SCC FFL Sports Marketing Challenge #4 Scores & Review

Entries are in for the fourth sports marketing challenge in this year’s competition with just two to go!  Congrats to Blacksburg High School in Virginia for taking a slight lead in the 2020 SCC FFL Sports Marketing Challenge! Grant High School in Oregon is just two points behind with quite a few schools still in contention.

Every year, this is one of the most fun challenges to evaluate, in part because we see so much creativity with fan experience strategies, but also with the attention to detail that some of our competing teams go through in designing and creating their stadiums. Obviously this year there as an added wrinkle as team’s had to determine whether to allow fans at games, along with determining appropriate protocols for keeping fans, staff and players safe and healthy. As always, there were some great submissions this year.

Points have been distributed for each team’s response to the Fan Experience / Stadium Design component of thecompetition (sports marketing challenge #4). Updated standings are below as well as highlights featuring several particularly creative, unique and strategic stadium designs, amenities, and fan experience strategies.

San Antonio Sentinels (Blacksburg HS, Virginia)

The Sentinels’ front office absolutely knocked it out of the park with this challenge, dazzling us with really cool ideas for enhancing the fan experience at every turn.

One such idea was an elevated take on a popular feature many sports teams and venues include with team-branded apps by helping to direct the flow of foot traffic at stadiums and arenas. The Sentinels’ front office will provide specific results to help guide fans, including the number of people waiting in line for bathrooms and at each concessions / food area along with an estimated wait time. We can totally see how this feature would improve the game-day experience for fans.

In addition to the app feature, the “many” bathrooms were designed to include TVs so fans won’t miss a second of the action or any big plays, including monitors on the floor in bathroom stalls.

Blacksburg students also introduced some great strategies for utilizing technology as a way to influence the fan experience, including contactless ticketing and concessions, a social media board and interactive scoreboard that display fans tweets and pictures taken during the game using the hashtag #GuardTheFort, and a really cool Virtual Reality game day experience where fans can access an on field exclusive experience through VR from designated VR spots throughout the stadium.

The Sentinels’ front office was not shy about spending money to improve the experience either, announcing plans to sink $500 million into a stadium renovation project. Students created a 3D rendering video highlighting some of the features and amenities that fans would enjoy at home games during the team’s inaugural season. Well done Blacksburg High School!

Orlando Trash Pandas (Lyman HS, Florida)

Absolutely LOVED the stadium design model created by students at Lyman High School, just check out the attention to detail! It is clear the Trash Pandas’ front office put a lot of time and effort into this challenge. Really cool stadium!

We also thought there were some fun ideas here for building traditions on game days at that stadium which offer a great way to enhance the fan experience. Some highlights include:

  • Sounding a “semi truck horn” after every first down
  • Having the team’s mascot “Randy Roadkill” fly across on a zipline across the stadium
  • Great brand extension with the stadium design by creating the home team’s tunnel (where players run out of) in the shape of the team’s logo

Really nice job from the Trash Pandas front office in response to sports marketing challenge #4!

Keystone Wolverines (Dallas HS, PA)

Some pretty cool fan experience ideas from Dallas High School students in this challenge, including a unique spin on concessions ordering which will allow fans to order food for a specific time during the game and have items delivered to the seats. If the Wolverines’ front office could make that a reality (lots of logistical hurdles here), it could be a game changer in terms of how fans choose dining options during games.

Also, really liked some of the brand extensions in terms of food menu offerings, including:

  • Keystone Kettle Corn which comes in all the colors of the Wolverine team
  • The “Cascades Cookout” BBQ restaurant on-site that has ribs, pulled pork sandwiches, and brisket
  • “Curly Claws” (curly french fries)
  • Wolverine Bites (boneless chicken wings)
  • Wolverine Bones (bone-in chicken wings)
  • A sandwich named after the team’s mascot (“Wally the Wolverine) called the “Clawesome Club” sandwich

All in all a fantastic effort from Dallas HS students. Nice job!

Portland Pioneers (Grant HS, Oregon)

Once again, Grant High (newcomers to this competition) brought a sensational effort. The Pioneers’ front office submitted a very thorough response to the fan experience challenge.

One thing that really stood out is how well the franchise has been consistently positioned as an industry leader in everything they plan to do, and the team’s fan experience strategy was no different. For example, according to the team’s report, this is how the franchise intends to be environmental leaders: “With Portland located near the Cascadia Subduction Zone—an area prone to seismic activity—we will hire the world’s best architects and structural engineers to design the stadium to withstand earthquakes of any level. Since we are also situated on the Willamette River, we will take steps to avoid potential flooding at all costs. This will look like some type of barrier built next to the river to protect the stadium, and drains throughout the grounds in the case that the barrier is breached.” Incredibly forward thinking, very impressive!

Also, the concept of “location is everything” was not lost on the Pioneers’ front office. They recognized the importance of a convenient location that is accessible through mass transit, but also placing a venue in a location that offers ambiance and connects with the city. No doubt the team’s decision for an urban location for the stadium will have a significant impact on the overall fan experience on game days!

The VR features (each player’s helmet will be fitted with a built-in camera and mic, allowing fans to experience scores or highlight plays from a player perspective) was icing on the cake. Cool idea to have VR “pods” for viewing these experiences throughout the stadium, and great idea to extend some of those features to the team’s app to allow fans at home to enjoy some of the same experiences.

Fantastic job Grant High School students!

Salt Lake Phenoms (Kent CTC, Michigan)

Perhaps the best setting for a stadium in this year’s competition, along with coolest stadium amenity, goes to the Salt Lake Phenoms front office. The downtown location, surrounded by mountains, would definitely attract fans to the stadium on game days and even non-event days, especially with the awesome idea of adding a ski lift feature to the venue. No doubt that will be a popular attraction with fans!

We also appreciated the efforts to build the most high tech stadium in all of sports…an expensive endeavor no doubt, but one that should build loyalty with your fan base and encourage fans to pack the house every game and event day. Really great stuff from Kent CTC students!

The Salt Lake Phenoms new football stadium, surrounded by the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, will feature a ski lift amenity allowing fans to see games from a whole new perspective

Orlando Owls (Little Elm HS, Texas)

One of our favorite initiatives in this competition, not just in response to sports marketing challenge #4, but the ENTIRE competition to date, is the Owls’ focus on catering to a female audience. Not only is this long overdue in our industry, but it is also smart marketing. Here is how the team plans to connect build a loyal following with a female demographic as the team kicks off its inaugural season in Orlando: “Women’s Sports:  We will also be the first team to have a women’s professional football league “The Orlando Owl”. One of the major emerging trends in sports is the growth of women’s athletics and we believe the NFL needs to lead in this area.  We are determined to give female athletes the exposure they need and deserve. We will also be coming out with a women’s fashion line for both teams now women no longer need to wear that baggy jersey and can wear something a bit more comfortable and fitted. We have teamed up with Nike to make this happen and our fashion line next year.” Absolutely loved this idea!

Aerial view of the Orlando Owls’ new stadium, the “Disney Mouse House”

Another great idea from Little Elm students as part of their fan experience / stadium design plan was both on-brand an environmentally friendly as the franchise announced plans to build a solar power roof in the shape of one of the most recognizable brands in the world, Mickey Mouse. This partnership with Disney also helped the Owls’ front office to net the largest naming rights deal in league history at $1 billion for 20 years (according to the team’s report).  According to the Owls’ front office, “Fans will watch the Owls feast in the Disney Mouse House.” Love it.

Excellent job Little Elm High School students! Bravo!

Wichita Matadors (Wichita East HS, Kansas)

I think we will just let the stadium renderings designed with legos that Wichita East students created in response to sports marketing challenge #4 speak for themselves…love the creativity and attention to detail from the Matadors front office in response to stadium design. Totally unique and fun approach to this challenge, don’t think we have ever seen this before. Impressive work from Wichita East students!

Updated Stadings:

SchoolStateTeam NameTotal Points
Blacksburg HSVASan Antonio Sentinels993
Grant HSORPortland Pioneers991
Lyman High SchoolFLOrlando Trash Pandas983
KCTCMISalt Lake Phenoms976
Montgomery CountyMOSan Antonio Honey Badgers975
Little ElmTXOrlando Owls970
Dallas High SchoolPAKeystone Wolverines969
Carl SandburgILMexico City Aztecs959
Kellam High School VAVirginia Beach Sharks953
Richardson HSTXLittle Rock Badgers953
RandolphWILouisville Ridgerunners952
Wichita East HSKSWichita Matadors951
Stafford HSVAMiami Sharks475
Victor J AndrewILChi-Town Chargers 470
Richardson HSTXLittle Rock Badgers463
HCHS College & Career AcademyGAHonolulu Stingrays236
KIHMIGrand Rapids Rogue235

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

SCC FFL Current Standings – Challenge #4 Point Distribution

Four challenges down, just two to go in our annual fantasy football sports marketing competition and after it looked like a few teams were pulling away, things atop the standings just got a little more crowded.  

Kim Radford’s class at Blacksburg High in Virginia (“Portland Outlaws”) moved into first place, while Richele Fallon’s class at Montgomery County HS in Missouri has shown some resiliency, moving into second place this week after slipping out of the top five last few weeks.  Lee Geffert’s class at Richardson High School in Texas (“Hawaiian Great Whites”) has also been persistent, moving into third place in the standings after several fantastic responses to our sports marketing challenges.  And don’t look now, but the 2016 winner of this competition, Hinsdale Central in Illinois, crept into fourth place…Meanwhile, students at Waverly High School in New York slipped to fifth this week, but something tells us you can’t count them out just yet.  Things are going to get really interesting as we head down the home stretch!

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SCC FFL Current Standings – Challenge #3 Point Distribution

Halfway through our annual fantasy football sports marketing competition and we have quite a few schools that are starting to gain some separation in the standings.  However, the students in Bob Kelly’s class at Waverly High in New York don’t appear to be willing to relinquish their place atop the standings as they maintain their lead and remain in first place in our fantasy football sports marketing competition.  The Louisville Rebels’ front office staff had one of the highest point total for their response to our third sports marketing challenge on PR / community relations planning.

Kim Radford’s class at Blacksburg High in Virginia (“Portland Outlaws”) moved up one spot to second place while Nicole Rusch’s class at Pine Island High School in Minnesota (“Louisville Lighting”) moved into a close third.  Watch out for Lee Geffert’s class at Richardson High School in Texas (“Hawaiian Great Whites”) though…thanks to an awesome response to the third sports marketing challenge, they jumped six spots in the standings to fourth place!

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