Case Study Competition: Final Four is Set!

“Elite Eight” Competition Recap

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

We were really impressed with all of the entries as each team demonstrated a very clear understanding of all the sports business principles outlined in this particular case study. Each team presented a very compelling call to action for fans through social activations, sponsor engagement and advertising campaigns.  Those who advanced, however, did the best job focusing on developing strategies for the off-season that would continue to tap into the momentum created by the Wildcats’ fantastic 2016-17 season.

While we’re sad to see four more outstanding student groups eliminated from our competition, we are looking forward to seeing what the remaining teams bring to the table in response to our third case study.  The tournament’s next case study challenges students from an entrepreneurial perspective so it will be exciting to see what they come up with.  Stay tuned!


* Our “Elite Eight” teams did a fantastic job and submitted very impressive responses to the second case study, but unfortunately will not advance in this competition.  They all, however, deserve a standing ovation for their efforts!

Westosha Central (Wisconsin):

Really enjoyed some of the engagement ideas through social, including the Snapchat filters featuring the offseason rallying cry of “Back to Back”, which will most certainly keep Northwestern basketball on the minds of area sports fans.  Tapping into alumni to continue building enthusiasm through a Facebook campaign is also an excellent idea.  Launching a line of new “Back to Back” merchandise was also a fantastic plan.  Great job!

Wichita East High School (Kansas):

Great job recognizing the importance of creating “fun” ways to engage fans…we were really happy to see that as one of the central themes for your overall strategy.  The offseason coaches’ clinic would be a great way to rally current ticket holders, attract new seat buyers and offer a fantastic platform for sponsors to strengthen their relationship with fans.  One of our favorite ideas from this round of entries was utilizing Facebook Live to announce the team’s schedule when it is released…great way to build excitement and enthusiasm for the start of the season.  Nice work!

Fruitport High School (Michigan):

Another great suggestion for leveraging the popularity of Snapchat filters to engage fans during the game…the “digital pregame” concept sounds like an idea with a lot of potential on a number of levels, certainly a strategy that would maximize levels of fan engagement during the season.  The “sponsorable” events will create fun and unique opportunities to up sell existing sponsors and potentially attract new ones.  Great ideas!

Pine Island High School (Minnesota):

Really impressive job communicating the importance of engaging fans in the offseason, particularly those less passionate with lower levels of fan loyalty to keep Wildcats basketball on their radar.  Appreciated the research on millennial fans and a strategy to reach those fans through live events.  Brilliant strategy to reach out to alumni as well, their support could really help Northwestern’s program to take the next step in growing the fan base.  Well done! 


Memorial High School (Wisconsin):

Concise with a clear action plan…loved the “three pronged” approach to launching your engagement strategy with an eye on the program’s bottom line.  Offering a new game day app while adding new features during the offseason will definitely keep fans interested in the product, anxious to try things out when next season gets underway.  LOVED the data mining plan as a strategy for boosting ticket sales, and recognition that more fans in stands will help sponsorship efforts as well.  Super impressive!!! 

Flower Mound High School (Texas):

Loved the idea of creating a fun event in the middle of the summer, in Chicago, to create an opportunity to connect with fans during the offseason.  While it may not be entirely feasible, the idea of adding a Northwestern player to the rosters of those playing in the tournament would surely create an added level of excitement for the event.  Overall, fantastic job focusing on an offseason plan and communicating how that strategy would ultimately increase ticket sales, merchandise sales and sponsorship opportunities.  Really well done!

Kent CTC (Michigan):

Sooooo many great ideas here that will capture fan interest throughout the offseason.  Great idea to implement a “student street team” for a grassroots marketing effort.  Asking for fan feedback to determine designs for “alternate uniforms” for next season is a brilliant way to engage fans with a call to action.  Loved the cross promotion strategies as well and the aggressive approach to marketing in the big city of Chicago.  Recognition of the fact that Northwestern maintains a wealthy alumni population could be key for securing new corporate partnerships.  Outstanding effort!

Merrimack High School (New Hampshire):

Incredibly thorough development of a fan engagement strategy…loved seeing you address everything from social posts to location-based marketing with “check ins” and concentration on establishing that direct line of communication with the fan.  Really nice job outlining the benefits associated with sponsoring the team.  Also, interesting to see you’ve implemented a plan for outsourcing ticket sales…have not seen that strategy used before in any of our competitions thus far.  Way to think outside the box!

Best of luck to our “Final Four” teams as we move one step closer to crowning a champion!