SportsBiz Madness: 2021 Case Study Tournament (Championship Round)

Thanks to our Judges!

An extra special thanks to Alex Dobson, an executive with DNA Seattle (a Seattle-based advertising agency), and Dr. Jim Strode, Chair, Department of Sports Administration and Associate Professor at Ohio University for helping to evaluate the Final Four round of case study competition entries.  Gaining perspective from seasoned industry professionals and an academic institution with the pedigree of Ohio University offers an invaluable educational experience for our students and our teachers.  The feedback from both (read the post below for more) provides fantastic context for not only the four teams who battled it out in the Final Four round of this year’s competition, but also the students and teachers following along in their own classrooms.

Great stuff. Thank you so much gentlemen!

The Championship round is set!

After receiving nearly 120 entries for Sports Career Consulting’s fifth annual “SportsBiz Madness” high school case study competition, we are left with just two teams.  

For the Final Four round of this competition, our competitors were tasked with the development of a sponsorship activation campaign for a brand recently acquired by Coca-Cola (Body Armor) surrounding the upcoming Summer Games in Tokyo to help the brand gain market share in the sports drink marketplace.  

To find out who advanced to the championship round in this year’s tournament, please read on…

Props to all our Final Four competitors!

Determining which students would advance to the final round of the competition was an extremely tough call. All competitors delivered strategic and insightful ideas, and showed an excellent grasp of sponsorship. As always with these kinds of “pitches,” you’re at the mercy of what the judges biases are or what they are most interested in–which is to say that if you aren’t moving on to the next round, it doesn’t mean your ideas were off target or wouldn’t be effective. The reality is, sometimes big brands get it wrong, or focus on the wrong things. So, just keep trusting your instincts, continue learning, push forward, and get ready for the next opportunity. You should all be proud of how far you have come in this tournament!


As general feedback, one key critical observation (perhaps a little advanced but something to consider): While the recommendation of leveraging the new Coca-Cola/Body Armor relationship makes a ton of financial sense given Coca-Cola’s scale and budgets (and kudos to GRHS for being up on current beverage industry happenings), a brand like Body Armor will need to be extremely careful just how much they align their healthy and performance-driven product with a product that is considered far less healthy and doesn’t have the natural connection to athletic performance. More likely is that both brands could combine their Olympics budgets, while telling separate stories, to extract more promotional opportunities and added-value from Olympic organizers (i.e., LEVERAGE). Just some perspective on how an agency would likely approach a strategic activation tied to the Summer Games…

Pinelands Regional High School (New Jersey) vs. Green Run High School (Virginia)

The slipper still fits for students from Green Run HS, newcomers to this competition, as they knock out the defending champion Pinelands Regional High School from this year’s tournament! Congratulations to Kerri Sabo and her students at Green Run High, you are moving on to the final round…

Some feedback from our judges:

In addition to presenting a good grasp of the elements that make up a successful sponsorship, Green Run brought a ton of really fun ideas/executions to the table  and packaged those up in a visual presentation with actual content executions (2 videos!) that they went and produced/designed. Sponsorships like the Olympics are incredibly expensive, so exhausting as many activations as possible is important to squeeze the most value out of an Olympic sponsors large investment. 

Some highlights:

  • Local athletic community tie-in with YMCA across the country
  • VR activation and partnership with Oculus
  • Giveaway-Mask with purchase promotion
  • Retail “Olympic Podium,” activation in grocery stores
  • Virtual (and digital invite-only) torch lighting party (and the social media push behind the promo to enhance the activation)
  • Social media activations on both Twitter and Snapchat
  • Bonus points for actually shooting two pieces of video and designing billboards, appreciate seeing the extra effort!

Some opportunities for growth:

Tons of great ideas! A few things to consider, enhancing your proposal:

  • Be sure to proofread for errors, as well as edit so the document reads as if it were written by one voice…challenging given this is a group project, but you want reviewers to easily follow the train of thought, particularly with the challenge of squeezing this many ideas into two short pages
  • Your campaign should start with your target market (those living an active lifestyle), and all
    sponsorship and activation activities should keep this front of mind.
  • It was unclear what differentiates BODYARMOR from Gatorade. It is mentioned that the product is healthier—is this true, and how is this communicated to the consumer?
  • The Walmart partnership is interesting. On one hand, the domestic reach of Walmart is vast—their locations span both urban and rural locations. On the other hand, outside of using Walmart for distribution, a public partnership may pigeonhole BODYARMOUR with the same consumer feelings that are attributed to Walmart (i.e. cheap, discount, low quality, not known for healthy).
  • Expand on the YMCA partnership. Why did you choose them over, say, competitive athletic
    associations, race companies, etc.
  • While I know that Powerade is a soft drink option at fast food restaurants and convenience stores, do you see many people purchasing BODYARMOR to consume while watching a sporting event? Might benefit to share the rationale behind the decision if possible.
  • One thing all the judges noticed…If you’re attempting to activate BODYARMOR, why are you allowing consumers to choose between a free Coke or BODYARMOR?
  • Provide examples of the endorsement roster, and make sure it matches the target audience’s
    awareness space.

Great job Green Run High School students! Can’t wait to see what you come up with in the final round!

Kathy Bennett’s students at Pinelands Regional High School, as always, offered another impressive case study response. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t quite enough to get through to the next round.

Some feedback from the judges:

Tons of great ideas! A few things to consider, enhancing your proposal:

  • As suggested earlier, be sure to proofread for errors, as well as edit so the document reads as if it were written by one voice.
  • The example of The Weeknd performing at the SuperBowl is an example of promotion, specifically aimed at increasing awareness of the musician. The Nike partnership with the NFL is closer to a true sponsorship relationship.
  • Product positioning definition may be off. Emphasize how a brand differentiates itself from another, in this case, BODYARMOR versus Gatorade.
  • What connects the athletes who endorse this product with the interests of the target audience?
  • I like the idea of connecting BODYARMOR to the endorser’s social media pages.
  • I like the idea of connecting the flavors to the Olympic rings, assuming that Coca-Cola has the rights to use this intellectual property.
  • The giveaway promotion with the caps is a throwback idea—by making it easy with registering online, you’re also creating a sizable e-mail database for direct consumer contact (all that data offers a lot of value, can open the door to more effective future campaigns).
  • Sampling is great…however, how will you execute your sample plan in the US and Canada with all the limitations and challenges presented by the pandemic?
  • Loved the Tik Tok challenge and the “In Good Taste” social media ideas—very creative and certainly a strategy that will boost levels of fan engagement.

Really well done Pinelands Regional High School, no shame in a Final Four finish!

Downers Grove North High School (Illinois) vs. Grant High School (Oregon)

Downers Grove North: After several deep tournament runs in our SportsBiz Madness case study tournaments, Downers Grove North managed to hold off Grant High School and reach their first ever finals appearance. Congratulations to Drew Himes’ students at Downers Grove North, you are in the championship round.

Some feedback from our judges:

What really set DGNHS apart in this round was a very robust and holistic set of sponsorship activations that aligned nicely with the Body Armor brand, the Olympics, Olympic athletes, the local host-city, and current world events which positioned the brand as not only (but certainly first-and-foremost) a company rooted in superior performance, but also one that is trying to be thoughtful and connected to the larger world outside of their corporate walls.

  • Leveraging Olympic Athletes via a welcome package of Body Armor goodies
  • Use of robot vending machines in/around the Olympic community and the Tokyo market
  • Light-up bottles for spectators at the opening ceremonies was a brilliant and super creative idea, all the judges loved this one!
  • Bottle cap code promotion and giveaway
  • Use of QR codes-Influencer incentivization
  • “Mask-Up Armor-Up” social media execution
  • TikTok virtual silly-Olympics for the rest of the globe to have fun competing against other fans (could be even more fun if a few Olympic athletes actually participate as well!)
  • Really nice job explaining and defining the sponsorship components. It is clear you have a strong grasp on these concepts which is really the most important thing in these competitions
  • Great attention to detail in not only providing athletes with BODYARMOR gear, but also making sure the product is in many camera shots. Helps to get the most bang for the buck!
  • How do you encourage or enforce BODYARMOUR baths? Smart idea, as it is an ambush play on the Gatorade dump.
  • Are spectators from beyond Japan allowed to attend the games? Did you consider how this could impact your sweepstakes promotion for all-expense paid trips to Tokyo?
  • Sponsoring the media provider (NBC) is also an innovative idea—we’re seeing more of this, as pregame, halftime, and postgame shows have corporate partnerships.

Fantastic job Downers Grove North! Really looking forward to seeing more great ideas in the final round!

Grant High School: It has been an amazing year for Grant High School, “rookies” in our annual competitions who managed a Final Four appearance in the case study tournament this spring AND a runner-up finish in the fall fantasy football competition. What an impressive run and we can’t wait to see if Grant High School students can break through next year and nab that elusive championship trophy!

Some feedback from the judges:

  • Love the logo you presented—shows both unity and acceptance (assuming through diversity).
  • Remember that the audience at the Olympics will be limited, so emphasize how you will reach the consumer through traditional media or other activations outside of Japan.
  • All the judges raved about the idea of the voice controlled vending machines!
  • Why are you selling facemasks? This could be a very simple give-away premium to spectators. No sense running the risk in turning consumers off to the product!
  • Appreciate the focus on sustainability given your target audience including the idea of fully recyclable plastics and biodegradable materials. However, any research to indicate this is an actual possibility? And how might that impact your profitability given how much you will be investing in an Olympic Games partnership?
  • How will your social media campaign (Instagram) target consumers? Through paid promotion?
  • I like the QR code idea—it serves multiple purposes, as it gets consumers to activate with the athletes and you can collect tons of data (an emphasis for any brand)

Overall, really well done Grant HS students. Impressive work!

Congrats again to ALL our participants in this year’s tournament, including everyone who advanced the bracket round of the competition. We look forward to seeing you all again next year!

2021 SportsBiz Madness Case Study Tournament Bracket

SCC FFL Sports Marketing Challenge #5 Scores & Review

With just one sports marketing challenge remaining (digital marketing) before we crown a champion in our sixth annual sports marketing competition, the standings have been updated as we kick off the post Thanksgiving break week. 

One of our favorite things about this competition is seeing not only how well our students grasp fundamental sports business concepts, but the effort, enthusiasm and creativity that goes into each response to our sports marketing challenges.  One of the best challenges for demonstrating that creativity is the ticket sales, promotion and sponsorship challeng and this year’s competitors did not disappoint, incorporating elements from three different chapters of our textbook while demonstrating an understanding of the importance of the sales and service function in managing a professional sports franchise.  There were so many unique and fun ideas.  We also loved seeing the mock-ups of actual tickets that their franchise would be distributing to fans…several pretty cool designs this year!

Some highlights:

There were some great giveaway, sponsor and game day promotion ideas as well. Here were a few favorites:

  • Orlando Trash Pandas (Lyman HS, Florida): Lego Set Giveaway: First 150 fans will get an exclusive log set of Randy Roadkill
  • Keystone Wolverines (Dallas HS, Pennsylvania): First Responders Game- First responders eligible for half price tickets and a free post-game stadium tour experience
  • Portland Pioneers (Grant HS, Oregon): “Spooky Sunday” Halloween Promotion (Sponsored by Tillamook Creamery), a massive haunted house that wraps around the entire stadium while inside, fans can navigate a corn maze and scavenger hunt
  • Louisville Ridgerunners (Randolph HS, Wisconsin): Luxury Seat Giveaway – Text 67778 with your final score prediction by game time for a chance to win luxury seat tickets to an upcoming game
  • Little Rock Badgers (Richardson HS, Texas): Merry Christmas, Badger Family! First 3,000 Fans get a Football themed Santa Hat at a December home game

As we have seen throughout the competition, another fantastic job by all of our competing schools!

Here are a few highlights from the ticket sales, promotion and sponsorship challenge:

Louisville Ridgerunners (Randolph High School, Wisconsin)

As highlighted in the section above, the Ridgerunners offered a pretty cool digital marketing game day promo. Love the gamification concept and this looks like something fans would certainly enjoy, boosting levels of fan engagement. Here is the promo that stood out: “Luxury Seat Giveaway – Text 67778 with your final score prediction by game time for a chance to win luxury seat tickets to an upcoming game.” That said, the Louisville front office developed a fantastic promotions schedule, no doubt creating enough enthusiasm to fill the stands on game days. Well done Randolph High School!

Portland Pioneers (Grant High School, Oregon)

Another strong showing from the newcomers to this competition. Loved seeing the team find a sponsor for each home game, some really great ideas for engaging fans as well. Really cool to see the Pioneers’ introducing a live, functional website to showcase some of the team’s promotions as well. Really impressive work from Grant High School…well done!

San Antonio Sentinels (Blacksburg High School, Virginia)

Where to begin? Yet another incredibly thorough, comprehensive response to this year’s sports marketing challenges from the Sentinels’ front office. As cliche as it may sound, Blacksburg HS students checked all the boxes for what was required for this challenge and then some, including some strategies we felt were “next level” in terms of what we traditionally see in this competition. A few highlights:

  • Loved the explanation of how PSLs will benefit not only the franchise but also the benefits to your ticket holders…more than anything, we loved seeing how students had a firm grasp of the concept, really impressive!
  • From the sponsorship side, we loved seeing not only a breakdown of inventory but also a rate card and sample sponsorship package / proposal…not sure we have seen something that detailed in this competition before!
  • Our favorite sponsorship in this competition: Waffle House sponsoring player introductions with the tagline “Our Receivers are Open 24/7”
  • Some great game day promotions, loved seeing most of them attached to a sponsor

Overall, a fantastic ticket sales and sponsorship plan. Great job Sentinels’ front office!

Salt Lake Phenoms (Kent CTC, Michigan)

Credit the Phenoms’ front office for coming up with some of the most unique and creative ides in this challenge…they earned a perfect score as a result. Really liked seeing an out of the box approach once again from Kent CTC students. A few of our favorite ideas:

  • While logistically there would be some major challenges bypassing RSN rights and league broadcast deals to offer streaming service, but love the Phenoms’ “Stay Home Streaming Service”, not only by providing live game coverage, but the yearly VIP membership that offers premium insider content, practice sessions (another logistical hurdle but great concept) additional camera angles on game days, and a virtual tour of team facilities
  • Loved the on-brand sponsorship with local resort that allows for tons of co-branding and cross promotion, will certainly help bring in new fans and build loyalty with an emerging fan base as the team takes the field for its first season
  • Partnering with local colleges and universities for a think tank is an absolutely awesome idea…brilliant!

All in all, a super impressive response to the ticket sales and sponsorship challenge that keeps the Phantoms in the running for this year’s trophy. Great job Kent CTC students!

Orlando Owls (Little Elm High School, Texas)

We thought it was a really smart strategy to highlight the Owls’ biggest rivalry game and go all out promoting it to help build excitement in the team’s first season. Great idea from the Owls’ front office. Also, enjoyed seeing some consistency from Little Elm HS students throughout this competition with a focus on charitable work and cause marketing intiatives, culminating with a midseason charity event at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Nice work to continue the work with a team’s key corporate partner (Disney) with a continued community relations effort. Nice job Orlando Owls!


SchoolTeam NameStateTotal Points
Blacksburg HSSan Antonio SentinelsVA1243
Grant HSPortland PioneersOR1241
Lyman High SchoolOrlando Trash PandasFL1228
KCTCSalt Lake PhenomsMI1226
Montgomery CountySan Antonio Honey BadgersMO1216
Dallas High SchoolKeystone WolverinesPA1209
Little ElmOrlando OwlsTX1207
Carl SandburgMexico City AztecsIL1200
Richardson HSLittle Rock BadgersTX1197
RandolphLouisville RidgerunnersWI1197
Wichita East HSWichita MatadorsKS1197
Kellam High School Virginia Beach SharksVA953
Stafford HSMiami SharksVA475
Victor J AndrewChi-Town Chargers IL470
HCHS College & Career AcademyHonolulu StingraysGA463
KIHGrand Rapids RogueMI236

Case Study Competition 2020: The Final Four


As SCC’s case study competition moved into the head-to-head tournament round, remaining teams were asked to create a sponsor activation strategy tied to the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo as Coca-Cola re-introduces its Orange Vanilla Coke flavor. Students were asked to prepare a strategy as if the games had not been postponed.

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 maximizing the impact of the sponsorship, recognizing the critical role activation plays in the ROI from sponsorship.

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 to effectively budget for an advertising campaign.  Stay tuned!


Wichita East High School (Kansas):

Pretty neat social media activation strategy to create a competition on Instagram in the lead up to the Games. Encouraging fans to post videos showing examples of how they are keeping active and staying fit (followed, of course, by taking a sip of Orange Vanilla Coke) is a great way to keep fans engaged while promoting the product. The strategy could definitely help provide a sales boost as well.

Overall, nice job Wichita East students!

Richardson High School (Texas):

Love the idea of “Olympic size” cardboard cutouts of athletes competing in the Tokyo Games as a way to attract the attention of shoppers in stores, providing photo opportunities creates a fantastic opportunity to not only increase product sales but also promote the brand through social media channels. Partnering with Usain Bolt and Simone Biles for sponsored Instagram posts will certainly maximize exposure.

Overall, great retail activation strategy by providing in-store Orange Vanilla Coke samples, positioned next to your cardboard display and creative packaging w/ special-edition 12-packs featuring commemorative cans. Well done Richardson High!

Downers Grove South (Illinois):

This was a great lead: “Coca-Cola is a worldwide staple, but in order to get consumers to try the new Orange Vanilla Coke, we’re going to need to get them to be different.” Great recognition of the challenge facing marketers with the launch of a new product.

Love the idea of creating a kind of “docu-series” featuring athletes that the brand has partnered with to tell their stories and give fans a feel-good connection to Orange Vanilla Coke. Smart idea to partner with athletes “with boldening stories to entice the consumer to be bold themselves, and try our new product.” The Twitter hashtag #BeBold is a great choice for the campaign. Nice work!

Flower Mound High School (Texas):

A couple of awesome ideas here, starting with the strategy to create a “mini-Olympics” competition with Coca-Cola themed obstacles in pop-up locations around the World as a way to introduce Orange Vanilla Coke in the months leading up the Tokyo Games. Staging mini-events in cities like London, NY and LA will most certainly attract consumer attention and help connect the brand to the excitement surrounding the Olympic Games. With a grand prize of fans competing in a final round taking place in Tokyo seems like a great way to encourage consumer participation.

Love the interactive idea of placing ads during the games that encourage fans to visit a Coca-Cola branded microsite to sign up for a chance for viewers to receive a drone delivery to their home to sample the new Orange Vanilla Coke flavor.

Last but not least, thought the social media strategy was brilliant. Nice to see you didn’t limit the campaign to just one social channel, makes sense to try to maximize reach by including Insta and Snap to reach younger fans but also promoting OVC through Facebook to reach an older demographic. Love the idea of staging a “best Orange Vanilla Coke” picture competition, and encouraging fans to “socialize” by asking them where their favorite place to drink OVC is, along with positing a photo, makes this a truly global campaign. Including Twitter polls will boost engagement as well.

Great job Flower Mound!


Downers Grove North High School – Period 6 (Illinois)

Tons of super strategies here… Great awareness of the value of giveaways. Stationing “street team” members at venues throughout the games to give away Orange Vanilla Coke t-shirts is a surefire way to generate enthusiasm for the new flavor, and it will turn fans into walking billboards for your product for the entirety of the Olympics.

Tickets, both in physical and e-ticket form, will feature Coke’s new product logo

And speaking of giveaways, love the idea of leveraging packaging as a tool for creating a sweepstakes type promotion by giving tickets away to fans through specially marked caps (also liked the idea of placing the logo on the physical and e-tickets). Taking it a step further, awesome idea to include experiences as part of the promotion, genius to reserve branded “Coca-Cola fan” space/areas during the Opening Ceremonies and Olympic venues. Love this: “This is where they can meet podium athletes from men’s basketball, men’s and women’s swimming, women’s volleyball, and women’s gymnastics. While there, the winners can get autographs, take photos, and share an Orange Vanilla Coke with a gold medalist!” Overall, what a great way to boost product sales right out of the gate.

Another great packaging strategy to help activate your Olympic Games sponsorship is the inclusion of different flags for each of the participating countries on Orange Vanilla Coke. Levels of fandom are high throughout the games as fans demonstrate pride for their nation, connecting the brand to fan loyalty is a smart move. Developing a collector’s edition design for the cans is icing on the cake.

Social activation strategy was really good as well. The “Track the Truck” concept gives you a means for activating via mobile in more than one way…the mobile “Orange Vanilla Coke truck” fleet that will have a presence in major cities around the globe providing product samples and the mobile campaign tied to the trucks on Instagram and Snapchat platforms.

As described by Downers Grove North students, “Anyone who posts a selfie with the truck and uses the hashtag #trackthetruck can be featured on its Instagram and/or Snapchat story. These featured posts all have a location tag on them which will help people seek out these trucks. Each truck will be in a specific part of the world, as well as, one following the Olympic Torch.”

Fantastic job!!! Can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

Pinelands Regional High School (New Jersey):

Love the idea of creating nationwide pop-up sampling stations in 20 cities and over 150 college campuses throughout the U.S. prior to the Tokyo Games. Given the global nature of the Olympics, really liked that the pop-ups would feature different Coke flavors from around the world.

Using Coca-Cola’s official YouTube Channel will be a great platform to extend the advertising messages, love the hashtag #CokeJourney from a storytelling perspective which is such a big part of what makes the Olympic Games so special. Nice overall mix of advertising to support your sponsorship of the 2020 Summer Games as well and not exhaust all your resources on digital, important to try to reach consumers through traditional channels like TV ads and outdoor. Great idea to diversify your advertising investment to maximize the sponsorship reach.

Love the packaging strategy as well by providing codes on specially marked packages of Orange Vanilla Coke that represent one of the five colored rings of the Olympic Games logo. Fun that, when a fan collects all five different colored rings, they will receive official Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games merchandise. Grand prize sounds awesome as well with an all-expense paid, private, guided tour of Coca-Cola in Atlanta…wonder if you could do some kind of viewing party with them during the Games as well? Also love the idea of featuring Olympic Games trivia questions on Orange Vanilla Coke bottles and including different flags from those countries competing in the Games.

Great idea for an on-site activation with the “Orange Vanilla Coke Victory Lounge” (described by Pinelands Regional students as “a luxurious suite for all Olympic athletes featuring flat screen TVs, memory foam seating, all you can eat food and Coca-Cola products).

Love the way you’ve tied together on-site strategies, packaging strategies etc. with your digital activations. Some highlights:

  • A spot outside the lounge for fans to take pictures taken with life-size
    cardboard cutouts of various Olympic athletes holding a bottle of Orange Vanilla Coke
  • Opportunities for fans to create Tik Toks outside the lounge using the Tik Tok dance you’ve created related to the release of the Orange Vanilla Coke, called the “O-Nilla Pop”
  • Providing Snapcode on coke bottles that fans scan on Snapchat, unlocking a “Coke Cam” filter that turns fans’ heads into a giant bottle of Coke, but an “Orange Vanilla Coke” when fans smile…Great concept, and in your words, “yes, this is a fun filter, but it is also a psychological effect causing customers to form a relationship with
    “smiling” and “Orange Vanilla Coke”.” That is next level Olympic thinking. 🙂

Overall, super job from students at Pinelands Regional High School. Good luck in the next round!

Downers Grove North – Period 1 (Illinois)

Great breakdown of the different ways your activation strategies will maximize ROI for the Olympic Games partnership…clearly a lot of thought went into the development of your activation strategies.

Love the idea of branded “Olympics Size” vending machines (10 feet tall) in and around downtown Tokyo, and connecting the campaign to a cause is a great strategy (proceeds from the sale of the vending machine are donated to Rise Against Hunger and machines will feature special “thank you” signage when consumers purchase Orange Vanilla Coke)

Interesting idea to introduce a “My Rewards with Orange Vanilla Coke” program to build brand loyalty and offering a chance to win Olympic Games tickets to with a scannable code inside the cap of any Orange Vanilla Coke product. Great idea to promote the rewards program through TV ads highlighting Olympic athletes drinking the new flavor and explaining how the program works and how fans can win prizes.

Super fun idea to create a giant “bright orange and white” branded water slide in a high-traffic area (“epicenter of the Olympics”) to draw the attention of Olympic fans, nice touch to provide free samples at the bottom of the slide (smart idea to encourage fans to post videos and pictures on social media as well).

Great job. Good luck in the Final Four round!

Tappan Zee High School (New York):

So many fantastic ideas here. Great job recognizing how much clutter marketers must cut through to reach consumers and good idea to share statistical evidence to support that lead statement (the average individual sees 4,000-10,000 ads a day).

Love the idea of leveraging the popularity of Coca-Cola’s app to activate the Tokyo Olympics sponsorship and maximize visibility of Orange Vanilla Coke throughout the Games. Clever idea to change the color of the app logo to orange during the Olympics, and providing double product points to fans purchasing the product (and offers to unlock coupons) will not only boost engagement levels on the app but also increase sales.

Interesting idea to have an email campaign to encourage fans to sign up for Coca-Cola emails as “VIP subscribers”, cool idea to have emails sent from Olympic athletes thanking customers and providing them with a special offer to buy one 4 pack of Orange Vanilla Coke, get one free, with a sticker and lanyard included in their purchase.

Also, really liked the idea partnering with the Leukemia Society. Providing cancer survivors and fighters merchandise and tickets to the Olympics is a great idea for a cause related campaign tied to the Orange Vanilla Coke product rollout, and it works well with the Leukemia ribbon which is also orange.

Smart strategy to partner with Steph Curry, clearly you did some research by recognizing he already has a strong presence in Tokyo after going on a Tokyo tour last year and basketball is typically one of the most talked-about events at the Summer Games. Fun idea to offer limited addition USA Basketball merchandise in an orange colorway during the Games.

Great strategy for reaching your target audience by staging a youth basketball contest through social media. Encouraging young fans (open to any basketball team with players ages 8-16) to post videos showing how much they love the game of basketball, and Orange Vanilla Coke, for a chance to win prizes is a pretty cool idea…and a grand prize of a chance to shoot baskets pre-game on the court at the Olympic games as well as sitting in on a team practice and exchanging high-fives with players would certainly motivate fans to participate. Experience-based marketing can be a very effective tool for connecting with consumers.

Last but not least, great sampling strategy. Love the idea of pop-ups all over Tokyo in the lead up to the games, and providing samples at area hotels when they are all at capacity during the Olympics will certainly get the product in front of consumers.

Really, really well done. Great job, can’t wait to see your response to the next case study!


Best of luck to the four remaining student teams from Downers Grove North High School in Illinois, Tappan Zee High School in New York and Pinelands Regional High School in New Jersey! Here is an updated look at the bracket for SCC’s 2020 SportsBiz Madness Case Study Tournament.

SCC FFL Current Standings – Challenge #5 Point Distribution

With just one sports marketing challenge remaining (digital marketing) before we crown a champion in our fifth annual sports marketing competition, the standings have been updated as we head into the weekend and Thanksgiving Day NFL games.  It is shaping up to be a photo finish!

One of our favorite things about this competition is seeing not only how well our students grasp fundamental sports business concepts, but the effort, enthusiasm and creativity that goes into each response to our sports marketing challenges.  One of the best challenges for demonstrating that creativity is the ticket sales, promotion and sponsorship challenge…and the students did not disappoint, incorporating elements from three different chapters of our textbook while demonstrating an understanding of the importance of the sales and service function in managing a professional sports franchise.  There were so many unique and fun ideas.  We also loved seeing the mock-ups of actual tickets that their franchise would be distributing to fans…several pretty cool designs this year!

There were some great giveaway, sponsor and game day promotion ideas as well…here were a few favorites:

  • Oregon Mountaineers (Pine Island HS, Minnesota): Team branded goat stuffed animal in partnership with the Oregon Zoo
  • Portland Pioneers (Colleyville Heritage HS, Texas): “Simpsons” theme night (one of several teams to offer a Simpsons’ themed promotion) with a fun twist on a popular giveaway item: The first 20,000 fans in attendance receive a Patrick Mahomes/Simpson themed bobble head (also, all concessions will sell the famous Simspon’s pink donut with sprinkles and there will be a donut hole eating contest during breaks)
  • Kansas Nightmare (Wichita East, Kansas): A bedroom makeover giveaway sponsored by Ashley Furniture
  • Honolulu Hammerheads (Montgomery County, Missouri): Pepsi sponsoring Mini Helmet Night with the first 5,000 fans that enter the stadium receiving a replica mini helmet of the Honolulu Hammerheads. Pepsi also sends out a code if the Hammerheads win that will get you a free 32 oz. Pepsi at any gas station.
  • Orlando Lizards (Lyman High School, Florida): “Fan Spirit Contest” promotion for last home game, brilliant strategy to create a competition to ramp up the stakes to build elevated levels of fan enthusiasm and engagement
  • Las Vegas Dynamix (Little Elm High School, Texas): “Dress Like a Miner” promotion with prizes for best dressed and grand prize of seat upgrade to the team’s suite is a fun idea while creating opportunities for the team to build fan loyalty
  • Omaha Bandits (Crook County High School, Oregon): A partnership with Hershey’s to create “Bandit Bars” candy bars will provide fans with the chance to win one of five “golden tickets”, granting each lucky winner VIP team access for the season

As we have seen throughout the competition, another fantastic job by all of our competing schools…

Here are a few highlights from the ticket sales, promotion and sponsorship challenge:

Grand Rapids Riptide (Kent Career Tech Center, Michigan)

Several good ideas from the Riptide for this challenge, especially liked this promotions calendar the front office created for distribution in the lead up to the first game of the season. Smart strategy to distribute the calendars at areas with high foot traffic like grocery and convenience stores, making sure to get them in the hands of as many fans as possible. Also liked the “on-brand” special ticketing areas to provide added value to ticket holders. Nice job Riptide!

OKC Tornados (Waverly High School, New York)

The Tornados have absolutely crushed every single challenge in this year’s competition, and the fifth challenge was no exception. Will they be able to close the gap and put themselves in position to win their first SCC FFL championship? Earning the highest score for challenge #5 keeps them in the hunt…overall, super impressive ticket sales and sponsorship plan from students at Waverly High School. Really well done!

Some highlights from the Tornados ticket and sponsorship plan include:

  • Excellent job laying out a very detailed plan for how the team will advertise and promote its ticket packages, including outdoor advertising at bus stops and on billboards like the one pictured below
  • Excellent value-add for the Holiday ticket package by providing a copy of the popular Madden Football video game with the purchase of a ticket package
  • Fantastic variety of promotions, including sponsored promotions featuring sweepstakes, community-driven promotions, game day giveaways and
  • Really smart direct marketing strategy, a time-tested a proven means for reaching fans and introducing a personal selling plan will no doubt help the Tornados to pack the stands at every home game

Las Vegas Aces (Carl Sandburg High School, Illinois)

Really well organized presentation of all promotional elements for each home game for the Aces’ season, easy to communicate and share information with fans that will encourage them to buy tickets and provide visibility and exposure for sponsors. Highlighting everything from pre-game information to half-time performances and game day sponsors is a great way to keep Aces fans excited about each and every home game. Well done Aces!

Toronto Wolverines (Richardson High School, Texas)

Nice job on the ticket mock up, loved seeing some of our competing schools provide sponsor opportunities on the ticket backs as well. Great way to provide exposure for partner brands while helping to drive traffic to their place of business, putting them in position to boost sales (which is ultimately one of the key goals of their sponsorship).

Dayton Cruisers (MVCTC, Ohio)

Overall, another great job by the Cruisers’ front office…a few highlights from their response to challenge #5:

  • Great strategy to introduce dynamic pricing, will help to maximize ticket revenue in the Cruisers’ inaugural season in the league
  • Smart idea to highlight a rivalry game (according to the team’s ticket sales and sponsorship report, the Cruisers main rival will be the Kentucky Reigns, who will also be a divisional opponent) and build some promotion around that game…could certainly see some sponsors that may want to align their brand with a game like that
  • Good idea to offer mobile ticketing in today’s digital world, nice to see the attention to detail that went into creating the mock up for Cruisers’ mobile tickets

Overall, fantastic job on this challenge from the Cruisers’ front office!

Keystone Mountaineers (Dallas High School, Pennsylvania)

And the award for the strangest idea from challenge #5 goes to…the Keystone Mountaineers!

Not sure we can describe this, well, uh…unique sponsorship promotion any better than the sports marketing students at Dallas High School:


As we head into this weekend’s games, here are the updated standings reflecting the point distribution following the response to sports marketing challenge #5 (Ticket Sales and Sponsorship Strategies). This does not include any points teams may have earned from Thursday Night’s Colts vs. Texans game. Good luck to all this weekend!

TeamPrevious PointsChallenge #5Total
Omaha Haymakers28446293473
Toronto Owls28226383460
Kentucky Reigns28306093439
OKC Tornados27406753415
Oregon Mountaineers27676423409
Dayton Cruisers27486413389
Honolulu Hammerheads27176443361
Keystone Mountaineers27106383348
Omaha Bandits26476503297
Portland Pioneers26186463264
Toronto Wolverines25916413232
Las Vegas Dynamix25696333202
Orlando Lizards25586213179
Birmingham Bombers25465763122
Las Vegas Blackjacks25415763117
Las Vegas Aces24946183112
Kansas Nightmare24746023076
Las Vegas Spades23545602914
Las Vegas Leopards19875652552
London Knights249902499
Grand Rapids Riptide19005942494
Hollywood Gold Diggers248202482
Grand Rapids Loggers245502455
New Mexico Mustangs15215822103
Oregon Flood200802008
Winnipeg Lumberjax130101301
OKC Young Rich Nation126001260
Anchorage Anchors8370837

Case Study Competition 2019: The Final Four


As SCC’s case study competition moved into the head-to-head tournament round, remaining teams were asked to create a sponsor activation strategy tied to March Madness for Coca-Cola as they launch a new flavor.

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 maximizing the impact of the sponsorship, recognizing the critical role activation plays in the ROI from sponsorship.

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 to effectively budget for an advertising campaign.  Stay tuned! Continue reading

Kentucky Derby ROI (Infographic)

Thanks to John Hollow’s sports marketing students at Helena High in Montana for sharing this information…it provides a great look at the value of sponsorship, particularly in the case of high profile events like the Kentucky Derby.

Over 150,000 people visit Churchill Downs every year for the event with another 15 million fans tuning in to watch on TV, making it one of the most valuable properties in all of sports for marketers looking for brand exposure.  

Billed as the “fastest two minutes in sports”, it is important for sponsors to find opportunities for impressions both pre and post-race to boost their return on investment.  One way companies can do this is to sponsor individual jockeys, rather than the event itself.  As you’ll see in the infographic, this can result in great value for sponsoring brands.

So how did marketers fare at this year’s Kentucky Derby?  Check out this nifty infographic with some great data from Apex Marketing Group (@ApexMGAnalytics on Twitter) to see!

Super Bowl 50 by the Numbers

You just have to love the Super Bowl, especially if you teach sports marketing!  The “Big Game” creates such a fun environment for teaching some of the fundamental marketing principles that drive the business of sports and entertainment.

Looking for a current and relevant way to illustrate the concepts of supply and demand or economic impact? Need a discussion starter on the concept of ambush marketing or sponsorship?  How about advertising, ticket sales or merchandising?  Endorsement?  Promotion?  This look at the Super Bowl “by the numbers” has you covered.  Enjoy the “Big Game”!

$35 Million

According to, estimates put Cam Newton’s career endorsement earnings thus far at $35 million.  Newton’s endorsement portfolio includes brands like Under Armour, L’Oreal, Dannon, Beats By Dre and Carolinas Medical Center (among others).

$12 Million

Peyton Manning earned $12 million in endorsements last year alone.  According to Forbes, Manning was the NFL’s top pitchman in 2014 thanks to partnerships with companies like Buick, DirecTV, Gatorade, Nationwide and Papa John’s.

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College Football Season Recap: By the numbers…

With Alabama’s exciting win in a shootout over Clemson to win the 2016 College Football Championship, yet another college football season is in the books.

Here are a few sports business stories and statistics from this season that might be fun to discuss in class. Use this information to reinforce concepts like the size and scope of the industry, the impact of supply and demand on ticket prices, how sponsors connect their brands with fans and the critical role broadcast rights play in the business sports.

$3 Million

As in the expense for Alabama Football…just for their “support staff” payroll. According to, Alabama’s strength and conditioning coach was paid over $500,000 in compensation for the 2015 season.


According to a report from USA Today, Auburn spent $810,000 to “brand” their practice facility with graphics that “tell the story of the Tigers’ success”, a trend being followed by football programs all over the country

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Infographic: Business of College Sports

Umbel published a pretty cool infographic today that examines the top teams, sponsors and brands in college football today.

In addition to providing a nice snapshot of the big numbers that drive the business of college sports, the infographic provides some additional findings that might spark a fun and worthwhile conversation in class.

  • Eminem is the most popular musician on social media among college sports fans (and Katy Perry is most popular at UCLA and Arizona State University)
  • More than a third of college sports fans like eating at Subway
  • Auburn University in Alabama has the largest digital screen of any college sports stadium. At 190 feet x 57 feet (10,830 sq ft), their screen is two-thirds the size of a football field. Texas A&M had the second largest screen measuring 163 feet x 47 feet (7,661 sq ft) which is about half the size of a football field.
  • Nike will pay $169 million to sponsor the University of Michigan’s team uniforms – That’s what it costs to buy about 1 million college team’s football jerseys
  • Total college sports sponsorships for the 2014-15 season was $1.1 billion, an increase of 6% from the previous season. That’s almost equal to the GDP of small island nations like Antigua and the Solomon Islands.

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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