SportsBiz Madness: Case Study Tournament

Opening Round Recap

We received well over 100 entries from student “teams” participating in this year’s case study competition (more than double the number of entries from our inaugural competition) and we couldn’t be more impressed with the submissions.  Tasked with the development of a promotions plan that would help a new minor league baseball franchise based in Madison, Wisconsin reach a goal of 85% stadium capacity for the season, the student response was incredibly impressive.  Students demonstrated a clear understanding of the important role ticket sales plays in the financial viability of a minor league franchise, and how promotion and fan experience impact the team’s ability to sell.

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

Of course, selecting just eight teams from our pool of entries was extremely difficult (we are already considering a shift in format next year to begin the competition earlier to allow for a “sweet sixteen” round).  It was very evident that students put forth a lot of effort in creating their responses to the first case study, including a lot of background research on the Madison market, including local businesses and city/community traditions and history.  For example, one team named their franchise the “Madison Flamingos”, a reference to Madison’s “official city bird”, the yard flamingo.  I was born and raised in Madison and didn’t even know that!  We also saw a number of teams incorporating either cheese, cows, capitals (Madison is the capital city of Wisconsin) or popular area lake fish (Walleye, Pike, Muskies etc) into team names, further demonstrating that the students did their homework on the Madison area.

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

As we look ahead, eight teams will compete head to head for the chance to advance to the SportsBiz Madness Final Four.  The teams were not seeded.  Names were drawn from a hat and added to the bracket accordingly.  We can’t wait to see what the students come up with as a response to the next case study as they are asked to create a fan engagement strategy for a college basketball program during the offseason…
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