SportsBiz Madness: 2021 Case Study Tournament (Final Four Edition)

We continue to be very impressed with the work from our competing students for our fifth annual SportsBiz Madness case study tournament. 

In the “Elite Eight” round, students were asked to build a social media campaign in a ticket sales push for their favorite professional sports team. The effort all eight remaining teams put forth was evident, and selecting which schools would advance was very tough.

Unfortunately, just four teams will move on in the tournament for the chance to be crowned 2021 case study champs. Here is a recap of the elite eight round results and a look at who will be moving on to the Final Four!

HONORABLE MENTION:

Carle Place High School, New York

Students at Carle Place HS chose to create a social media ticket marketing strategy for the San Diego Padres. Some really cool ideas here from a content perspective. In particular, the utilizing the story feature on Instagram to host fan votes like what event will happen first in today’s game, a Tatis home run or a Snell strikeout. That’s a great way to keep fans engaged. “Favorite moments” in a bracket style fan vote is a fun idea as well, and perhaps there could even be some interesting opportunity to monetize some of those moments to help the club generate some revenue. Great job Carle Place High!

Flower Mound High School, Texas

Perhaps not surprisingly, Flower Mound students chose to develop a social sales plan for the Dallas Cowboys. One idea that really stood out was the inclusion of “experiences” with certain ticket packages. These experience packages would be promoted on Facebook and would command a higher price point. Featured experiences featured as part of Flower Mound’s “interactive” ticket packages would include things like access for fans to an exclusive tailgate outside the stadium, reservations at the iconic restaurant that the Cowboys players run through before games, and opportunities to watch pre-game on the sidelines for an up-close experience with the players. Excellent job by Flower Mound students as well from a research perspective, determining which social media platform would be most appropriate for the different types of ticket packages they plan to offer. Outstanding effort from FMHS!

Fruitport High School, Michigan

Fruitport High School students created a social sales plan for the Detroit Tigers. They did a nice job identifying which social platforms would be most effective in reaching their target audience, and building ticket promotions accordingly. Love the idea of tapping into the concept of fandom and creating a “superfan” promotion. From the Fruitport student report: “The Superfan Contest:  Like, Post, Share and Win!: Win a Superfan merchandise pack that includes  Detroit Tiger merchandise (t-shirt, drawstring bag, masks, water bottle, lanyard) and 20% off a Detroit Tigers baseball game ticket. Spectators will participate on social media and post their Superfan Selfies on Instagram with the hashtag “#TigerSuperfan.” Really nice job Fruitport High School!

Ellicottville Central, New York

Students at Ellicottville Central School chose to build a social media ticket sales plan for the Buffalo Bills. It was clear that these students did a lot of research re: covid protocols (which was one of the requirements for this case study), and determined a ticket sales strategy accordingly. Given the limitations with fewer fans being allowed to attend games, there were some great ideas here…it really shows how in tune Ellicottville students are with what teams have actually had to manage throughout this pandemic from a ticketing perspective. For example, providing tickets to healthcare workers was something a lot of teams did this year, including at the Super Bowl. Promoting everything through social media was well executed. Nice job Ellicottville Central!

THE FINAL FOUR:

Pinelands Regional High School, New Jersey

Two-time champion Pinelands Regional just continues to bring it in this competition. Some REALLY good ideas here from PRHS students to help boost ticket sales for the Tampa Bay Rays with a social media marketing campaign, along with a great plan for fan safety in addressing how the team will handle covid protocols.

Some highlights from PRHS fan safety plan:

  • Implementation of staggered seating pods on game days to ensure fans are social distancing
  • Fans and stadium workers will be required to wear face coverings to enter the stadium, and temperature checks for fans as they enter using special thermal cameras and sensors
  • Contactless stadium entry, cashless concessions & team shops
  • Customers will need to use credit or debit cards or cash apps (those patrons without access to those options will be directed to kiosks that allow cash to be converted into preloaded “RAYS PAYS” card)
  • QR codes be placed on the seat backs throughout the stadium so that fans can access concession menus and gift shop items, pay for their purchases at their seat and then have food runners bring the items to the patrons. This will help keep people socially distant and limit people gathering on lines and wandering around the concourse.

Some highlights from PRHS ticket marketing plan:

  • Via social media, offering live streams, behind the scenes looks and Q&A sessions with Rays players and staff with ticket sales promotions being offered during these sessions
  • “Inside Pitch” program exclusively for fans who buy a full or half season ticket package which includes monthly exclusive live stream Q&A sessions, with Rays’ General Manager
  • Ramping up a content strategy to feature one of the team’s most popular players, Ji-Man-Choi, and the team mascot to keep fans engaged and aware of game day promotions and “shoppable” opportunities to purchase tickets at a discount through social media platforms

Also, great idea to connect the promotions strategy to sponsors, recognizing the importance of generating revenue with fewer fans at the stadium during a pandemic year. Recognizing the impact the pandemic would have on ticket renewals was next-level thinking, appreciated seeing a plan in place for addressing that concern as well.

Once again, an amazing job by Pinelands Regional High School!

Green Run High School, Virginia

One of two “rookies” in this year’s competition to advance to the Final Four, Green Run HS students chose to develop a social sales plan for the Washington Nationals. Just as Major League Baseball officials navigate the pandemic and its impact on attendance, Green Run students were required to face the same challenge with this case study. GRHS stepped up with a masterful plan for creating the best possible experience at the park while maximizing revenue through ticket sales.

The key to the success of Green Run’s plan? Consistency. Regular posts featuring engaging content. A Snapchat post on every single game day featuring whatever promotion they were running. A TikTok challenge to start the season, starring one of the team’s best and most popular players. Game day tweets encouraging fans to post their favorite plays from the day’s action with offers for discounts on tickets to an upcoming game for the best tweets. All excellent ways to not only engage the fan base but also to increase ticket sales.

Some great promotion ideas here too! A few favorites:

  • THE VAC PACK: The Washington Nationals want to encourage all members of our community to get vaccinated against COVID 19. Season ticket holders : Show a vaccination card and receive 1 Free ticket for a friend to use at any home game this season.Though 1 is FREE, it encourages another game to come to and bringing more people.
  • The “You’re vOUTcher!” Meal Plan:This plan allows you to sit together with your family and all family members(up to 5) will receive a free meal “vOUTcher”.
  • Fans will have the opportunity for unique fan experiences and access to limited edition items. Fans who purchase season tickets, or  22,42, or 82 classic ticket plans and group sale tickets will get a VIP exclusive deal. They will be able to access a VIP area in the Clubhouse Team Store to shop and purchase exclusive souvenirs not sold anywhere else.
  • Mask giveaway: Team-branded masks will be given out to the first 2500 fans entering the game. Fans can follow us on twitter to view the mask for each home game.There will be daily tweets promoting the importance of public mask wearing, social distancing and regular handwashing. 
  • NATScination baseball card promotion involves our free vaccination pop up event at 1 designated game. Fans can show a vaccination card and get an exclusive signed baseball card. Fans can visit the NATScination tent up to 2 hours prior to game time. The first 3,000 fans showing their vaccination card will gain free entrance for the game. For all future games, fans who are NATScinated can use a special line for earlier entry into the games by showing their NATScination card along with their purchased ticket.

Fantastic job Green Run High School, really loved the creativity!

Grant High School, Oregon

The other “rookie” in this year’s competition is Grant High School who created a social ticket sales strategy for the Portland Trail Blazers. Grant High School students did an excellent job weaving promotions and ticket sales efforts with fan safety and covid protocols in a fun yet effective manner. Because the team is limited to just 25% of capacity at the stadium, GHS students built the entire campaign around that theme. A couple of highlights:

  • Playing off of the theme of 25% Capacity and 25% Off tickets, fans who buy tickets with a special social media link to purchase game tickets will be entered into a raffle with a chance to win a #25 classic Jerome Kersey jersey (one of the most popular players in franchise history).
  • The “social distancing special” campaign on the team’s Instagram and Twitter feeds promotes social distancing, but ties in with a ticket sales effort by asking fans to post a photo on their social feeds and tag the team anytime a Blazers play crosses up a defender. Fans who post and tag as part of the promotion are then eligible for a 25% discount on tickets.

Overall, great ideas from Grant High School. Really well done!

Downers Grove High School, Illinois

Students at Downers Grove High School chose the Chicago White Sox for this case study. Their social sales plan was LOADED with creative ideas and sound strategies for boosting sales, all while keeping fans safe during the ongoing pandemic.

One thing that really stood out in the DGNHS campaign was the team’s effort to market to a younger audience, something MLB teams have been struggling with in recent years. DGNHS students chose to embrace personality, promoting things like bat flips and on-field celebrations. The social media strategy aligns well with the target audience, as does the campaign slogans of “The Time Is Now” and “Change the Game.” Students chose to really push “The Time Is Now” narrative to encourage fans not to wait before purchasing their ticket packages for the year. Very smart! “The Time Is Now” will also serve the franchise well as a rallying cry for the team’s social justice plan with a social media campaign “The Time Is Now For Equality.”

Overall, fantastic job breaking down what content will be shared through each platform to maximize reach and fan engagement. Perhaps the most unique idea in this round of the competition, however, was the inclusion of Spotify as part of the campaign. Using Spotify to bring “Sounds of the Stadium” to the homes of fans is a really fun idea, and connecting the platform to game day walk-up music could be a great way to engage fans. Tying those in with game day ticket sales promotions could help to give sales a boost.

Loved the Twitter MEMES, TikToks and YouTube content as well. Stoking the flames in the Cubs’ rivalry will certainly boost levels of fan engagement. Pairing a ticket to the Cubs’ series with another game that would typically be harder to sell could be a strategy that pays off as well. Also, NEXT LEVEL stuff from DGNHS students to have actual, real-life posts for all your social platforms…clearly students put a lot of time and effort into this case study!

Overall, a very comprehensive plan…super impressive work from Downers Grove North High School!

UPDATED 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!

UPDATED STANDINGS:

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

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:

UPDATED STANDINGS:

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

SCC FFL Current Standings – Challenge #5 Point Distribution

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

SCC FFL Current Standings – Challenge #5 Point Distribution

With just one sports marketing challenge remaining (digital marketing) before we crown a champion in our third annual sports marketing competition, the standings have been updated as we head into the Thanksgiving Day NFL games.  It is shaping up to be a wild 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 ideas as well…here were a few favorites:

  • South Texas Wranglers:  Gym memberships for the New Year’s Day game to help fans follow through with their resolutions
  • Orlando Ducks:  Ducks branded Bose mini-bluetooth speakers (Bose is a sponsor)
  • Alaska Avatars:  Team branded Knit wool caps sponsored by North Face
  • Alabama Everglades:  Replica Super Bowl rings celebrating their championship from the previous season
  • Boise Spuds:  NFL Play 360 / Spuds branded eye black stickers for kids under the age of 14 (would love to see this as an actual NFL promotion with every team!)
  • Wichita Stealth:  Stealth branded Santa hats for the team’s Christmas Day game vs. the Salt Lake Swarm

As we have seen throughout the competition, another fantastic job by all of our competing schools…bummer we have just one challenge remaining this season!

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

SportsBiz Madness: Case Study Competition

Opening Round Recap

We received 72 entries from student “teams” participating in our inaugural case study competition and couldn’t be more impressed with the submissions.  Tasked with the development of a promotions plan that would help a new minor league baseball franchise based in Madison, Wisconsin reach a goal of 85% stadium capacity for the season, the student response was incredibly impressive.  Students demonstrated a clear understanding of the important role ticket sales play in the financial viability of a minor league franchise, and how promotion and fan experience impact the team’s ability to sell.

We had a number student teams that submitted particularly impressive responses to the first case study.  Unfortunately, only eight could be selected to advance to our “elite eight” round of the competition where the tournament shifts to a “head to head” format.  Of course, selecting just eight teams from our pool of entries was extremely difficult.  It was very evident that students put forth a lot of effort in creating their responses to the first case study, including a lot of background research on the Madison market, including local businesses and city/community traditions and history.  For example, a number of teams named their franchise the “Madison Flamingos”, a reference to Madison’s “official city bird”, the yard flamingo.  I grew up in Madison and didn’t even know that!  We also saw a number of teams incorporating either cheese, cows, capitals (Madison is the capital city of Wisconsin) or popular area lake fish (Walleye, Pike, Muskies and Sturgeon) into team names, further demonstrating that the students did their homework on the Madison area.

As we evaluated each entry, it was fun to see the creativity behind all of the ideas for promotions, but ultimately we had to select the entries that best met the criteria established in the assigned case study.  One of the most critical elements (in addition to offering creative and unique promotion ideas) was to provide a clear strategic plan for how promotions would help the franchise bottom line, specifically by meeting attendance goals.  Those who communicated the best and most viable strategies were the teams selected to advance to the “Elite Eight” round.

However, we did want to acknowledge a few teams that were on the outside looking in.  We referred to that group of entries as our “Sweet Sixteen”.  Eight of the “Sweet Sixteen” teams were so close to moving on in the competition to the next round that we felt they deserved some recognition.

As we look ahead, eight teams will compete head to head for the chance to advance to the SportsBiz Madness Final Four.  The teams were not seeded.  Names were drawn from a hat and added to the bracket accordingly.  We can’t wait to see what the students come up with as a response to the next case study as they are asked to create a fan engagement strategy for a college basketball program during the offseason… Continue reading

NBA Ticket Prices (Infographic)

Of all the functions of marketing, one could arge the establishment of an effective price point could be the most critical.

Teams across sports consistently tinker with pricing strategies in an effort to find the right formula for maximizing franchise revenues.  Sometimes those strategies work, sometimes they backfire.

Two seasons ago, the New Orleans Pelicans dropped ticket prices by 10%.  The decision resulted in a 19% overall increase in ticket sales that season.  And this season, as the Brooklyn Nets face the prospect of a challenging season on the court, Bloomberg has reported the franchise will reduce ticket prices by an average of 24% in 2016-17.

Earlier this year, BusBud published an interesting infographic that examines NBA ticket prices and offers some interesting comparisons.  Which teams offer the greatest ROI?  When is the best time to buy?  These questions and more are discussed in the graphic below.

 

Rio 2016: Fun Facts by the Numbers

The lead up to the Summer Games in Rio generated arguably more publicity (both good and bad) than any other Olympic Games in recent memory.  Now that they are finally underway, here is a quick look at “the numbers” behind the Games…

1 – Number of times a South American city has hosted the Olympics

12,000 – Number of Olympic torchbearers that carried the Olympic flame

4,800 – Number of performers and volunteers that took part in the Opening Ceremony

10,500 – Total number of athletes competing in the 2016 Summer Games

206 – Total number of countries represented in Rio

4,924 – There are a total of nearly 5,000 medals up for grabs in this summer’s competitions

2 – This year, two sports will be making a comeback as golf and rugby return as official Olympic Sports in Rio

112 – It has been over a century since golf was last an Olympic sport

92 – It has been nearly a century since rugby was last an Olympic sport

37 – Athletes will be competing in 37 different venues at the Summer Games (32 in Rio and 5 in co-host cities)

$5,700,00 – Brazil’s Ministry of Health invested nearly $6 million to insure the well being of athletes and spectators attending the Games due to zika concerns

32 – More than 30 tons of dead fish were removed from the lagoon where the rowing and canoeing competitions will take place

85,000 – The number of security personnel staffed for games, more than double the number present in London for the 2012 Summer Games thanks to Brazil’s high crime rate

$1.2 B – The amount NBC Universal invested in the broadcast rights for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio

$1 B – The amount NBC Universal has reportedly generated in advertising sales in the US (both television advertising and digital)

26.5 M – Nearly 27 million viewers tuned in for NBC’s broadcast of the Opening Ceremony

35% – Ratings for the Opening Ceremony broadcast declined by 35% compared to coverage during the 2012 Summer Games in London

307% – Viewership of Day 1 of Olympics coverage on NBC’s digital platforms enjoyed a 307% increase from Day 1 of the 2012 Games in London

1,200% – On Spotify, streams of the song “Girl from Ipanema” rose 1,200% after it was played during the Opening Ceremony

7,000 – Number of hours of programming produced by NBC Universal this year (TV and digital) in coverage of Olympic competitions

3.6 B – NBC Universal is expecting 3.6 billion viewers to tune in to Olympics coverage

85% – The number of viewers expected to use a “second screen” for Olympics coverage

7.5 M – Organizers of the Rio Games made 7.5 million tickets available for purchase to various Olympic events

$60-1400 – The face value of tickets to the opening ceremony

$6 – $365 – The face value for various events

240,000 – The number of Rio Olympic tickets being given to underprivileged children

$425 M – According to Rio organizers, sales of tickets to Olympic events have generated $425 million

500,000 – The number of foreign travelers expected to visit Rio for the 2016 Summer Games

1M – The number of tourists that visited Rio last year for their popular annual Carnival celebration

6M – The number of residents in the city of Rio

90% – Rio’s  hotel rooms are close to capacity with over 90% booked for the Summer Games

$261 – The approximate value of the gold contained in an Olympic medal

1.2% – An Olympic Gold medal barely contains more than 1% actual gold

Sources:

WalletHub
Rio Times
thedailybeast.com
CBC Sports
International Business Times
Fortune
USA Today
Associated Press
Adweek 

 

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 moneynation.com, 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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Bobbleheads with a twist

Bobblehead promotions have been around for more than sixteen years but they won’t be going away anytime soon.  Giveaways featuring the quirky nodding dolls are still the most popular promotion among sports teams everywhere.  In fact, ESPN reported that the 2015 Major League Baseball season included a whopping 121 different bobble giveaways, ranging from a “talking” Harry Doyle (Bob Eucker’s character from the film ‘Major League’) to a Jonathan Lucroy doll with a green light saber in his hand on “Star Wars” night in Milwaukee.

Speaking of bobblehead dolls and Milwaukee, a “Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum” is slated to open in 2016 in the downtown area.  According to its website, it will be a “high-quality museum with the world’s largest collection of bobbleheads and will feature dozens of exhibits related to the history of bobbleheads, making of bobbleheads and much more.”

One of my favorite variations of the popular giveaway is a bobblehead that commemorates a specific moment.  One that captures a moment and pays tribute in a fun and unique way.  A great example is an upcoming promotion hosted by Georgia State University when the men’s basketball team will distribute bobbleheads that replicate the moment the team’s head coach fell off his chair during one of the more memorable moments of last season’s March Madness.  Promotions like these go above and beyond the traditional bobblehead by connecting a promotional item to an event that invokes memories and connects fans to the emotions they felt “in the moment.”

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