SCC FFL Sports Marketing Competition – 2019 Champions

What an amazing finish…without a doubt, this was the most competitive season in the history of Sports Career Consulting’s Fantasy Football sports marketing contest.  Despite some separation in the standings in the final few weeks, the top ten teams were legitimate contenders to win this year’s championship and a standing ovation is in order for all of this years participants.  It is safe to say that a new bar was set this year, however, as we received the most elaborate, creative and comprehensive responses to the challenges that we have seen in this competition…overall, such an impressive group of kids, no doubt the result of the efforts of some outstanding sports marketing teachers.  Kudos to all for a great season!

That said, we did have a few standouts, particularly with the final challenge (digital marketing).  Congratulations to Karen Russo’s class at Hinsdale High School in Illinois for winning our 5th annual fantasy football sports marketing competition!  This is the second time they have won the competition, making them the first two-time champions in league history. Way to go Omaha Haymakers front office!

Hinsdale Central students managed to hold off last year’s champions (Kim Radford’s sports marketing class at Blacksburg High School in Virginia) the last few weeks to win the competition, no easy task considering how well the Toronto Owls’ front office performed in the sports marketing challenges . Both the Haymakers and Owls will be rewarded with pizza parties to celebrate their accomplishments and the Haymakers will get another trophy to proudly display in class.  Congrats to both schools on a job very well done.

Ed Lapp’s class at Pequea Valley HS in Pennsylvania (Kentucky Reigns) also had a great season, taking third place (highest finish in league history for a first-time participant in the competition) while Bob Kelly and his students at Waverly HS in New York (OKC Tornados) landed in fourth.  Zach Gueth’s class from Miami Valley Career Technology Center in Ohio (Dayton Cruisers) managed to hold off a late season push from Ricole Rusch’s class at Pine Island HS in Minnesota (Oregon Mountaineers) for fifth place. 

Richele Falloon’s class at Montgomery County HS in Missouri consistently performs well in this competition and this year was no exception as they were a top ten team all season, nice job from the Honolulu Hammerheads front office finishing in 7th place. John Smulowitz’s students from Dallas HS in Pennsylvania also turned in an impressive “rookie” performance as the first-time participants (Keystone Mountaineers) took 8th place. Steve Hodges’ students at Crook County High School in Oregon had their best performance ever as the Omaha Bandits front office cracked the top ten, finishing in 9th place. Rounding out the top ten was the Portland Pioneers front office, led by Stephanie Neal, as her students at Colleyville Heritage High School in Texas turned in another solid performance throughout the competition. You can visit us at masterspokerclub.com

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

FRONT OFFICE “SHOUT OUTS” FOR CHALLENGE #6 (DIGITAL MARKETING):

Toronto Owls (Blacksburg HS / Virginia):

Every team had a solid digital marketing strategy in place, quality app, easy-to-use website, social media presence etc. One of the things that really stood out about the Owls’ digital strategy was recognizing the value of digital not only for sales, marketing and communication, but also for service. For example, the team developed a stadium experience survey to be deployed via the team’s app and team’s website (image below) to gather fan feedback to help meet and exceed consumer expectations on game days. Loved the proactive approach and recognition of all the ways digital can benefit from the franchise.

We have preached the importance of attention to detail throughout the competition, and nothing screams ATD like not only creating ACTUAL social media handles, YouTube channel (with REAL videos) and a website, but also smack talking the only team ahead of them in the standings through the team’s official Twitter account like the Owls did. Like every challenge response this season, the Owls’ front office did an amazing job. Congrats on a fantastic season!

Las Vegas Leopards (Wheatley School / New York):

Again, attention to detail is key, and one thing that we thought was really cool with the Leopards digital strategy was the recognition of the importance of sales. Great idea to have pop up ads for ticket and apparel specials, making sure that you are providing a value to your app users above and beyond the fantasic and robust features already included. Nice job Wheatley School students, congrats on a successful first season in SCC’s fantasy football competition!

OKC Tornados (Waverly HS / New York):

Fan engagement is the name of the game with digital, and the Tornados front office developed some fantastic strategies for connecting with fans through a myriad of different programs. Our favorite idea, among the many described, was the implementation of in-game contests like “Do You Want to Challenge the Call” through the team’s app. The contest will encourage fans to choose decisions they think the Tornado’s head coach will make throughout the game (like throwing a challenge flag) for a chance to win prizes and discounts on stadium concessions and items from the team store. Really well done, and another amazing season from Waverly high school.

Toronto Wolverines (Richardson HS / Texas):

Another great example of using digital for more than just sales and marketing, thought it was a great idea to feature the Wolverines’ mission statement on the team website. Effective communication with your fanbase is challenging, and dedicating space online to share your team values and commitment to the consumer is a smart strategy. Well done Richardson HS!

Oregon Mountaineers (Pine Island HS / Minnesota):

Lots of clever brand extensions here with the Mountaineers digital strategy, loved the creativity. Also, one of only two teams that recognized the importance of developing a distribution strategy for the app (Mountaineer Mobile) by making it available on the Apple store and Google Play store, along with a great price point (free) and commitment to content marketing.

Direct fantasy football integration seems like a natural fit, not sure why more teams don’t do something like this, and the wide variety of themed photo filters to appeal to multiple demographics seems like a great way to engage as many fans as possible.

Another successful season in the books for Pine Island High School, great job as always!

Kentucky Reigns (Pequea Valley, PA):

Loved seeing the focus on development of “interactive elements” as a strategy for boosting fan engagement from the Reigns’ front office. Also, the focus on capturing fan data was some really advanced stuff. Lots of great ideas here and an amazing run the last few weeks to shoot up the standings and finish in the top three, particularly for a school participating for the first time. Really well done Pequea Valley students!

A few highlights from this challenge response:

  • Gamification strategy with the “You Make the Coin-Call” promotion, a digital marketing tactic used to engage fans and capture fan data through the team app (sounds like fun!)
  • Digital scavenger hunt encouraging fans to connect with the team through social channels, including everything from Facebook to TikTok to maximize reach
  • Cause related campaign through social media in partnership with Ronald McDonald house for “Baby Food Challenge” (including the awesome video of you guys actually DOING the challenge…and while we appreciate being nominated to attempt the challenge, we have to pass on eating the carrot flavored baby food on camera)

Dayton Cruisers (MVCTC / Ohio):

Lots of great ideas here from the Dayton Cruisers front office, including a fantastic hashtag to share through social with #cruizetovictory, along with podcasts, trivia games on the app (what a great way to boost fan engagement levels) and pro bowl voting functionality, but our favorite was the introduction of Cruisers branded emojis, particularly the mascot. Brilliant work! Nice job all season by MVCTC students…

Omaha Bandits (Crook County HS / Oregon):

Another week, another perfect score on a sports marketing challenge for the Omaha Bandits front office who came on strong at the end of the year…unfortunately for Crook County students, they had too much ground to make up to find their way into the championship conversation. Such an impressive showing from the Bandits though…can’t tell you how impressed we were with the response to challenge #6. Way to go Bandits!

Some highlights:

  • “Dashboard Analytics” using an algorithm to capture fan data to improve their experience as they interact with your digital marketing efforts
  • Fan of the week nominations through social, great way to boost fan engagement levels
  • Player “take over” days, most definitely will increase the number of followers and keep fans engaged with team-branded content
  • Integration of augmented reality like photo ops w/ virtual players
  • Digital “scratch off” ticket program through the team app
  • “Bandit Banter” podcast show
  • Team branded trivia and “riddles” on the team’s website

Hollywood Gold Diggers (Flower Mound HS / Texas):

One of only two teams to recognize the importance of an “opt-in” with digital marketing, the Gold Diggers front office created a sms messaging marketing campaign for its fans. The key to a successful campaign like this one is content, and sharing a variety of stuff ranging from inspirational quotes from the team’s players to discounts, ticket specials and unique videos will definitely keep fans interested and engaged.

Smart strategy to feature the #TheGoldTheBold hashtag on all messaging, and love the concept of the gamification strategy on the app allowing fans to “bet” on challenges being performed on the half-time show. Overall, nice job from Flower Mound students this year!

*** SCC FFL 2019 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!

TeamPrevious PointsChallenge #6 PtsTotal
Omaha Haymakers35463453891
Toronto Owls35023503852
Kentucky Reigns34953473842
OKC Tornados34793483827
Dayton Cruisers34603453805
Oregon Mountaineers34583393797
Honolulu Hammerheads34493193766
Keystone Mountaineers34243183742
Omaha Bandits33483503698
Portland Pioneers33133353648
Toronto Wolverines32763223598
Las Vegas Dynamix32453193564
Las Vegas Aces32313053536
Las Vegas Blackjacks31993053504
Birmingham Bombers31643053469
Kansas Nightmare31013173418
Orlando Lizards326503265
Las Vegas Spades294402944
Las Vegas Leopards26183122930
Hollywood Gold Diggers25353222857
London Knights253802538
Grand Rapids Riptide251102511
Grand Rapids Loggers248802488
New Mexico Mustangs217002170
Oregon Flood207902079
Winnipeg Lumberjax135301353
OKC Young Rich Nation127101271
Anchorage Anchors8720872
WLHS5010501