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

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!

SCC FFL Sports Marketing Challenge #2 Scores & Review

After two challenges, it is crowded at the top of the standings for this year’s SCC Fantasy Football sports marketing competition! Amid the pandemic, we have a much smaller field this year, but clearly our participating schools are all in it to win it! So far, we have been incredibly impressed with how well all our new (“rookie”) schools are performing and can’t wait to see how this plays out this year!

Points have been distributed for each team’s response to the branding component of this competition (sports marketing challenge #2). Updated standings are below as well as a few highlights of particularly creative, unique and strategic franchise branding ideas submitted in round two of the competition. Keep up the great work everyone!

Keystone Wolverines (Dallas HS, Pennsylvania):

The Wolverines front office knocked it out of the park in this challenge, submitting an incredibly thorough and creative response to the branding challenge in round two of our sports marketing competition.

Excellent job building a brand around community, recognizing the blue collar demographic and creating a brand that speaks to that fan base was a really smart strategy, and an excellent job recognizing the importance of integrating social awareness, environmental friendliness and technology as a way to connect with younger fans, helping to build a solid fan base for generations to come.

Also, one of our favorite concessions items in this competition was definitely “Wolverine Bones” (chicken wings)…fantastic brand extension and loved the creativity.

Overall, a REALLY great job by Dallas High School!

Miami Sharks (Stafford HS, Virginia):

Several few fun ideas from the Sharks front office in response to the branding challenge in this year’s competition…some highlights include:

  • 50% off team branded merch during Shark Week along with some premium content on Instagram
  • Great integration of the “Jaws” theme music to intimidate opponents during big plays
  • Brand extension featuring a mini shark tank in the stadium
  • A special

Nice job Stafford HS students!

Salt Lake Phenoms (Kent Career Tech Center, Michigan):

Love the focus on detail that went into determining Phenoms’ team colors, attention to detail is one of the keys to winning this competition so we loved seeing this description from KCTC students: “We had put a lot of time into coming up with our three main team colors. We had ended up coming up with black, red, and grey. We chose these colors due to how people see the colors black, red, and grey. The color black is known to be associated with strength and elegance. The color red is known to be associated with danger and passion. Finally the color grey is normally known as neutrality or balance, we chose to key on the balance meaning of the color. With everything going on in the world with disagreements and opinions, we want to set an example for everyone and create a world were living with different point of views does not mean separate from others.”

The reasoning for selecting a mountain goat for the mascot was incredibly forward thinking, particularly the concept of establishing a culture within the organization, from players to the front office staff: “One of the animals that stood out the most was the Mountain Goat, the Mountain Goat can be gentle and aggressive which represents our team. We want welcoming arms towards our fans and opponents before and after the game but during the game we want to outwork and be more physical than the other team. Another reason why we chose the Mountain Goat is because, while doing some research we found that this particular goat climbs to the highest point of mountains and this is how we want not only our players to be but we also want our staff to be the same. As an up and coming NFL team we will have to work our way to the top, and strive to be the best franchise in history.” Really forward thinking from KCTC students here…

Also loved the franchise slogan: “Success, Excellence, Family; A Phenomenal Journey

Overall, fantastic job from the Phenoms front office! Reall well done.

Orlando Trash Pandas (Lyman HS, Florida):

As part of the competition each year, we encourage participating teams to think outside the box and submit creative and unique ideas for each of our sports marketing challenges. This year, Lyman High School students have certainly answered the call!

Expanding on the team’s introduction of the “Trash Pandas” franchise nickname in challenge #1, Lyman students built a very unique brand with many creative brand extensions as the team prepares for its inaugural season. By naming the team mascot “Randy Roadkill”, the franchise has quickly established its brand identity and it will be interesting to see how the Trash Pandas front office incorporates that identity in the remaining challenges. Thought it was a good idea to use the hashtag #FearTheRacoon as part of the branding strategy, particularly for those who may be unfamiliar with the term “Trash Pandas”. This helps communicate brand imagery to not only fans in Orlando but also fans througout the league. Cool to see all the examples of Trash Pandas merchandise at your team store, would have liked to see branded waste/trash cans as options! Loved the concessions menu items as well, stamping the burger buns with the team logo adds a nice touch.

In terms of game day tradition, watching Randy Roadkill flying on a zipline across the field with his tail on fire (and eventually landing in a trash can) is certainly a unique way to start a football game! Well done Trash Pandas front office.

Portland Pioneers (Grant HS, Oregon):

How is this for attention to detail? Here is the description of team’s color strategy from the Pioneers’ response to the branding challenge: “Our team colors consist of green, white, and brown. Portland is home to beautiful and vast forests and other nature destinations; to keep with this theme, we chose the colors accordingly: green and brown for trees, white for rushing water, etc.”

Loved the slogan, totally on-brand and consistent with brand messaging throughout the entire challenge: “There’s no traffic going the extra mile”

Super impressive! Really creative, incredibly detail-oriented and very, very thorough. Exceptional job from newcomers to this competition…Grant HS students are bringing it!

UPDATED STANDINGS (INCLUDES POINT DISTRIBUTION FOR RESPONSE TO SPORTS MARKETING CHALLENGE #2:

SchoolTeam NameTotal Points
Grant HSPortland Pioneers500
Montgomery CountySan Antonio Honey Badgers498
Lyman High SchoolOrlando Trash Pandas496
Blacksburg HSSan Antonio Sentinels493
KCTCSalt Lake Phenoms487
Little ElmOrlando Owls485
Dallas High SchoolKeystone Wolverines482
RandolphLouisville Ridgerunners478
Carl SandburgMexico City Aztecs478
Kellam High School Virginia Beach Sharks475
Stafford HSMiami Sharks475
Wichita East HSWichita Matadors470
Richardson HSLittle Rock Badgers463
HCHS College & Career AcademyHonolulu Stingrays236
KIHGrand Rapids Rogue235
Victor J AndrewChi-Town Chargers 235

#BeFrank Player of the Year Campaign

The Wisconsin Badgers have a done a great job all year promoting Frank Kaminsky as a NCAA Wooden Award candidate (given to the nation’s top player each year).  The marketing efforts along with his play have helped solidify him as the leading candidate to win the award.

The Badgers athletics program has been updating a unique microsite (promoted through their various social channels using the hashtag #BeFrank) linked to their athletics homepage all season long (http://www.uwathletics.com/befrank).  Adding the social element has given the campaign more legs as it enables brands and media outlets to get involved (see the screenshot featuring tweets from Champs Sports and Sporting News below).  It also, allows them to maximize fan engagement such as their efforts on Instagram to congratulate Kaminsky on being named as a finalist for the award and share Vines featuring highlights throughout the season.

The site itself includes a brief video, media clips, accomplishments throughout the season, including his academic achievements and commentary regarding his character.  There is no question that having a player from your program win any award, particularly something as prestigious as the Heisman or Wooden award.  It certainly gives the program’s brand a big boost, especially on the heels of having another player from the program finish as runner up in this year’s Heisman race in Melvin Gordon (the Badgers used the hashtag #MelvinMoment to promote his campaign).  It is always interesting to see how an Athletics program promotes individual success but this particular campaign, to be frank, looks to be a winner.

 

Clash of the Titans

Today’s guest post features an infographic from Sophia Barber via Sports-Management-Degrees.com, a leading online platform of education concerning business attributes of sports. The Sport Management degree guides and gives information to build a career in the field of sports industry and to achieve the unique positions within all sectors, including professional sports organizations, college athletics as well as in recreation management field.

For years, ESPN has enjoyed a stranglehold on the market as the dominant sports broadcasting company.  Fox Sports 1 aims to change that.  For an inside look at the competition facing Fox, please view the infographic pasted below (click here to see a full size image).  It will be interesting to see how it all plays out!  The spirit of competition is, after all, why they play the games… 🙂

Student Logo Contest – Championship Round!

In our latest sports marketing competition, we asked students at our member schools to redesign their school athletics logo as part of a hypothetical rebranding / brand extension effort. Here are the two designs that have advanced to the championship round and we are now voting to see will be crowned the best logo re-design.  Voting ends on Thursday evening at 5:00 PM Pacific Time.

The winning student will receive a prize consistent with his or her ideal area of study and career goals (in other words an art student will receive something different from a marketing student…we will be offering the winner a selection of prizes to choose from but it will be a significant prize!) The TOP THREE designs will win a t-shirt featuring their design AND SCC will help to coordinate an interview, skype call, google hangout, phone call, job shadow or something along those lines with a sports or entertainment property in their local area in their ideal field of study so please be ready to vote…there is a lot on the line for our participants!

PLEASE VOTE HERE:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.448201648597316.1073741836.112852445465573&type=1

Student Logo Contest – The Elite Eight

In our latest sports marketing competition, we asked students at our member schools to redesign their school athletics logo as part of a hypothetical rebranding / brand extension effort. Here are the “elite eight” finalists and we are now voting to see which four students and their designs will be advancing to the Final Four.  Voting ends on Thursday evening.

The winning student will receive a prize consistent with his or her ideal area of study and career goals (in other words an art student will receive something different from a marketing student…we will be offering the winner a selection of prizes to choose from but it will be a significant prize!) The TOP THREE designs will win a t-shirt featuring their design AND SCC will help to coordinate an interview, skype call, google hangout, phone call, job shadow or something along those lines with a sports or entertainment property in their local area in their ideal field of study so please be ready to vote…there is a lot on the line for our participants!

PLEASE VOTE HERE:  http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.442386749178806.1073741833.112852445465573&type=1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many thanks also to Henry Ammann at Tigard High School in Oregon for lending his creative expertise to the project!

Sneaker Wars & the NCAA Tournament

Today’s post comes courtesy of Griffin Booth, Sports Career Consulting’s blog manager.  CONGRATS again to Griffin for being accepted into Major League Soccer’s sales academy.  I know you will do very well and would like to wish you the best as you continue to pursue your dream job!

Nike once again headlined this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament as the leading outfitter of participating teams. Nike and its affiliated brands sponsored 52 of the 68 teams in the field, equaling the same number as last year’s tourney. The breakdown shows that 44 teams wear Nike jerseys, while 5 schools represent Jordan. In shoes, 47 schools wear Nike, while 5 schools rock the Jordan Brand. Colorado State, Southern, and Western Kentucky are the three schools that wear Nike shoes, but represent Russell as the sponsor in uniform. In terms of the schools represented by Jordan (North Carolina, Marquette, Georgetown, California, and Wichita State), the brand got some nice exposure with all but one of their teams advancing to the field of 32, unfortunately their top seeded team (Georgetown) suffered one of the biggest upsets of the tournament.

13 schools in this year’s tournament represented Adidas. Adidas took a unique approach in terms of uniform style as well, which has drawn a lot of attention. This year, Adidas bucked the traditional approach to uniform design by creating jerseys with not only sleeves, but also with camouflage-patterned shorts and extremely bright color jerseys. The AdiZero jerseys have received a lot of negative national attention so far, and it will be interesting to see if they are talked about throughout the tournament.

Under Armour is a brand that has been trying to “spread its wings” into other categories, recently working to make a play for a slice of market share in the basketball market. Schools like  Maryland, Texas Tech, and Utah are examples of big time program football schools that are sponsored by Under Armor. However, in this year’s tournament, Under Armor represents only La Salle, South Dakota State, and Temple.  However, La Salle has become one of this year’s “cinderella” teams, providing a nice boost in exposure for the UA brand while Temple performed admirably pulling out a first round upset and giving the #1 seed Indiana a scare in the field of the 32, nearly advancing to the sweet sixteen.

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Social Media Ghost Town: Google Plus

Today’s post comes courtesy of Griffin Booth, Sports Career Consulting’s blog manager and guest blogger.

Last summer’s much anticipated released of Google + introduced another social media platform to the masses. According to ZDnet, G+ amassed 5 million users within the first month after launch. While G+ does not yet compare to the 1 billion users on Facebook and 500 million users on Twitter, the platform does boast 400 million registered users (as of November 2012), making it the 4th largest social network in the world (these statistics derived from expanded ramblings). This helps support the fact that G+ still maintains a significant number of global users and offers another great opportunity for sports brands to connect with fans.

Google has, for the most part, been a leader in innovation. With “Project Glass” and a driver-less car project on the horizon, it’s a safe bet that Google’s commitment to creating an unparalleled user experience is unwavering. That commitment only reinforces the untapped potential of their social networking platforms. To underscore this point, consider the unique features G+ offers, such as the “hangout” feature, a tool enabling multiple users to live video chat, creating a new and unique way for face-to-face communication to occur. From a sports business perspective, what better way for teams to promote their athletes and connect with fans or for athletes to promote brands in which they represent?  G+ also offers an easy for news and updates to be posted as well so that fans no longer need to look up a “page” in order to get their information about favorite teams or athletes. Considering the potential of G+ to help brands connect with fans, how have those in the sports industry integrated G+ with their overall digital strategies?

Brands:

A recent post on Forbes online highlights the most profitable brands in the sports market. Heavyweight Nike reigns above the competition and has long been a leader in the digital space, but has been largely dismissive of G+. Nike currently stands at +337,660, with 338,243 in their circle. Considering the millions of consumers that consider themselves fans of the swoosh, Nike has done little via G+. The last posted was in May of 2012, ironically promoting Nike Golf using the face of one of their top athletes in Tiger Woods. Nike’s rival, Adidas, has a smaller presence with +9,317 and 7,328 in their circle. While Adidas doesn’t post to G+ every day, they have frequently promoted commercials and encouraged fan interaction. In addition to commercials, Adidas has posted a ton of content, including interviews with sponsors, and product release dates. Another Nike competitor, Under Armour, is also active on their G+ page, but has yet to reach a wide audience. Under Armour currently stands at a +487 with only 184 fans in their circle. While this is relatively low, Under Armour continues to take the time to provide promotional content within their page, with the hope that more consumers will take note. On the flip side, Gatorade, another premier sports brand, has not posted to their G+ page since June. Subsequently, they currently sit at +695.

Meanwhile, in the Forbes list of most valuable sports brands, ESPN ranked second behind Nike. While they are more than just an apparel industry, ESPN is highly active within G+. Their page caters an amazing 2,214,671 followers with a +2,243,674. ESPN doesn’t let their fan base down, consistently posting on their page every single day. ESPN not only posts highlights on their page, but also creates points of fan engagement through polls and hangouts, while promoting commercials as well. They are a leading example of how using G+ can be an extremely valuable medium for connecting with and engaging fans online.

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Olympic Sponsors Facing Criticism…

At what point does sponsorship of a mega-event like the Olympic Games yield diminishing returns if the brand’s image receives a significant amount of negative publicity? 

If you have tuned in to watch the Games within the past four years, you have likely seen (or heard) the slogan “Visa: The Only Card Accepted at the 20XX Olympic Games” being advertised in one form or another.  Visa has long been one of the biggest supporters of the Games (since 1986) and, as part of their relationship with the organizing committee as a sponsor, is the exclusive credit card of the Olympic Games.

As such, anyone without a Visa might find themselves in a bit of a bind when it comes to making an Olympic purchase.  The official ticketing website of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games states “In recognition of Visa’s longstanding support of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, only Visa (debit, credit and prepaid) can be used to purchase tickets.”  In other words, if fans want tickets to see the beach volleyball competition, they will need a Visa to make the purchase.  Same goes for anyone buying a t-shirt to commemorate their experience at the Games.  And anyone thinking they can circumvent the system by visiting an ATM and paying with cash better think again because if their debit card does not feature a Visa logo, they’ll be hit with a hefty “convenience” charge.  Visa will have a near-monopoly on ATMs at event facilities.

Granted, organizers need to create value for sponsors paying millions in sponsorship fees to justify the spend, but one has to wonder if consumers become turned off to the brand as a result of the exclusivity (for more perspective on Visa’s exclusive deal and how it impacts consumers in London, check out this blog post from b2bmarketing.net.)  Visa isn’t the only one generating headlines for something other than their Olympic loyalty either.  McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, two long-standing partners of the Olympic Games (who have spent billions over the years supporting the event and even waived their right to using the Games as a tax exemption) have received a lot of criticism from advocates of healthier eating.  It will be interesting to see how everything plays out following the Games from a publicity perspective.  Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, hasn’t exactly rushed to the side of two of the Games top sponsors either, suggesting there had been a “question mark” hanging over aligning with them for the London Games.  Of course, Rogge pulled a 180 the day after making the statement, saying he’s “proud to be associated with them.”

It remains to be seen if any of these brands will pull back on their support, but if the criticism becomes widespread and the risk of damaging the brand becomes real, well, you never know…