons487
Carl Sandburg High SchoolNew York Yorkers473
Victor J Andrew High SchoolPortland Lumberjacks473
Chanute High SchoolAustin Rebels240

SCC FFL Sports Marketing Challenge #2 Recap & Updated Standings

Two challenges in and we still have a crowded leaderboard with just a few points separating the top teams thus far. One thing that has really impressed thus far is how well our new (“rookie”) participants have performed…nearly everyone is still in the mix for a run toward the top of the standings.

Points have been allocated for the second round of sports marketing challenges (branding) and updated standings can be found at the bottom of this post. However, we wanted to highlight a few of the creative and innovating branding ideas submitted by some of our schools this round. Keep that momentum going everyone!

Wichita East High School, KS (Wichita Wolves)

We really enjoyed the detailed approach to developing the team’s logo in alignment with the brand identity the Wolve’s front office is working to establish for the inaugural season for the franchise.

From the team’s branding report: “Wichita Wolves’ team colors are red, blue, white, and grey. The red, blue, and white come from the Wichita flag that was created 5 years ago. The grey accents come from the typical color you see of a wolf. Our logo is a wolf’s paw with the Wichita flag blended in behind the paw. The word Wolves under the picture tells fans and competition who we are.” We also liked the inclusion of a slogan for the season “Hear Us Howl” and the hashtag #WOLVESNATION to help unify the fan base and build excitement for the new franchise. Well done by students from Wichita East!

Richardson High School, TX (Salt Lake City Mountaineers)

One of the best ideas from all the challenge #2 responses came from students at Richardson High School. In both challenge #1 and again in challenge #2, the Mountaineers’ front office has been commited to establishing a community-first approach to marketing the new franchise. What better way to do that than commissioning local artists to help with natural brand extensions within the stadium. The work created by local artists will offer a cool amenity at games, no doubt adding value to the fan experience, while generating a true community connection with the franchise. Very cool.

We also loved the “Salt Lake Shake” game day tradition when the home team runs out of the tunnel during introductions. According to the team’s branding report: “It’s where everyone in the stadium follows along with our spirit group, The Mountain Boys, to do a dance reminiscent of the Harlem Shake trend, while the team runs out of the tunnel and the “Salt Lake Shake” song plays. The song is a parody of the Harlem Shake, and instead of the word Harlem, it is replaced with “Salt Lake.” The Mountain boys are a group of 5-6 guys who have been going to the games since they became a team. They are known for the funny dances and crazy outfits that they wear to every game.” Sounds like a lot of fun for the home fans! Overall, we are loving the creativity from the Mountaineers front office so far!

Miami Valley Career Tech Center, OH (Miami Valley Aviators)

We loved the Aviators’ “Earn Your Wings” slogan as a way to encourage commitment from everyone around the franchise; from the players (who will be rewarded with a wings sticker to put on their helmets for positive performances) to the front office and the fan base. Cool idea!  

We also loved the support of a cause with the introduction of an alternate uniform. The Aviators’ front office plans to outfit the team in purple and blue uniforms to represent suicide awareness for selected home dates during the season, along with developing a program to increase awareness in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Last but not least, we really like the idea of the implementation of a loyalty program to begin building a rabid fan base in the team’s first season. To encourage loyalty, the team plans to offer a Flight Club point card. Fans earn loyalty points when they use their card to purchase tickets, merchandise, and food or beverages. Earning points creates eligibility to redeem for cool prizes and unique behind-the-scenes fan experiences for the most loyal customers. Really well done MVCTC students!

Blacksburg High School, VA (Salt Lake City Mountaineers)

One of our favorite slogans from this challenge was presented by students from Blacksburg High School, encouraging Mountaineers fans throughout the Salt Lake City region to “Hop on the wagon!” Seems like a greaty rallying cry to build support for the franchise in its inaugrual season. There was so much here to appreciate from the Mountaineers front office strategic branding plan, but a few things that stood out:

  1. The thorough and comprehensive effort to expose as many people as possible to the brand, from the top of the organization all the way to the fans, including game day staff like these “uniforms” for ushers and customer service reps. This suggests the organization has a commitment to establishing a very “classy” brand!
  2. Love the idea of an “on-brand” song during player entrances (a Remix of “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker) in which the franchise plans to partner with the country music star on a team-branded version that will inlcude Salt Lake, Utah and the Pioneers of the West. The Mountaineers front office suggests the song “relates to our brand because the song is about Rucker making a grand journey, just like the Pioneers.” Similarly, the team’s victory song will be “Bad Reputation” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. According to the team: “This song is about not caring what others think and challenging ideas about what made women “bad” back then. The song fits with our brand of innovating and pushing to the future.” And speaking of innovation, the franchise even plans “innovative” on-brand food and beverage offerings at games, as highlighted in the team’s positioning map (helping to brand the franchise as affordable entertainment for the whole family). Well played Mountaineers!

Woodbridge Senior High School, VA (Portland Bears)

Many teams chose to feature the establishment of game day traditions as brand extensions as part of an overall branding strategy. One of the traditions we loved came from students at Woodbridge Senior High with the “Bear Cub Crawl” where area youth would be invited on to the field pre-game decked out in the team’s jerseys while Bear Paw megaphones would be distributed to fans entering the building to cheer them on.

This provides a great fit with the team’s “community first” branding strategy and aligns with the Bears’ focus on building a family friendly franchise which they outlined in challenge #1 when developing their marketing plan. Nice job Portland Bears front office!

BFA St. Albans, VT (Portland Hurricanes)

Who knew the students at BFA St. Albans were already brand experts prior to this competition? Pretty cool to see the research that went into the development of the Portland Hurricanes brand, particularly with the decision on team colors. Per the team’s branding report submitted for challenge #2, the Hurricanes leaned on psychology to help determine the color scheme.

According to the team, the color blue will command respect from other teams” while building fan loyalty by providing the fan base with confidence that the Hurricanes are a “reliable” franchise. Gold was included because it evokes the feeling of prestige, while its meaning is derived from illumination, wisdom and wealth and symbolizes high quality. Yellow shades are shades that call attention to themselves. Yellow helps refresh memories.

According to a release from the team, “Having gold in our logo would make our logo memorable to the fans and rivals as well. It also has the physical effect of energizing, improving moods, and encouraging communication. The gold will literally get the fans hype.” Really good stuff from the Hurricanes front office!

Green Run High School, VA (Virginia Stallions)

Overall, a very thorough, creative and comprehensive branding strategy from the Stallions front office. A few standout ideas from Green Run students in challenge #2:

Team Name

The Stallions front office bsolutely nailed the team name, diving into some research about the community to establish a name that the community can rally around. From the team’s branding report: “This name exemplifies the history and future of Virginia where scenic horse trails, elite competitions, thrilling races, hunts and the Chincoteague ponies have established Virginia as a horse loving state.Virginia’s horse industry had already established itself as the birthplace of some of America’s first horse legends and breeds. In fact, Virginia’s partnership with horses began back in 1610 with the arrival of the first horses to the Virginia colonies. For almost 400 years, horses have contributed to the state’s economic success and stability. Today, the role of horses has changed dramatically, yet horses are still a vital economic factor influencing the lives of millions of people who reside in and visit Virginia. This brand will tie together the history, future, and community of Richmond, our capitol and Virginia.. This will boost levels of fan engagement and still generate revenue for success.”

Player Safety

This might be the first time we’ve seen an emphasis on player safety incorporated in response to our branding challenge. According to the Stallions brand report: “Our uniforms are a classic look with a sleek fit. Our helmets are state of the art with safety in mind. We will use helmet covers called Guardian Caps. These helmet covers are designed to dissipate the dangerous energy of repeated blows to the head. They snap on top of the players’ regular helmets, providing two levels of protection.” That’s really cool, and some seriously next level thinking.

Hidden Logo

The mane of the horse from the team logo is designed in the shape of waves to represent Virginia’s beautiful coastline, while the team reports the lines to represent the James River connection to Virginia commerce and the city of Richmond.

Hidden in the Virginia Stallions’ primary logo are the letters “V” and “A”, representing the state of Virginia.

Earlier this school year, we shared a branding lesson that featured “hidden logos” in sports, and it seems Green Run students were paying attention! It was awesome to see them apply what they learned in a previous lesson to this project…great job Stallions front office!

Waverly High School, NY (Toronto Thundercats)

Sometimes the attention to detail in these challenges is the difference between a championship season and a top ten finish…the Thundercats front office have really raised the bar with an incredibly detailed brand strategy, right down to team letterhead and business cards.

Among other highlights:

  • One of just a few schools to create a secondary logo to use for alternate branding AND help maximize merchandise sales
  • Launching an advertising campaign to help ESTABLISH the brand (remembering this is a NEW franchise to the area) with a memorable campaign to raise awareness with glow-in-the-dark billboards featuring the team’s slogan for the inaugural season, “Light It Up”
  • Wide variety of merchandise items featuring items that will certainly be hot sellers in the area, including everything from team-branded facemasks to cornhole boards emblazoned with the team’s logo
  • Inclusion of a brand positioning map to illustrate the team’s strategy for establishing brand image

Overall, Waverly students submitted one of the top responses to challenge #2 and have maintained an ever-so-slight margin at the top of the standings. Great job so far Thundercats!

Helena High School, MT (SLC Stingers)

One of our favorite uniform designs submitted in this round of the competition comes from students at Helena High School. According to the team’s branding report, helmets will be blue with the honeycomb pattern with accents of yellow, black, silver, and white.  The Stingers’ logo is featuered on the side of the helmet.  

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Hanford High School, WA (San Diego High Tides)

Students at Hanford High have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability through two challenges, and it culminates with an on-brand game day tradition that seems to have a lot of potential on many levels. The High Tides “Bucket Towards Sustainability” is a tradition that encourages fans to donate money to add a cup of water to a giant team-branded bucket that, when full, would be dumped on a local sports celebrity or member of the High Tides franchise wearing a High Tides raincoat or poncho (presumably also available for sale online or at the team’s stadium pro shop). Of course, all proceeds would then be donated to environmental sustainability efforts. Nice job High Tides front office!

Elizabethtown High School, PA (Dover Divas)

In addition to an awesome on-brand concessions menu with “Make-Your-Own” hot dog offering along with the signature “Diva Dog” (hot dog topped with pasta salad that includes grilled vegetables, parsley, and feta cheese that comes from local farmers), the Divas’ front office came up with a great brand extension idea. The team plans to offer “make-your-own” dog kits in supermarkets and grocery stores, creating an opportunity to showcase the team’s locally sourced food product, its brand, and sustainability initiatives all at once. Love it!

Great ideas Elizabethtown High School students! Keep them coming!

Grant High School, OR (Portland Pines)

The highest scoring response in this round of challenges, Grant HS students submitted an absolute master class in branding. From thoroughly researching the best possible color schemes for the brand to an array of creative brand extensions, the Portland Pines front office proved they are in it to win it this year.

Some highlights from the Portland Pines’ branding report include:

Logo

From the team’s report: “Our shield logo represents how the Pines are protectors of our community and the environment. The shield design is inspired by the forest service patch and includes a strong and bold letter P to highlight the first letter in Portland and Pines. The tree shape with strong bold and clean edges represents a pine tree, while also mixing in a “saw tooth” look along the edge to represent the toughness of the franchise.”

Stadium Food & Beverage

As “on brand” as you can get in Portland for a stadium concessions item, along with a clever name… Introducing the Organic Ice Cream “Pine Cone”- $8.49 

PINE NUT PRALINE SORBET — saint-honoré

Team Colors

The green represents the green throughout nature and our eco-friendly vibe. The black represents power and elegance, while serving as a good accent to our nature theme. The white represents purity and optimism, while the beige color represents wood and a team that’s flexible and dependable.

Brand Extension

The Pines’ branding report is full of fantastic brand extensions, many aligning with the team’s mission statement and commitment to sustainability, highlighted in the marketing plan from challenge #1. For example, the stadium will feature a giant fir tree in the front of the building for players and fans to hug for good luck (and to take photos to post to social media, tagging the franchise using its slogan as a hashtag). Other brand extensions included the team’s woodwind band section walking around downtown Portland before games to get the fan base pumped up, and a halftime promotion that features a contest where fans will attempt to toss a pinecone in a wood barrel to prizes.

A FANTASTIC job from Portland Pines front office!

UPDATED STANDINGS AFTER CHALLENGE #2

SchoolTeam NameTOTAL POINTS
Waverly High SchoolToronto Thundercats498
Blacksburg High SchoolSalt Lake City Pioneers497
Grant High SchoolPortland Pines496
Green RunVirginia Stallions495
Miami Valley Career Tech CenterMiami Valley Aviators495
Lyman High SchoolRhode Island Ragers492
Richardson High SchoolSalt Lake City Mountaineers492
Helena High SchoolSalt Lake City Stingers490
Montgomery CountyMexico City Chupacabras490
Mount Si High SchoolSan Diego Surge488
Little Elm High SchoolPortland Racoons487
Elizabethtown High SchoolDover Divas486
BFA St AlbansPortland Hurricanes485
Wichita EastWichita Wolves485
Woodbridge High SchoolPortland Bears484
Hanford High SchoolSan Diego High Tides481
Bigfork High SchoolBirmingham Bullfrogs479
Lake TravisAustin Aztecs477
Kellam High SchoolNew York Racoons474
Carl Sandburg High SchoolNew York Yorkers473
Victor J Andrew High SchoolPortland Lumberjacks473
Chanute High SchoolAustin Rebels240

SCC FFL 2021 Season: Sports Marketing Challenge #1 Scores & Review

It is amazing to see how far our schools have come in this competition from the inaugural fantasy football challenge project seven years ago to today.  Despite the presence of several brand-new schools to the program, every team really delivered in response to the first challenge.  If this effort is any indication of what to expect this season, it looks like the 2021 SCC FFL sports marketing competition will be one for the ages!

For this challenge, we wanted to see how thorough and detailed students would be with the development of a marketing plan for an expansion pro football team. This report included a SWOT analysis, revenue and expense projections, and an economic impact report. We also evaluated responses to our first sports marketing challenge based on creativity, and city/franchise nickname selection.

While everyone came to play, we have a few shout outs for individual teams in recognition of their responses to the first sports marketing challenge of this year’s competition. 

We have a long way to go, however, as this challenge had a total number of possible points of 250.  Last year’s winning team from Blacksburg High School scored a total of nearly 1,500 points.  The competition is wide open after challenge number one!

Blacksburg High School (Salt Lake City Pioneers)

Defending (and two-time) champion Blacksburg High School has set the tone for a run at another SCC FFL title with a fantastic response to challenge #1.  We love the idea of an expansion team owned by women.  According to the Pioneers’ front office: “When choosing our owners we went local and chose Gail Miller and Whitney Herd. Gail Miller was born in Utah and runs over 65 different car dealerships. She is worth $3.2 billion is the former owner of the Jazz, so she has experience in the sports ownership business.  Whitney Wolfe Herd is the founder of Bumble. While the company is headquartered in Texas, Herd was born and raised in SLC until she moved for college. She is worth $1.3B USD and will offer great insight as an entrepreneur and digital marketer.”

Overall, another great start to this competition from students at Blacksburg HS. 

Little Elm High School, TX (Portland Racoons)

We always love the creative energy from Mr. Hutley’s classroom in Texas, and it looks like we can expect more of the same this year from his students.  We loved the Portland Raccoons’ marketing plan, and can’t wait to see what they come up with in the branding challenge.  If the team’s slogan for the inaugural season “All Gas, No Brakes” (according to the front office, racoons are the “All Gas, No Brakes” animal of the forest since they are active day and night) is any indication, this year might be a wild ride!

Montgomery County High School, MO (Mexico City Chupacabras)

Overall, a nice response to the first challenge from students at Montgomery County High School.  Mexico City is a great market, one the NFL is currently focused on developing as an opportunity to grow the game internationally.  Great job researching the city in coming up with a nickname, and really appreciate the attention to detail.  The Chupacabras front office tracked down actual player salaries for this year, managing to build a roster of competitive and marketable players while remaining under the salary cap.  Well done!

Miami Valley Career Technical Center, OH (Miami Valley Aviators)

The Aviators’ front office really impressed with the response to this year’s first sports marketing challenge.  Students from MVCTC went into great detail in researching demographic information, communicating that information with a nifty infographic.  Aviators’ also offered a great look at how the franchise would impact the local economy, again with an infographic to illustrate the plan. Good stuff.

Great breakdown of stadium location and why it will provide a benefit to the city, along with a plan for financing the new facility. We appreciate seeing the detailed revenue forecast, and love the marketing mix application. Some of the “Top Gun” themed traditions and promotions (“Top Gun Award” for the fan with the most spirit will win a game ball signed by the team and the tradition of playing the song “Danger Zone” while the players are running out) could be a lot of fun. Nice job MVCTC!

Waverly High School, NY (Toronto Thundercats)

Students at Waverly High School in New York offered the support for the decision regarding which city would be home to an expansion franchise, offering a variety of details on why Toronto will be a successful market for a new football team.  Take for example the Thundercats’ front office analysis of the current economic climate in Toronto:

  • Gross Metro Product: $72 Billion (annual growth rate of 2.2 percent)
  • Average Household income: $65,829
  • Regional/Metro Household Income: $78,373
  • Average Home Price: Exceeds $1 million
  • Unemployment: 10.1% highest rate in Canada
  • Job Growth: has increased by .5%
  • Cost of Living: Estimated to be 27.4% less expensive than NYC
  • College Educated: 22.4%
  • High School Diploma: 86.3%

We also thought the Thundercats featured the most descriptive SWOT, and a very thorough marketing mix as part of the team’s overall marketing plan.  Very well developed plan by the students at Waverly HS!

Lyman High School, FL (Rhode Island Ragers)

Lyman High School became the first group in SCC FFL history to base a franchise in Rhode Island, an interesting choice.  Given the level of improvement we have seen in this competition year-to-year from these students, it will be fun to see if the Ragers’ front office takes the next step and makes a run at a championship.  If the response to challenge #1 is any indication, we expect big things from Lyman High School this year!

One of the things that really stood out with the Ragers’ marketing plan was the creation of both short- and long-term marketing goals.  Not only were those goals measurable, but they also included a specific action plan for reaching those goals.  For example:

Short-term goals

  1. Sell 100,000 jerseys within the first month of the 2021-2022 season by offering promotions for merchandise on the team’s online shop, along with advertisements for jerseys around the stadium.
  2. Increase social media engagement by 10% each week of the 2021-2022 season by posting at least 5 times a day on all social media, and at least 15 posts on game days.

Long-term goals

  • Obtain 1 million total social media followers across all platforms by staying active on social media accounts throughout the season
  • Gain 30 million dollars from corporate sponsors by the start of the 2022-2023 NFL season by maintaining a good public image while aligning the brand with local business and national corporations

Excellent job by the Ragers front office!

BFA St. Albans, VT (Portland Hurricanes)

We learn something new about a city every year from students as they develop their marketing plans for an expansion franchise in a new market.  This year, we learned the name Oregon is derived from the French word meaning windstorm or hurricane…fun fact and one that offers some validation for the selection of a team nickname.  As part of the Hurricanes’ front office marketing plan, BFA St. Ablans’ students clearly invested a lot of time and energy in researching the Portland market, identifying the city as a good option for sponsorship opportunities as it is home to various Fortune 500 companies such as Nike, Columbia Sportswear, Precision Castparts, Lithia Motors, and StanCorp Financial Group.  Really nice job from these “rookies” who are participating in this competition for the first time!  We look forward to seeing what the Hurricanes front office comes up with for the next challenge…

Green Run High School, VA (Virginia Stallions)

The data uncovered by Green Run students as they researched some financial information to aid in the development of the team’s marketing plan was really impressive.  For example:

  • The lowest paid NFL coach makes close to $5,000,000 a year
  • The highest paid coach makes approximately $20,000,000 per year

The Stallions’ front office used that data to establish an appropriate budget for hiring a head coach in the team’s inaugural season, suggesting they will seek to attract a young but successful new coach with a salary of $8,000,000 per year.

Rather than relying on hypotheticals, Green Run students went above and beyond to learn more about the industry and help them to make educated budget decisions as they created a marketing plan.  That type of attention to detail always lends itself well to finding success in this competition, and it feels like Green Run is well-positioned to challenge for a championship as they compete in SCC FFL for the first time.  Fantastic effort from the Stallions front office!

Grant High School, OR (Portland Pines)

Really like seeing some realistic expectations for establishing first year goals, and appreciate seeing the research that went into the development of those goals.  Some examples:

  • Our goal is to sell out all 60,000 seats at our home games
  • At just under the average number of seats in an NFL stadium, we will present a luxury experience for all fans.
  • For our stadium architecture we will hire the same architects who made the Carbon 12 Condos in Portland Oregon because they are made from new fire-retardant wood (also making the new stadium ecofriendly by using recycled wood, in line with the team’s marketing strategy of positioning the franchise as an eco-friendly destination).

We also loved to see the Pines’ front office create goals relating to viewership and recognizing the importance of streaming when it comes to the new landscape of negotiating rights deals, particularly when determining how the franchise will maximize revenues.  Great job from students at Grant High!

Mount Si High School, WA (San Diego Surge)

In the last three years, Jeff Bezos has been linked to at least four different NFL teams as a potential investor.  Choosing the billionaire as owner of the Surge seems like a great choice by Mount Si students, and those deep pockets could certainly help as the team invests in building the long-term success of an expansion franchise.

Fantastic breakdown of the impact the new team will have on the San Diego economy, and research from the Surge front office helps support those projections (according to the student response to this challenge, on average, each NFL team opens around 3,800 jobs for individuals that work directly with the team).

We also really liked some of the marketing goals established by the Surge front office, offering an advanced look at how an expansion football franchise might approach the development of a marketing plan, including:

  • Generate high-quality leads
  • Maximize consumer satisfaction
  • Develop brand partnerships
  • Increase customer value
  • Improve SEO

Quite a response from another group of newcomers to this competition…very well done Mount Si students!

Helena High School, MT (Salt Lake City Stingers)

Yet another new participant in this competition, Helena High School students knocked it out of the park with their response to the first sports marketing challenge.  Overall, the Stingers front office established some great goals as part of the team’s marketing plan.  Both measurable and actionable, the team has ambitious yet realistic goals for an expansion franchise in its inaugural season in a new market.  One of those goals was to build awareness for the team, with actionable items to generate and grow levels of support throughout the community.  The infographics provided a nice touch!  Great job Stingers!

SCC FFL 2021 STANDINGS AFTER CHALLENGE #1

SchoolTeam NameTotal Points
   
Waverly High SchoolToronto Thundercats250
Blacksburg High SchoolSalt Lake City Pioneers250
Lyman High SchoolRhode Island Ragers249
Green RunVirginia Stallions248
Miami Valley Career Tech CenterMiami Valley Aviators247
Helena High SchoolSalt Lake City Stingers246
Grant High SchoolPortland Pines246
Montgomery CountyMexico City Chupacabras245
Richardson High SchoolSalt Lake City Mountaineers245
Bigfork High SchoolBirmingham Bullfrogs244
Mount Si High SchoolSan Diego Surge243
Woodbridge High SchoolPortland Bears243
Little ElmPortland Racoons241
BFA St AlbansPortland Hurricanes241
Wichita EastWichita Wolves240
Chanute High SchoolAustin Rebels240
Hanford High SchoolSan Diego High Tides240
Elizabethtown High SchoolDover Divas239
Carl Sandburg High SchoolNew York Yorkers238
Lake TravisAustin Aztecs236
Victor J Andrew High SchoolPortland Lumberjacks235
Kellam High SchoolNew York Racoons235
Kent CTC 0
Cazedonia High School 0
West Forsyth 0
Landstown HS 0
Edison High School 0

SportsBiz Madness 2021: Case Study Tournament Champions!

Thanks to our judges!

An extra special thanks to Alex Dobson, an executive with DNA Seattle (a Seattle-based advertising agency), Dr. Jim Strode, Chair, Department of Sports Administration and Associate Professor at Ohio University, and Scott Soles from Nike (an avid volleyball coach, player and fan), for taking the time to review, evaluate and offer feedback for the championship round of this tournament.

The perspective from successful industry pros and an academic institution with the pedigree of Ohio University offers an invaluable educational experience for our students and our teachers. The feedback from all three provides fantastic context for not only the teams who advanced to the championship round of this year’s competition, but also the students and teachers following along in their own classrooms.

Thanks guys!

Championship Round Recap

After receiving nearly 100 entries for SCC’s 5th annual high school case study tournament, we finally crown a champion…

The case we distributed for the championship round presented students with the challenge of developing strategies to grow the popularity of a niche sport. The two finalists were tasked with creating a plan for boosting awareness of “footvolley” and finding ways to get sports fans excited about a sport many have never heard of. We were excited to see what our championship teams came up with and they did not disappoint!

Both groups had a lot of really creative ideas that we felt would definitely help elevate footvolley awareness and give the sport’s popularity a boost. The strategies were thoroughly developed with a solid plan for execution in place, and we were certainly impressed with the level of research that went into each submission. It is always tough to decide on a winner, and the finalists certainly made it difficult to determine this year’s champion.

Downers Grove North High School, Illinois

Overall, Downers Grove North students developed a very thorough strategy for building interest and boosting awareness for the sport. The plan was very comprehensive, and we appreciated the group recognizing the value a national sponsor could offer to attract new fans. DGN put forth an incredibly consistent performance throughout the competition, nailing each and every case study challenge they were presented with. Very, very impressive work.

Some feedback (and highlights) from our judges:

  • SOCIAL MEDIA 
    • Social media campaign on rules, ways to play, etc. could be effective depending on who and how that message is being delivered. There is a lot of really “average” content in the world, competing for everyone’s attention. How will this campaign capture consumers’ attention and imagination?
  • VIEWERSHIP 
    • Judges liked the easy (and “free,”) access for people to watch via live streams on YouTube, and the ability to reach a global audience. How will you promote so that people know to go watch?
  • PARTICIPATION 
    • One of the biggest challenges for footvolley is the sport’s insane degree of difficulty.  Developing a strategy to boost participation levels is a tall order, and while there were some good ideas from both teams, we didn’t quite feel like either group came up with a game-changing solution.
    • One idea, however, that felt like it might have some traction is your plan to seamlessly integrating avenues that would encourage participation at the youth level (in the schools!) and make it a part of their lives so they are familiar with the game.  In particular, the judges liked the concept of adapting to make Footvolley an indoor sport, allowing the game to be taught in physical education classes.  
  • SPONSORSHIP
    • While Hilton seems, on the surface, like a natural fit as a partner, are there beaches at every, or enough, Hilton Resorts across the country to create enough of a national footprint for Footvolley? 
    • More importantly, does this demo fit with Hilton’s core consumers?
    • That said, judges were intrigued by the idea of establishing an exclusive membership reward/incentive angle here for the sponsor. It provides them a potential benefit for their loyal guests and could potentially create some potential FOMO (fear of missing out) for consumers who don’t usually stay at a Hilton Resort.
    • What makes more sense, however, is pursuing more youthful brand alignments (Puma, Mikasa).  As a use of facilities, Hilton makes sense. However, as a sport that is targeting itself in youth, late night programming, this feels like a potential disconnect.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA
    • We felt like you missed the mark just a bit here with a social strategy.  Rather than hoping for a viral moment to help put the sport on the map, a more comprehensive social media plan would be far more practical and effective in the long-term.  Also, how will you build your followers?
    • We liked your Instagram examples, including the nickname idea to help make it easier for fans to recognize the athletes. Stars sell in sports and this could help to build a following.
    • Pretty cool to see your TikTok post – nice to see your athleticism on full display!
  • SEGMENTATION
    • The judges felt DGN students did a great job segmenting the market geographically by developing customized marketing messages for cold weather vs. warm weather consumer markets
    • However, we felt this group could have done a better job evaluating demographic data and offering a more robust segmentation strategy
    • While the geographic segmentation makes sense from an advertising perspective, why didn’t you apply the same strategy with the offering of footvolley clinics?  We would have liked to have seen that strategy developed just a bit further.
  • GRASSROOTS EFFORTS 
    • Olympic adoption would be a great way to raise broader awareness and we liked an approach that leverages a sponsorship to help drive more participation to help meet requirements for Olympic consideration. This would be a massive undertaking and investment on behalf of Footvolley and Hilton, though.
      • Grow The Game initiatives are important in almost all major sports to keep the pipeline of consumer interest. Other than the school curriculum integration, what other ways/avenues could you activate young kids to start playing this game?
  • ENDORSEMENT 
    • Perhaps the most glaring omission from your overall strategy was a lack of athlete or celebrity endorsers, or even social media influencers.  You recognized the footvolley is a cross between soccer (arguably the most globally recognized sport in the world) and volleyball (with a smaller, but no less loyal fan base). Why not tap into the popularity of both sports to help grow this one by enlisting the support of athletes, celebrities and other influencers?

Green Run High School, Virginia

We felt like this was a well-constructed plan from the “rookies” in this competition at Green Run High School. They also did a superb job aligning with the curriculum and course materials to develop a plan that will help grow the sport of footvolley. At the end of the day, this competition is designed to teach students key, fundamental sports business concepts. Green Run certainly demonstrated a high level of proficiency here. Great job!

Some feedback (and highlights) from our judges:

  • SWOT ANALYSIS
    • Remember, it is not necessary to use full sentences in these analyses, it is more efficient to use bullet points which allows for a more thorough assessment.  However, your attention to detail was appreciated by all the judges.  Also, remember that strengths and weaknesses are internal to the organization while opportunities and threats are external.
  • AWARENESS, EDUCATION & GROWTH
    • We absolutely LOVED that you managed to connect with an actual footvolley athlete.  Your interview with Neil T Harrison was smart—it provided you with some quality information on the sport, allowing you to make informed decisions about how you will raise awareness and educate fans about the exciting world of footvolley.
    • One of the things that really stood out to the judges was your ability to plan for both short-term growth and develop long-term strategies.  Slowly adding new tour stops in beach markets makes sense as accelerating growth too quickly simply isn’t feasible given the limited resources.  
    • Establishing a presence at events like Pharrell’s Something in the Water beach festival, tailgates with sand and portable nets at Major League Soccer stadiums, and marketing around the 2026 World Cup in the USA makes a ton of sense.  We would have liked to have seen the inclusion of some volleyball events, however, and at least some focus on tapping into the international appeal of both sports to grow build awareness globally.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA 
    • How do you intend to be visible on social media platforms outside of the examples you provided?  You don’t want to limit your reach by narrowing your focus on just a few platforms.  For example, Pinterest could provide a great way to reach potential fans with the backdrop of beautiful beaches and amazing athleticism.  
    • We loved seeing a defined and measurable goal of increasing footvolley’s following by 50% in the metro areas of all Pro Footvolley Tour stops in 2021.  Not only will this allow you to create a more streamlined social media strategy, but also offers a powerful evaluation tool as you set your sights on both short and long-term growth for the sport.
    • Overall, we felt it was a good use of utilizing UGC to help tell the FV story and allow consumers to imagine (or actually see) themselves as part of the game.
      • We thought it was a fun idea to make a challenge video and send it to high schools in targeted areas to see who has the best footvolley skills.  Seems something like this could be a huge hit on TikTok!
  • POSITIONING
    • The judges felt this an important component to your marketing plan.  Carefully positioning the Footvolley brand as a “new, innovative, challenging and fun geared toward fun loving athletes.”  Fun speaks to consumers in ways that encourages participation and offers the intrigue necessary to capture the attention of sports fans who might be looking for a new sport to support and follow.
  • SPONSORSHIP
    • You did an excellent job seeking sponsors that fit your target audience.  It makes sense to align with companies that resonate with younger consumers (Hurley, Sun Bum, Yeti) while offering a natural extension of the footvolley brand with “beachy” products.  Lots of synergy there and everybody wins with partnerships like these, including the fans, the sport of footvolley and the sponsors.  
    • We really liked seeing an activation strategy that aligns with your marketing strategy as well.  Establishing leagues at breweries, amateur beach tournaments etc. will increase awareness, and the positioning strategy where watching is as fun as playing makes a lot of sense.
  • SEGMENTATION
    • We thought you did an excellent job doing the research on demographic data for the sports of volleyball and soccer.  That is a smart plan when determining your target market and will certainly pay dividends as you deploy your footvolley marketing strategy.
  • VIEWERSHIP 
    • As discussed in the Downers Grove North review, YouTube is obviously a fantastic way to broadcast footvolley to fans around the world.  However, is YouTube the only way you plan to broadcast the sport?  As a side note, the idea for this case study came from a footvolley broadcast…on ESPN.  Also, with so many streaming companies clamoring for content that will attract viewers (like DAZN, FloSports, FuboTV), seems you may have missed a big opportunity here.
  • PARTICIPATION 
    • As discussed earlier, one of the biggest challenges for footvolley is the sport’s insane degree of difficulty.  Developing a strategy to boost participation levels is a tall order, and while there were some good ideas from both teams, we didn’t quite feel like either group came up with a game-changing solution.
    • While we absolutely loved the local brew pub partnership (the commercial was awesome), how eager do you think novice fans will be to come out to the pub and try to play?  Will the novelty wear off too quickly?  Also, we would have liked to have seen a strategy for growing the game not just nationally, but internationally from a participation perspective.  Encouraging participation at a local pub isn’t going to move the needle much.
  • ENDORSEMENT 
    • You absolutely nailed it on this one.  Bringing the voice of iconic global soccer stars to the game of footvolley will most certainly boost interest. Nice job doing the research to learn that soccer players like Brazil legend Ronaldino believes footvolley will become an Olympic sport offers tons of credibility, and tapping into that positive affiliation/affinity for the game the game provides an excellent use of influence.

AND THE WINNER IS…

Congratulations Green Run High School!  You are the champions of our fifth annual SportsBiz Madness Case Study Tournament!

From the competition’s judges:

We were all very impressed with the overall approach taken by Green Run students to elevate the sport of footvolley. Setting up clear KPI’s at the beginning and a clear articulation of education strategy is what really separated your case study response from the competition in the final round. We also felt like this group was very consistent, thoughtful and accurate with their recommendation on who and what to align their brand with on many levels.  Last but certainly not least, it was evident these students went the extra mile in this competition.  Tracking down an actual footvolley athlete to interview for ideas and input was genius, and a collaboration with a local business was really cool to see.  

Congrats again to ALL of this year’s participating students. This tournament will go down as the biggest and most competitive in the five year history of SportsBiz Madness. Thank you for competing and we look forward to seeing your school again next spring!

SportsBiz Madness: 2021 Case Study Tournament (Championship Round)

Thanks to our Judges!

An extra special thanks to Alex Dobson, an executive with DNA Seattle (a Seattle-based advertising agency), and Dr. Jim Strode, Chair, Department of Sports Administration and Associate Professor at Ohio University for helping to evaluate the Final Four round of case study competition entries.  Gaining perspective from seasoned industry professionals and an academic institution with the pedigree of Ohio University offers an invaluable educational experience for our students and our teachers.  The feedback from both (read the post below for more) provides fantastic context for not only the four teams who battled it out in the Final Four round of this year’s competition, but also the students and teachers following along in their own classrooms.

Great stuff. Thank you so much gentlemen!

The Championship round is set!

After receiving nearly 120 entries for Sports Career Consulting’s fifth annual “SportsBiz Madness” high school case study competition, we are left with just two teams.  

For the Final Four round of this competition, our competitors were tasked with the development of a sponsorship activation campaign for a brand recently acquired by Coca-Cola (Body Armor) surrounding the upcoming Summer Games in Tokyo to help the brand gain market share in the sports drink marketplace.  

To find out who advanced to the championship round in this year’s tournament, please read on…

Props to all our Final Four competitors!

Determining which students would advance to the final round of the competition was an extremely tough call. All competitors delivered strategic and insightful ideas, and showed an excellent grasp of sponsorship. As always with these kinds of “pitches,” you’re at the mercy of what the judges biases are or what they are most interested in–which is to say that if you aren’t moving on to the next round, it doesn’t mean your ideas were off target or wouldn’t be effective. The reality is, sometimes big brands get it wrong, or focus on the wrong things. So, just keep trusting your instincts, continue learning, push forward, and get ready for the next opportunity. You should all be proud of how far you have come in this tournament!

FINAL FOUR ROUND RECAP: 

As general feedback, one key critical observation (perhaps a little advanced but something to consider): While the recommendation of leveraging the new Coca-Cola/Body Armor relationship makes a ton of financial sense given Coca-Cola’s scale and budgets (and kudos to GRHS for being up on current beverage industry happenings), a brand like Body Armor will need to be extremely careful just how much they align their healthy and performance-driven product with a product that is considered far less healthy and doesn’t have the natural connection to athletic performance. More likely is that both brands could combine their Olympics budgets, while telling separate stories, to extract more promotional opportunities and added-value from Olympic organizers (i.e., LEVERAGE). Just some perspective on how an agency would likely approach a strategic activation tied to the Summer Games…

Pinelands Regional High School (New Jersey) vs. Green Run High School (Virginia)

The slipper still fits for students from Green Run HS, newcomers to this competition, as they knock out the defending champion Pinelands Regional High School from this year’s tournament! Congratulations to Kerri Sabo and her students at Green Run High, you are moving on to the final round…

Some feedback from our judges:

In addition to presenting a good grasp of the elements that make up a successful sponsorship, Green Run brought a ton of really fun ideas/executions to the table  and packaged those up in a visual presentation with actual content executions (2 videos!) that they went and produced/designed. Sponsorships like the Olympics are incredibly expensive, so exhausting as many activations as possible is important to squeeze the most value out of an Olympic sponsors large investment. 

Some highlights:

  • Local athletic community tie-in with YMCA across the country
  • VR activation and partnership with Oculus
  • Giveaway-Mask with purchase promotion
  • Retail “Olympic Podium,” activation in grocery stores
  • Virtual (and digital invite-only) torch lighting party (and the social media push behind the promo to enhance the activation)
  • Social media activations on both Twitter and Snapchat
  • Bonus points for actually shooting two pieces of video and designing billboards, appreciate seeing the extra effort!

Some opportunities for growth:

Tons of great ideas! A few things to consider, enhancing your proposal:

  • Be sure to proofread for errors, as well as edit so the document reads as if it were written by one voice…challenging given this is a group project, but you want reviewers to easily follow the train of thought, particularly with the challenge of squeezing this many ideas into two short pages
  • Your campaign should start with your target market (those living an active lifestyle), and all
    sponsorship and activation activities should keep this front of mind.
  • It was unclear what differentiates BODYARMOR from Gatorade. It is mentioned that the product is healthier—is this true, and how is this communicated to the consumer?
  • The Walmart partnership is interesting. On one hand, the domestic reach of Walmart is vast—their locations span both urban and rural locations. On the other hand, outside of using Walmart for distribution, a public partnership may pigeonhole BODYARMOUR with the same consumer feelings that are attributed to Walmart (i.e. cheap, discount, low quality, not known for healthy).
  • Expand on the YMCA partnership. Why did you choose them over, say, competitive athletic
    associations, race companies, etc.
  • While I know that Powerade is a soft drink option at fast food restaurants and convenience stores, do you see many people purchasing BODYARMOR to consume while watching a sporting event? Might benefit to share the rationale behind the decision if possible.
  • One thing all the judges noticed…If you’re attempting to activate BODYARMOR, why are you allowing consumers to choose between a free Coke or BODYARMOR?
  • Provide examples of the endorsement roster, and make sure it matches the target audience’s
    awareness space.

Great job Green Run High School students! Can’t wait to see what you come up with in the final round!

Kathy Bennett’s students at Pinelands Regional High School, as always, offered another impressive case study response. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t quite enough to get through to the next round.

Some feedback from the judges:

Tons of great ideas! A few things to consider, enhancing your proposal:

  • As suggested earlier, be sure to proofread for errors, as well as edit so the document reads as if it were written by one voice.
  • The example of The Weeknd performing at the SuperBowl is an example of promotion, specifically aimed at increasing awareness of the musician. The Nike partnership with the NFL is closer to a true sponsorship relationship.
  • Product positioning definition may be off. Emphasize how a brand differentiates itself from another, in this case, BODYARMOR versus Gatorade.
  • What connects the athletes who endorse this product with the interests of the target audience?
  • I like the idea of connecting BODYARMOR to the endorser’s social media pages.
  • I like the idea of connecting the flavors to the Olympic rings, assuming that Coca-Cola has the rights to use this intellectual property.
  • The giveaway promotion with the caps is a throwback idea—by making it easy with registering online, you’re also creating a sizable e-mail database for direct consumer contact (all that data offers a lot of value, can open the door to more effective future campaigns).
  • Sampling is great…however, how will you execute your sample plan in the US and Canada with all the limitations and challenges presented by the pandemic?
  • Loved the Tik Tok challenge and the “In Good Taste” social media ideas—very creative and certainly a strategy that will boost levels of fan engagement.

Really well done Pinelands Regional High School, no shame in a Final Four finish!

Downers Grove North High School (Illinois) vs. Grant High School (Oregon)

Downers Grove North: After several deep tournament runs in our SportsBiz Madness case study tournaments, Downers Grove North managed to hold off Grant High School and reach their first ever finals appearance. Congratulations to Drew Himes’ students at Downers Grove North, you are in the championship round.

Some feedback from our judges:

What really set DGNHS apart in this round was a very robust and holistic set of sponsorship activations that aligned nicely with the Body Armor brand, the Olympics, Olympic athletes, the local host-city, and current world events which positioned the brand as not only (but certainly first-and-foremost) a company rooted in superior performance, but also one that is trying to be thoughtful and connected to the larger world outside of their corporate walls.

  • Leveraging Olympic Athletes via a welcome package of Body Armor goodies
  • Use of robot vending machines in/around the Olympic community and the Tokyo market
  • Light-up bottles for spectators at the opening ceremonies was a brilliant and super creative idea, all the judges loved this one!
  • Bottle cap code promotion and giveaway
  • Use of QR codes-Influencer incentivization
  • “Mask-Up Armor-Up” social media execution
  • TikTok virtual silly-Olympics for the rest of the globe to have fun competing against other fans (could be even more fun if a few Olympic athletes actually participate as well!)
  • Really nice job explaining and defining the sponsorship components. It is clear you have a strong grasp on these concepts which is really the most important thing in these competitions
  • Great attention to detail in not only providing athletes with BODYARMOR gear, but also making sure the product is in many camera shots. Helps to get the most bang for the buck!
  • How do you encourage or enforce BODYARMOUR baths? Smart idea, as it is an ambush play on the Gatorade dump.
  • Are spectators from beyond Japan allowed to attend the games? Did you consider how this could impact your sweepstakes promotion for all-expense paid trips to Tokyo?
  • Sponsoring the media provider (NBC) is also an innovative idea—we’re seeing more of this, as pregame, halftime, and postgame shows have corporate partnerships.

Fantastic job Downers Grove North! Really looking forward to seeing more great ideas in the final round!

Grant High School: It has been an amazing year for Grant High School, “rookies” in our annual competitions who managed a Final Four appearance in the case study tournament this spring AND a runner-up finish in the fall fantasy football competition. What an impressive run and we can’t wait to see if Grant High School students can break through next year and nab that elusive championship trophy!

Some feedback from the judges:

  • Love the logo you presented—shows both unity and acceptance (assuming through diversity).
  • Remember that the audience at the Olympics will be limited, so emphasize how you will reach the consumer through traditional media or other activations outside of Japan.
  • All the judges raved about the idea of the voice controlled vending machines!
  • Why are you selling facemasks? This could be a very simple give-away premium to spectators. No sense running the risk in turning consumers off to the product!
  • Appreciate the focus on sustainability given your target audience including the idea of fully recyclable plastics and biodegradable materials. However, any research to indicate this is an actual possibility? And how might that impact your profitability given how much you will be investing in an Olympic Games partnership?
  • How will your social media campaign (Instagram) target consumers? Through paid promotion?
  • I like the QR code idea—it serves multiple purposes, as it gets consumers to activate with the athletes and you can collect tons of data (an emphasis for any brand)

Overall, really well done Grant HS students. Impressive work!

Congrats again to ALL our participants in this year’s tournament, including everyone who advanced the bracket round of the competition. We look forward to seeing you all again next year!

2021 SportsBiz Madness Case Study Tournament Bracket

SportsBiz Madness: 2021 Case Study Tournament (Final Four Edition)

We continue to be very impressed with the work from our competing students for our fifth annual SportsBiz Madness case study tournament. 

In the “Elite Eight” round, students were asked to build a social media campaign in a ticket sales push for their favorite professional sports team. The effort all eight remaining teams put forth was evident, and selecting which schools would advance was very tough.

Unfortunately, just four teams will move on in the tournament for the chance to be crowned 2021 case study champs. Here is a recap of the elite eight round results and a look at who will be moving on to the Final Four!

HONORABLE MENTION:

Carle Place High School, New York

Students at Carle Place HS chose to create a social media ticket marketing strategy for the San Diego Padres. Some really cool ideas here from a content perspective. In particular, the utilizing the story feature on Instagram to host fan votes like what event will happen first in today’s game, a Tatis home run or a Snell strikeout. That’s a great way to keep fans engaged. “Favorite moments” in a bracket style fan vote is a fun idea as well, and perhaps there could even be some interesting opportunity to monetize some of those moments to help the club generate some revenue. Great job Carle Place High!

Flower Mound High School, Texas

Perhaps not surprisingly, Flower Mound students chose to develop a social sales plan for the Dallas Cowboys. One idea that really stood out was the inclusion of “experiences” with certain ticket packages. These experience packages would be promoted on Facebook and would command a higher price point. Featured experiences featured as part of Flower Mound’s “interactive” ticket packages would include things like access for fans to an exclusive tailgate outside the stadium, reservations at the iconic restaurant that the Cowboys players run through before games, and opportunities to watch pre-game on the sidelines for an up-close experience with the players. Excellent job by Flower Mound students as well from a research perspective, determining which social media platform would be most appropriate for the different types of ticket packages they plan to offer. Outstanding effort from FMHS!

Fruitport High School, Michigan

Fruitport High School students created a social sales plan for the Detroit Tigers. They did a nice job identifying which social platforms would be most effective in reaching their target audience, and building ticket promotions accordingly. Love the idea of tapping into the concept of fandom and creating a “superfan” promotion. From the Fruitport student report: “The Superfan Contest:  Like, Post, Share and Win!: Win a Superfan merchandise pack that includes  Detroit Tiger merchandise (t-shirt, drawstring bag, masks, water bottle, lanyard) and 20% off a Detroit Tigers baseball game ticket. Spectators will participate on social media and post their Superfan Selfies on Instagram with the hashtag “#TigerSuperfan.” Really nice job Fruitport High School!

Ellicottville Central, New York

Students at Ellicottville Central School chose to build a social media ticket sales plan for the Buffalo Bills. It was clear that these students did a lot of research re: covid protocols (which was one of the requirements for this case study), and determined a ticket sales strategy accordingly. Given the limitations with fewer fans being allowed to attend games, there were some great ideas here…it really shows how in tune Ellicottville students are with what teams have actually had to manage throughout this pandemic from a ticketing perspective. For example, providing tickets to healthcare workers was something a lot of teams did this year, including at the Super Bowl. Promoting everything through social media was well executed. Nice job Ellicottville Central!

THE FINAL FOUR:

Pinelands Regional High School, New Jersey

Two-time champion Pinelands Regional just continues to bring it in this competition. Some REALLY good ideas here from PRHS students to help boost ticket sales for the Tampa Bay Rays with a social media marketing campaign, along with a great plan for fan safety in addressing how the team will handle covid protocols.

Some highlights from PRHS fan safety plan:

  • Implementation of staggered seating pods on game days to ensure fans are social distancing
  • Fans and stadium workers will be required to wear face coverings to enter the stadium, and temperature checks for fans as they enter using special thermal cameras and sensors
  • Contactless stadium entry, cashless concessions & team shops
  • Customers will need to use credit or debit cards or cash apps (those patrons without access to those options will be directed to kiosks that allow cash to be converted into preloaded “RAYS PAYS” card)
  • QR codes be placed on the seat backs throughout the stadium so that fans can access concession menus and gift shop items, pay for their purchases at their seat and then have food runners bring the items to the patrons. This will help keep people socially distant and limit people gathering on lines and wandering around the concourse.

Some highlights from PRHS ticket marketing plan:

  • Via social media, offering live streams, behind the scenes looks and Q&A sessions with Rays players and staff with ticket sales promotions being offered during these sessions
  • “Inside Pitch” program exclusively for fans who buy a full or half season ticket package which includes monthly exclusive live stream Q&A sessions, with Rays’ General Manager
  • Ramping up a content strategy to feature one of the team’s most popular players, Ji-Man-Choi, and the team mascot to keep fans engaged and aware of game day promotions and “shoppable” opportunities to purchase tickets at a discount through social media platforms

Also, great idea to connect the promotions strategy to sponsors, recognizing the importance of generating revenue with fewer fans at the stadium during a pandemic year. Recognizing the impact the pandemic would have on ticket renewals was next-level thinking, appreciated seeing a plan in place for addressing that concern as well.

Once again, an amazing job by Pinelands Regional High School!

Green Run High School, Virginia

One of two “rookies” in this year’s competition to advance to the Final Four, Green Run HS students chose to develop a social sales plan for the Washington Nationals. Just as Major League Baseball officials navigate the pandemic and its impact on attendance, Green Run students were required to face the same challenge with this case study. GRHS stepped up with a masterful plan for creating the best possible experience at the park while maximizing revenue through ticket sales.

The key to the success of Green Run’s plan? Consistency. Regular posts featuring engaging content. A Snapchat post on every single game day featuring whatever promotion they were running. A TikTok challenge to start the season, starring one of the team’s best and most popular players. Game day tweets encouraging fans to post their favorite plays from the day’s action with offers for discounts on tickets to an upcoming game for the best tweets. All excellent ways to not only engage the fan base but also to increase ticket sales.

Some great promotion ideas here too! A few favorites:

  • THE VAC PACK: The Washington Nationals want to encourage all members of our community to get vaccinated against COVID 19. Season ticket holders : Show a vaccination card and receive 1 Free ticket for a friend to use at any home game this season.Though 1 is FREE, it encourages another game to come to and bringing more people.
  • The “You’re vOUTcher!” Meal Plan:This plan allows you to sit together with your family and all family members(up to 5) will receive a free meal “vOUTcher”.
  • Fans will have the opportunity for unique fan experiences and access to limited edition items. Fans who purchase season tickets, or  22,42, or 82 classic ticket plans and group sale tickets will get a VIP exclusive deal. They will be able to access a VIP area in the Clubhouse Team Store to shop and purchase exclusive souvenirs not sold anywhere else.
  • Mask giveaway: Team-branded masks will be given out to the first 2500 fans entering the game. Fans can follow us on twitter to view the mask for each home game.There will be daily tweets promoting the importance of public mask wearing, social distancing and regular handwashing. 
  • NATScination baseball card promotion involves our free vaccination pop up event at 1 designated game. Fans can show a vaccination card and get an exclusive signed baseball card. Fans can visit the NATScination tent up to 2 hours prior to game time. The first 3,000 fans showing their vaccination card will gain free entrance for the game. For all future games, fans who are NATScinated can use a special line for earlier entry into the games by showing their NATScination card along with their purchased ticket.

Fantastic job Green Run High School, really loved the creativity!

Grant High School, Oregon

The other “rookie” in this year’s competition is Grant High School who created a social ticket sales strategy for the Portland Trail Blazers. Grant High School students did an excellent job weaving promotions and ticket sales efforts with fan safety and covid protocols in a fun yet effective manner. Because the team is limited to just 25% of capacity at the stadium, GHS students built the entire campaign around that theme. A couple of highlights:

  • Playing off of the theme of 25% Capacity and 25% Off tickets, fans who buy tickets with a special social media link to purchase game tickets will be entered into a raffle with a chance to win a #25 classic Jerome Kersey jersey (one of the most popular players in franchise history).
  • The “social distancing special” campaign on the team’s Instagram and Twitter feeds promotes social distancing, but ties in with a ticket sales effort by asking fans to post a photo on their social feeds and tag the team anytime a Blazers play crosses up a defender. Fans who post and tag as part of the promotion are then eligible for a 25% discount on tickets.

Overall, great ideas from Grant High School. Really well done!

Downers Grove High School, Illinois

Students at Downers Grove High School chose the Chicago White Sox for this case study. Their social sales plan was LOADED with creative ideas and sound strategies for boosting sales, all while keeping fans safe during the ongoing pandemic.

One thing that really stood out in the DGNHS campaign was the team’s effort to market to a younger audience, something MLB teams have been struggling with in recent years. DGNHS students chose to embrace personality, promoting things like bat flips and on-field celebrations. The social media strategy aligns well with the target audience, as does the campaign slogans of “The Time Is Now” and “Change the Game.” Students chose to really push “The Time Is Now” narrative to encourage fans not to wait before purchasing their ticket packages for the year. Very smart! “The Time Is Now” will also serve the franchise well as a rallying cry for the team’s social justice plan with a social media campaign “The Time Is Now For Equality.”

Overall, fantastic job breaking down what content will be shared through each platform to maximize reach and fan engagement. Perhaps the most unique idea in this round of the competition, however, was the inclusion of Spotify as part of the campaign. Using Spotify to bring “Sounds of the Stadium” to the homes of fans is a really fun idea, and connecting the platform to game day walk-up music could be a great way to engage fans. Tying those in with game day ticket sales promotions could help to give sales a boost.

Loved the Twitter MEMES, TikToks and YouTube content as well. Stoking the flames in the Cubs’ rivalry will certainly boost levels of fan engagement. Pairing a ticket to the Cubs’ series with another game that would typically be harder to sell could be a strategy that pays off as well. Also, NEXT LEVEL stuff from DGNHS students to have actual, real-life posts for all your social platforms…clearly students put a lot of time and effort into this case study!

Overall, a very comprehensive plan…super impressive work from Downers Grove North High School!

UPDATED BRACKET:

SportsBiz Madness 2021: Case Study Tournament (Opening Round Results)

OPENING ROUND RECAP

We were extremely impressed with the opening round results for our fifth annual SportsBiz Madness case study tournament.  Tasked with rebranding a Minor League Baseball franchise with a long history of sellouts and financial success (and fan support) but with a controversial team nickname.  Students put a lot of research into establishing a new brand that would connect with the community, generating support with an already loyal fan base.  Overall, this was the most competitive opening round field in the history of this tournament!

HONORABLE MENTION:

Selecting just eight groups from all of this year’s entries to advance to the bracket round of the competition was incredibly difficult.  Here are a few highlights from the “bubble” teams that were so close to advancing but didn’t quite get over the hump. 

Indianapolis Speedsters (Tappan Zee High School, New York)

What stood out with the Tappan Zee group’s “Speedsters” rebrand was the attention to detail in the branding effort itself.  Not only did they create a new brand identity for the franchise, but also offered a strategy for building brand awareness and maximizing opportunities to sell Speedsters branded merchandise.  Placing the new logo on a race car for the Indy 500 would most certainly attract some attention, and keeping a model of that car in front of the stadium would result in thousands of selfies on game day.  Also loved some of the promotions ideas to extend the branding.  Fantastic job Tappan Zee High School!

Indianapolis Woodrats (Grant High School, Oregon)

As they say, you learn something new every day! Thanks to the research done by Grant High School students, we know a species known as the “Allegheny Woodrats” are commonly found in the state of Indiana. Grant HS students rebranded as the ‘Woodrats’, in part, because the species is experiencing a decline in population, even facing extinction in some areas outside of Indianapolis, and the franchise would bring awareness to the threat. Pretty cool idea. Love the face mask idea (interesting to see at least HALF the entries in round one featured face masks as part of the merchandise collections), thought with the logo that there could be some really fun and and creative ways to design Woodrats branded face coverings that would be a hit with fans. Nice job Grant High School!

Indianapolis Slicers (Capital High School, Washington)

It is always interesting to see what students find when doing some research in our competitions. Case in point, a group of students from Capital HS in Washington who discovered that the first sliced bread company, Wonder Bread, was established in the city of Indianapolis.  Rebranding as the “Slicers” creates a connection to the city’s history and will no doubt offer some very fun and unique opportunities for creative brand extensions, including on the concessions menu at the ballpark and will no doubt help position the team as an innovative franchise.  As the Slicers’ reminded us in their case study response, “without sliced bread you can’t have things like sandwiches or toast.”  Nice job Capital High School!

Indianapolis Veterans (Green Run High School, Virginia)

Some good ideas here from students at Green Run, really liked the rebranding strategy paying tribute to veterans, and this group did an excellent job weaving together several themes that will create a connection with community. 

Perhaps best summed up by the explanation behind the new logo:  “The flags of Indianapolis and the U.S.A. for Veterans and for connection to winning and the checkered flag. Baseball bats and baseball for the sport in the shape of a V for Victory in wars and on the field. It also connects to Victory Stadium.”

Also, how great is this Corvette themed (aptly named “Vet”) mascot? Impressive work from Green Run High School!

Indianapolis Speed Demons (Superior High School, Wisconsin)

There were a lot of really great rebranding strategies tied to the theme of racing, understandably, given the area’s motor sports heritage.  We liked the way Superior HS students managed to incorporate the type of branding and imagery consistent with sports teams (like a “demon”) with a racing theme (like “speed”).  Clever name, cool logo and fun mascot.  Overall, really nice job by Superior High School!

Indianapolis Cardinals (Wichita East High School, Kansas)

Because both the state animal AND state bird is the Cardinal, students from Wichita East High School opted to rebrand the franchise as the Cardinals.  The franchise hopes to gain support of fans throughout the entire state rather than just the Indianapolis area, expanding the brand’s footprint. Traditionally, that can be a real challenge for a minor league franchise but appreciate seeing students “thinking big” in this competition.   

ADVANCING TO THE BRACKET ROUND OF THE COMPETITION:

Indianapolis Speedsters (Carle Place High School, New York)

Important to develop a brand that will resonate with your target audience, so it was great to see a family-friendly vibe with the Speedsters brand development strategy as a way to appeal to a minor league baseball fan base.  Fantastic promotion idea as well to maintain a loyal following by offering discounts on the NEW merchandise to any fans that have gear featuring the former team name. Nice job Carle Place HS students!

Indianapolis Baby Blues (Pinelands Regional High School, New Jersey)

Defending case study tournament champs Pinelands Regional is no stranger to this competition, and if the response to the first case study challenge is any indication, they are ready to bring it again this year!

By the looks of the description of the new nickname (Baby Blues), it would appear PRHS students did some serious research. The rebrand offers a nod to the history of the franchise, with a fresh new look.

Overall, lots of great branding ideas and we loved the uniforms too! Another brilliant effort from Pinelands Regional HS…

Indianapolis Gearheads (Green Run High School, Virginia)

Another newcomer to this year’s competition, another fantastic case study response. Impressive work from Green Run High School with the development of the rebranding effort and crafting a very unique new nickname.

REALLY loved seeing this group of students relying on data from some market research to help shape not only the rebranding strategy, but also the merchandising plan. After identifying 57 year-old-olds as the average age of fans, it makes sense to offer merchandise that would appeal to that demographic. Great idea to partner with a popular local vendor with Hubbard and Craven (nice job researching that!) to give sales of team-branded merchandise an added lifted, expanding your distribution beyond the ballpark and team store online. Great to see a focus on figuring out ways to increase revenue.

Overall, the attention to detail was very impressive, from the colorways and design scheme for the brand, the logo, the mascot and merchandise. Well done!

Indianapolis Bones (Grant High School, Oregon)

So much to love here. The research in determining a new nickname. The creativity behind some of the merchandise the franchise will offer its fans (LOVING the “T-Rex Teeth” face coverings and “Bone Bat” replicas that the mascot, Buddy, carries around at games), and the unique brand partnerships. Grant High School students rocked this first case study, very impressive!

Indianapolis Centurions (Flower Mound High School, Texas)

From a merchandising perspective, the Centurions branding strategy really stood out from the rest. LOVE the brand extensions throughout the stadium, no doubt helping to boost sales of everything from food and beverage to tickets and merchandise. Given the family friendly nature of minor league baseball, the creative branding around the stadium to give it a theme park feel will most certainly draw a crowd and make it easy to transition from the old team name to the Centurions. Great idea to offer a secondary logo as well. Lots of excellent ideas here from students at Flower Mound High School!

Indy Stretch (Downers Grove North, Illinois)

So we saved the most unique rebrands for last…beginning with the “Indy Stretch”, imagined by students from Downers Grove North in Illinois. The clever nickname is tied to the city’s roots in many ways, as described by Downers Grove North students: “The new nickname, the Indy Stretch, has multiple tie-ins to the history of Indianapolis, and nods to many things that Hoosiers are proud of.

  • Stretch pays homage to the legendary motor racing scene in Indianapolis, and was derived from the “Homestretch” of a racetrack
  • Stretch also honors Indianapolis native Albert von Tilzer, writer of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”, an American ballad most commonly associated with the seventh inning stretch of a baseball game
  • Stretch, in addition to the homestretch of a race track and the 7th inning stretch of a baseball game, also refers to the role that the state of Indiana played during the Underground Railroad, as it was the homestretch in the path to freedom for escaped slaves venturing north.

The group also came up with a pretty cool way to raise brand awareness through cross promotion by partnering with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to play a weekend series, the “Crossroads Classic”, on the infield at the iconic motor sports venue, including specially checkered flag branded promotional uniforms. Awesome.

But what’s up with the Giraffe? According to the students, the mascot “Armstrong the Giraffe” was born in partnership with the Indianapolis City Zoo, as well as one with Hasbro, and the team will create custom “Stretch Armstrong” dolls modeled after Armstrong to boost merchandise sales with bobbleheads as game day giveaways to boost attendance. Such great ideas…congrats Downers Grove North, you’re moving on to the bracket round!

Indianapolis Tenderloins (Ellicottville Central School, New York)

One of the most popular marketing trends in Minor League Baseball in recent memory features teams rebranding with food themes.  One student from Ellicottville HS in New York tapped into that strategy and introduced a food-themed rebrand of their own, introducing the Indianapolis Tenderloins. Whacky as it may seem, we think this could really work.

One of the most iconic dishes that hails from Hoosier State is the pork tenderloin sandwich, a dishly that is uniquely representative of the area. Fun and whimsical, the branding will certain resonate with fans of all ages, and opportunities to extend the brand at the concessions stand could give food and beverage sales a nice boost. Nice job Ellicottville High School!

Indianapolis Walruses (Fruitport High School, Michigan)

The Walruses? According to Fruitport High School students, the new nickname is based on the important role the Indianapolis Zoo plays as a fabric of the Indianapolis community. At the Indianapolis Zoo, they take the time and consideration of protecting and rehabilitating walruses as well as many other animals.

Because minor league baseball is such a family oriented entertainment platform, the branding (including the colorways, logo and mascot, “Whilbert the Walrus”) will certainly create a connection with the community and attract area families to the ballpark.

SCC’S 2021 SPORTSBIZ MADNESS TOURNAMENT BRACKET

The eight teams advancing in the tournament will compete in a head to head style format for the opportunity to be crowned champs of the 2021 case study tournament. Teams were not seeded, the bracket pairings are drawn at random. Good luck to our participating students in the “Elite Eight” round!

Read Across America Day: SportsBiz Book Suggestions

Looking for a good sports business book to add to your library?

In celebration of “Read Across America Day”, I thought I would share a few sports business book recommendations. I tried to limit the list to just ten, including some of my all-time favorite reads. Some of the books on this list are older, some are new. Some provide great sports business insight, others explore the industry’s history, while several offer some wisdom and inspiration.

1) Believe to Achieve

Written by friend and mentor, long-time Jordan Brand executive Howard “H” White, Believe to Achieve is packed with great advice to share with students, and the underlying message in his book is truly something we can all benefit from.

2) Ice to the Eskimos

One of the most creative and innovative sports marketers in history, Jon Spoelstra’s first book remains a classic. Jon is also recognized as an “industry pioneer” in our textbook, and Ice to the Eskimos is full of examples of his influence on the business of team sports.

3) Shoe Dog

Shoe Dog is the autobiography of Phil Knight, the founder of Nike. It features great insight into the creation of one of the biggest brands in the world.

4) The Elusive Fan 

The Elusive Fan is a fantastic sports business book that examines the challenges facing marketers as they work to attract the attention of fans in today’s cluttered marketplace. 

5) Sneaker Wars

Well before Phil Knight was selling sneakers from the back of his car, two brothers built a shoe company in Germany. Nearly twenty years after the company was founded, the Dassler brothers had a major falling out. One brother started a company called Adidas, the other brother started a company just across the river called Puma. The two brands remain rivals to this day.  

6) Let Me Tell You A Story

This is an older book that I borrowed from a friend (and die-hard Celtics fan) a few years ago written by legendary Boston coach Red Auerbach. Much of the book is about basketball, but what struck me was how innovative Coach Auerbach was when it came to finding creative ways to get fans to come out to the arena for a game. Lots of anecdotes with historical relevance in this book.

7) The Red Rubber Ball

The Red Rubber Ball isn’t necessarily a sports or sports business book, but it was written by a former Nike executive. Kevin Carroll essentially took the spirit of recess and turned it into an influential message that has inspired millions of people around the world. I would strongly recommend this quick read for both teachers and students.

8) Go for the Magic!

A good friend gave me his copy of basketball Hall-of-Famer Pat Williams’ book, Go for the Magic, when I began my career working in professional sports. I have since read dozens of books written by Mr. Williams (all are excellent), but this remains my favorite. 

9) Mamba Mentality

In Mamba Mentality, the late Kobe Bryant shares fascinating insight into the determined mindset that fueled his legendary work ethic, and ultimately helped him to find success both on and off the court.

10) ESPN: Those Guys Have all the Fun

I love to read books that explore the beginnings of game-changing brands like Nike, adidas, Gatorade etc. Years ago, I read Creating an Empire: ESPN by Stuart Evey, one ESPN’s original investors and it was great. James Andrew Miller’s ESPN: Those Guys Have all the Fun takes readers from the company’s roots to the present day (well, 2011), even exposing some of ESPN’s past shortcomings from a corporate culture perspective.

Bonus: Veeck as in Wreck

Bill Veeck, otherwise known as the Godfather of sports marketing, is an absolute legend in our industry. Credited with creating some of the most famous (and infamous) promotional stunts, Veeck literally wrote the playbook for how sports teams would eventually craft marketing plans dedicated to attracting fans to stadiums all over the world.

Enjoy!

Chris

Super Bowl LV Promotions Student Competition – Winning Entries!

Before we announce the winners, we would like to give a big thank you to Alex Dobson of Audible Design, a long-time advertising industry exec, for sharing his marketing expertise and helping to judge our Super Bowl LV student competition. Thank you for your time and feedback Alex!

In conjunction with Super Bowl LV, Sports Career Consulting hosted a student competition with a focus on developing a fundamental understanding of the concept of promotion. Students were tasked with the development of a point of purchase display representing a consumer goods brand tied to Super Bowl LV. The contest drew over 100 entries and we saw a lot of impressive ideas. Overall, the effort students put into this competition was more than evident. Props to all those who participated!

OVERALL FEEDBACK:

Selecting our three winners proved to be quite a challenge, with so many students demonstrating an exception grasp on key competition elements like promotion, retail, store placement etc. and the creativity (many students made real-life models of point-of-purchase displays) was fantastic and fun to see. That said, we felt that three students managed to create a display and promotion concept that really stood out. The top three entries submitted ideas that were not only creative, but offered strategies that would most certainly lead to an increase in product sales.

WINNERS:

First Place: M. Wozniak (Tappan Zee High School, New York)

Congrats to Ms. Wozniak at Tappan Zee High School in New York for winning SCC’s Super Bowl LV Promotions Competition! Some highlights from her point-of-purchase display:

  • Super concept for a POP display, love seeing a different approach to building a display using product…typically, you’ll see a grocery display spelling out the words “Super Bowl” or the names of participating teams. Ms. Wozniak’s idea levels that concept up by building a locker room featuring product. We can imagine it being an awesome experiential display to walk through, and something that would most certainly attract the attention of shoppers leading up to the big game.
  • Of course, it isn’t just about the display… We really liked the product integration with soda boxes for columns, and chips integrated into the locker stalls. At the end of the day, the success of a promotion is measured by sales so it was great to see Ms. Wozniak keep her eye on the prize, so to speak.
  • Also thought it was a fantastic idea to include an “enter-to-win” element to elevate the level of consumer engagement by giving away the displayed jerseys
The winning entry in the Super Bowl LV promotions competition from a student at Tappan Zee High School in New York features a locker room, recreated using soda cans and bags of chips

Second Place: D. Vu (Justice High School, Virginia)

Congrats to Mr. Vu at Justice HS in Virginia for taking second place in SCC’s Super Bowl LV Promotions Competition! Some highlights from his point-of-purchase display:

  • Bringing coffee (and Starbucks) into the football conversation? Loved it. We appreciated the recognition that brands other than the obvious (snack foods, soda, TVs etc) can benefit from aligning a promotion with the big game.
  • We thought it was a really smart idea to include collector’s edition Starbucks football helmets as part of the promotion, certainly an aspect of the promotion that would garner consumer attention! The addition of an “enter-to-win” promotion would definitely boost levels of engagement as well.
  • Really nice job from Mr. Vu explaining the importance of where the promotion would be placed in the store, one of the key components of this competition.
  • Food for thought to take it over the top next time: Perhaps specially flavored/named drinks for the teams or players would add even more sizzle to the promotion? (The original Starbucks in Pike Place Market in Seattle sold a special Beast Mode coffee drink when he played with the Seahawks)
The competition runner-up approached things from a non-traditional angle, opting to create a promotion at a Starbucks location inside a grocery store rather than a chips, soda, TV or other popular Super Bowl product

Third Place: L. Miller (Hinsdale Central High School, Illinois)

Congrats to Ms. Miller at Hinsdale Central HS in Illinois for her third place finish in SCC’s Super Bowl LV Promotions Competition! Some highlights from her point-of-purchase display:

  • We loved the overall integration of a “concept” to Ms. Miller’s entire display, based off the storyline of the game Brady (“classic” old guy) vs. Mahomes (the “young” guy and future of the league) that had media outlets around the world talking…great way to tap into the added buzz to benefit the brand!
  • Aligning specific products to those players (Brady-Classic Doritos vs. Mahomes – Newest flavors) was a nice touch.
  • We absolutely loved the tagline: “Craving a taste for something new, or stick with what you love? We have both!”
  • As was the case with all three finalists, Ms. Miller demonstrated a solid understanding and explanation of the important role placement of the display within the store plays in boosting product sales
Third place in the competition went to a student who developed an “old vs. new” theme for her display, capitalizing on the hype surrounding the older QB vs. the new QB to launch a new flavored product

Congrats again to all three of our finalists! We have prizes coming your way!!!

HONORABLE MENTION (ALEX’S A.C.E. AWARDS: AWESOME CREATIVE EFFORT):

E. Tavares – Tappan Zee HS, New York

We really liked the potential of Mr. Tavares’ idea of bringing the iconic M&M’s characters to life in stores leading up to the Super Bowl. No doubt the promotion would turn some heads as customers enter the store. We would have loved to see you take things a step further…potentially outfitting the characters in Tampa or KC jerseys, maybe even partnering with a personality like Gronk to create a new character, even holograms of characters could be really cool! Either way, great concept, super creative. Well done Mr. Tavares.

Kent CTC students – Michigan

Props to students in Kent Helfrich’s class for taking the time to put together a YouTube video! We appreciate the effort that went into that and really like the idea of stop motion video to attract the attention of consumers. Also appreciate the recognition of the short attention span of shoppers, making a quick six second video clip to grab the attention makes a ton of sense. Really creative and very well done!

A. Payne – Tappan Zee HS, New York

Wknd chillin’ in his pool enjoying his moment on the big screen? Awesome. Definitely one of our favorites in this competition. Nice job Ms. Payne!

T. Wagner – Foster High School, Texas

Clearly Mr. Wagner put a lot of time into the project…check out his REAL display using Coke and Sprite products!! Super impressive.

Pine Island students – Minnesota

Students in Nicole Rusch’s class created one of the better visuals for a POP display in this competition, really appreciated the attention to detail…nice job incorporating the “LV” into the display…would have been cool to see something extra with the goal posts at a supermarket…maybe a chip brand that is part of PepsiCo portfolio etc. Nice work though!

T. Nordberg – Foster High School, Texas
T. Tobin and D. Handelman – Tappan Zee High School, New York

Two entries from different schools had the same brilliant idea by creating a life-size version of both Super Bowl QBs using bags of potato chips…so awesome. Great idea if you can pull it off!

A student from Foster High School in Texas recreated this iconic Patrick Mahomes pose using bags of Tostitos, salsa and chips
Students from Tappan Zee HS in NY planned to create life-size replicas of both Super Bowl QBs using bags of Doritos as the jerseys

Subway once recreated the likeness of former Heisman winners Robert Griffin III and Marcus Mariota using bread, cheese and cold cuts, so why not a Brady or Mahomes statue made of bags of chips?? Love the creativity.

Subway created a likeness of former Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Robert Griffin III using the restaurant’s bread, cheese, veggies and meats

SCC FFL Sports Marketing Challenge: 2020 CHAMPS!

Without a doubt, this year’s competition produced some of the most impressive results, particularly given the circumstances facing our competing schools with virtual classrooms and distance learning protocols in place. We were so thrilled to see how well this year’s teachers and students stepped up to meet the challenge.

A standing ovation is in order for all of our competitors this year for an amazing season!

That said, we did have a few standouts, particularly with the final challenge (digital marketing).  Congratulations to Kim Radford’s class at Blacksburg High School in Virginia for winning our 6th annual fantasy football sports marketing competition!  This is the second time they have won the competition, making them the second two-time champions in league history. Way to go San Antonio Sentinels front office!

Blacksburg High School managed to hold off the Portland Pioneers front office (Matt Kabza’s sports marketing class at Grant High School in Oregon) in the last challenge to capture the championship, no easy task considering how well the first year participants performed throughout the competition. To celebrate the championship, the Sentinels will get another trophy to proudly display in class.  Congrats to both schools on a job very well done. This might have been the toughest call in the competition history.

Brandi King’s class at Lyman HS in Florida (Orlando Trash Pandas) also had a great season, taking third place (making a big leap from where they finished in last year’s standings) while John Smulowitz and his students at Dallas HS in Pennsylvania (Keystone Wolverines) landed in fourth.  Richele Falloon’s class from Montgomery County High School in Missouri (San Antonio Honey Badgers) managed to hold off a very impressive season from Rodger Hutley’s students at Little Elm HS in Texas (Orlando Owls) for fifth place. 

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

CHALLENGE #6 (DIGITAL MARKETING) HIGHLIGHTS:

San Antonio Sentinels (Blacksburg HS / Virginia):

Once again, Blacksburg students put together a very comprehensive and thorough response to the challenge presented (digital marketing), including the development of actual mock social media platforms to promote the team and communicate information to Sentinels fans.

The team’s YouTube channel features a stadium tour and highlights of amenities for ticketholders while the Sentinels’ Instagram and Twitter feeds offered a preview of stadium amenities fans would enjoy in the team’s inaugural season. Students also created team-branded TikTok and Facebook pages to promote the franchise.

Another component of the Sentinels’ digital marketing strategy that was particularly impressive was the wide variety of features available to fans through the team’s app. Not only will the app enhance the game day experience by managing traffic flow both in and outside the stadium, but it also includes several features that will boost levels of fan engagement (one of the main requirements to be addressed for this challenge). One of the ideas we thought was really fun was a “you decide” feature at key moments during the game…we could definitely see fans taking advantage of that during games for opportunities to win some cool prizes. We also liked the trivia game to keep fans engaged during breaks in the action, offering a discount for correct answers will certainly help boost sales of concessions and merchandise on game days. Great idea!

Also thought it was great to see the Sentinels communicate all the team’s promotions, game day information, covid policies etc. via an email marketing campaign. Too often students overlook one of the most powerfull communications tools for a sports team to communicate with a large segment of their fan base and rely too much on social media. It was refreshing to see the Sentinels front office invest in an email campaign, particularly given the importance of communicating health and safety information to fans amid the pandemic. Including a spanish language email option was also a smart strategy, especially given the demographics of the team’s home city (excellent job on the market research!).

Last but not least, thought some of the AR/VR ideas were great, certainly a great strategy for engaging fans. Really liked the idea of featuring virtual reality photo booths at stadium entrances, allowing fans to virtually take a photo with their favorite players and then encouraging them to share those photos on social. The VR stadium and locker room feature is also a great idea, but what really stood out was making that an “unlockable” feature so that fans will be encouraged to boost engagement levels for the chance to virtually tour the locker room. Really next level stuff. Way to go Blacksburg High School, congratulations on the big win!

Keystone Wolverines (Dallas HS, Pennsylvania):

Without a doubt, the Wolverines’ front office offered some of the most creative digital marketing strategies in this competition. Gamification was the, well, name of the game for the fan engagement strategy from Dallas High School students in response to sports marketing challenge #6. Some highlights:

  • Field goal flick game – Players will have one minute to make field goals from varying distances by flicking the virtual football towards the goal. For interactivity, there will be a leaderboard that displays the fans names with the most field goals made. 
  • Football toss will be another electronic offering. Fans have to throw the virtual football into a moving basket and they get one minute. There will be baskets from short to long distances. Farther baskets are worth more points than closer ones. This game will also have a leaderboard.
  • The App will have a mobile game such that fans will be able to play as the Wolverines in games against other NFL teams.  One of the apps will be a Madden like game where you can play as the Wolverines against other teams and use your favorite players to simulate future games with your friends or just play for fun. The game will also include challenges such as field goal kicking and throwing challenges. 
  • There will be a bracket challenge for teens and adults. The bracket challenge will have fans fill out their guesses for scores and season record for prizes or even tickets to games. A game where you play as our star quarterback and are throwing balls into a wall with different sized holes in it like one of those carnival games. The smaller the hole, the more points you get for getting the ball through it. 
  • There will be other cool mini games like football throwing to see if you can get the right throw with certain wind speed and players closing you in. Another fun game might be field goal kicking with the same factors added to it. To get more people involved with the app by playing the games, every week we can have the top 3 users on top 3 players with the highest scores earn some merchandise or a free ticket to our next game. 
  • Photo generator on the app to allow people to easily edit players, coaches, and mascot into their photos Fantasy football like game on our website and through the app for families and friends to keep stats and play with our players 
  • A paper football virtual game in our app to keep kids and fans entertained, they will also be able to interact and play with friends. 
  • Another game where there is a virtual wolverine that you have as a pet and you have to feed it and take care of it every day or two or else it gets sad and leaves you. Like one of those Tamagotchi things from the 90’s.
  • A game where you play as a janitor in the stadium and your job is to make sure the stadium is clean by game day. You can have minigames where you mop the floors in a certain spot or one where you cut and paint the grass on the football field.

Dallas HS students earned a perfect score in response to sports marketing challenge #6 (digital marketing)…way to go Wolverines front office! Seriously impressed with all the fun ideas!

Portland Pioneers (Grant HS, Oregon):

Oh so close! Before highlighting some of the fantastic ideas presented by Grant HS students in this challenge, we should point out that this is the best finish we have seen from a newcomer in the competition. Brilliant work throughout, just fell a little short in the end…

Really cool to see the development of actual mock social media accounts across all the major platforms…some fun videos on the team’s YouTube channel as well. Thought the hype video was awesome and using a toothbrush as a microphone was a nice touch for the mock coach press conference lol!

LOVED the Pioneers’ website…really well designed and easy to navigate while offering tons of great content. Really thought it was savvy marketing to target a younger generation of fan with all the jam-packed features, insuring you will have a solid fan base for years to come.

Thought the Pioneers’ “cinema” and “audio” was a cool (and unique) way to offer fun content for fans. With cinema (behind-the-scenes and exclusive video content) and audio (“home for Pioneers’ podcasts and original music”), the franchise will most definitely maximize opportunities to engage the fan base.

It was great to see the Pioneers’ stick with a theme that has been consistent throughout the competition with a commitment to community as party of your digital marketing strategy: “Always supporting and connecting with the local community. The Pioneers have created a program that curates the best local products. This program is set up to promote local artists’ music and other works of art (including high school students). This strategy is used to enhance Fan Engagement and increase the sense of belonging amongst our fanbase.” Including ACTUAL audio samples (that’s one talented student btw) was a great touch.

All in all, another fantastic challenge response to wrap up an amazing “rookie” season in this competition. Grant High School has a lot to be proud of, you represented Portland well! Great job!

San Antonio Honey Badgers (Montgomery County HS, Missouri):

One thing we didn’t see a lot of from team’s this year is an emphasis on push notifcations to reach fans…this was one of the really next level concepts that we loved to see from students in this competition. The Honey Badgers’ front office plans to use both email and sms to push out special offers and deals to fans. Fantastic. Also loved the VR “stations” positioned around the stadium to create unique experiences for fans.

Really good stuff from Montgomery High School. Great job this year!

Wichita Matadors (Wichita East HS, Kansas):

Some great ideas from the Matadors front office on the team’s social media platforms. Also appreciate seeing Wichita East students recognize the importance of consistency, suggesting the team will post regularly to keep fans engaged, especially when they can’t attend games in person. The team plans to feature posts on Instagram and Facebook of the team getting ready for the game, during the game, and after. LOVE seeing the Matadors’ willingness to be cutting edge and experiment with Reels, that’s awesome. Featuring content like quizzes, trivia, 50/50 polls and Livestreams will provide a great way to engage fans, and, shockingly, the Matadors front office was one of the few to include Snapchat as part of the team’s digital marketing strategy.

Overall, great job from the Matadors’ front office. Another great season from Wichita East students!

*** SCC FFL 2020 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!

SchoolTeam NameStateTotal Points
Blacksburg HSSan Antonio SentinelsVA1493
Grant HSPortland PioneersOR1489
Lyman High SchoolOrlando Trash PandasFL1467
Dallas High SchoolKeystone WolverinesPA1459
Montgomery CountySan Antonio Honey BadgersMO1458
Little ElmOrlando OwlsTX1449
Wichita East HSWichita MatadorsKS1438
RandolphLouisville RidgerunnersWI1437
Richardson HSLittle Rock BadgersTX1436
Carl SandburgMexico City AztecsIL1435
KCTCSalt Lake PhenomsMI1226
Kellam High School Virginia Beach SharksVA953
Stafford HSMiami SharksVA475
Victor J AndrewChi-Town Chargers IL470
HCHS College & Career AcademyHonolulu StingraysGA463
KIHGrand Rapids RogueMI236