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!
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!
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!
|School||State||Team Name||Total Points|
|Blacksburg HS||VA||San Antonio Sentinels||993|
|Grant HS||OR||Portland Pioneers||991|
|Lyman High School||FL||Orlando Trash Pandas||983|
|KCTC||MI||Salt Lake Phenoms||976|
|Montgomery County||MO||San Antonio Honey Badgers||975|
|Little Elm||TX||Orlando Owls||970|
|Dallas High School||PA||Keystone Wolverines||969|
|Carl Sandburg||IL||Mexico City Aztecs||959|
|Kellam High School||VA||Virginia Beach Sharks||953|
|Richardson HS||TX||Little Rock Badgers||953|
|Wichita East HS||KS||Wichita Matadors||951|
|Stafford HS||VA||Miami Sharks||475|
|Victor J Andrew||IL||Chi-Town Chargers||470|
|Richardson HS||TX||Little Rock Badgers||463|
|HCHS College & Career Academy||GA||Honolulu Stingrays||236|
|KIH||MI||Grand Rapids Rogue||235|