SCC FFL 2021 Season: Sports Marketing Challenge #1 Scores & Review

It is amazing to see how far our schools have come in this competition from the inaugural fantasy football challenge project seven years ago to today.  Despite the presence of several brand-new schools to the program, every team really delivered in response to the first challenge.  If this effort is any indication of what to expect this season, it looks like the 2021 SCC FFL sports marketing competition will be one for the ages!

For this challenge, we wanted to see how thorough and detailed students would be with the development of a marketing plan for an expansion pro football team. This report included a SWOT analysis, revenue and expense projections, and an economic impact report. We also evaluated responses to our first sports marketing challenge based on creativity, and city/franchise nickname selection.

While everyone came to play, we have a few shout outs for individual teams in recognition of their responses to the first sports marketing challenge of this year’s competition. 

We have a long way to go, however, as this challenge had a total number of possible points of 250.  Last year’s winning team from Blacksburg High School scored a total of nearly 1,500 points.  The competition is wide open after challenge number one!

Blacksburg High School (Salt Lake City Pioneers)

Defending (and two-time) champion Blacksburg High School has set the tone for a run at another SCC FFL title with a fantastic response to challenge #1.  We love the idea of an expansion team owned by women.  According to the Pioneers’ front office: “When choosing our owners we went local and chose Gail Miller and Whitney Herd. Gail Miller was born in Utah and runs over 65 different car dealerships. She is worth $3.2 billion is the former owner of the Jazz, so she has experience in the sports ownership business.  Whitney Wolfe Herd is the founder of Bumble. While the company is headquartered in Texas, Herd was born and raised in SLC until she moved for college. She is worth $1.3B USD and will offer great insight as an entrepreneur and digital marketer.”

Overall, another great start to this competition from students at Blacksburg HS. 

Little Elm High School, TX (Portland Racoons)

We always love the creative energy from Mr. Hutley’s classroom in Texas, and it looks like we can expect more of the same this year from his students.  We loved the Portland Raccoons’ marketing plan, and can’t wait to see what they come up with in the branding challenge.  If the team’s slogan for the inaugural season “All Gas, No Brakes” (according to the front office, racoons are the “All Gas, No Brakes” animal of the forest since they are active day and night) is any indication, this year might be a wild ride!

Montgomery County High School, MO (Mexico City Chupacabras)

Overall, a nice response to the first challenge from students at Montgomery County High School.  Mexico City is a great market, one the NFL is currently focused on developing as an opportunity to grow the game internationally.  Great job researching the city in coming up with a nickname, and really appreciate the attention to detail.  The Chupacabras front office tracked down actual player salaries for this year, managing to build a roster of competitive and marketable players while remaining under the salary cap.  Well done!

Miami Valley Career Technical Center, OH (Miami Valley Aviators)

The Aviators’ front office really impressed with the response to this year’s first sports marketing challenge.  Students from MVCTC went into great detail in researching demographic information, communicating that information with a nifty infographic.  Aviators’ also offered a great look at how the franchise would impact the local economy, again with an infographic to illustrate the plan. Good stuff.

Great breakdown of stadium location and why it will provide a benefit to the city, along with a plan for financing the new facility. We appreciate seeing the detailed revenue forecast, and love the marketing mix application. Some of the “Top Gun” themed traditions and promotions (“Top Gun Award” for the fan with the most spirit will win a game ball signed by the team and the tradition of playing the song “Danger Zone” while the players are running out) could be a lot of fun. Nice job MVCTC!

Waverly High School, NY (Toronto Thundercats)

Students at Waverly High School in New York offered the support for the decision regarding which city would be home to an expansion franchise, offering a variety of details on why Toronto will be a successful market for a new football team.  Take for example the Thundercats’ front office analysis of the current economic climate in Toronto:

  • Gross Metro Product: $72 Billion (annual growth rate of 2.2 percent)
  • Average Household income: $65,829
  • Regional/Metro Household Income: $78,373
  • Average Home Price: Exceeds $1 million
  • Unemployment: 10.1% highest rate in Canada
  • Job Growth: has increased by .5%
  • Cost of Living: Estimated to be 27.4% less expensive than NYC
  • College Educated: 22.4%
  • High School Diploma: 86.3%

We also thought the Thundercats featured the most descriptive SWOT, and a very thorough marketing mix as part of the team’s overall marketing plan.  Very well developed plan by the students at Waverly HS!

Lyman High School, FL (Rhode Island Ragers)

Lyman High School became the first group in SCC FFL history to base a franchise in Rhode Island, an interesting choice.  Given the level of improvement we have seen in this competition year-to-year from these students, it will be fun to see if the Ragers’ front office takes the next step and makes a run at a championship.  If the response to challenge #1 is any indication, we expect big things from Lyman High School this year!

One of the things that really stood out with the Ragers’ marketing plan was the creation of both short- and long-term marketing goals.  Not only were those goals measurable, but they also included a specific action plan for reaching those goals.  For example:

Short-term goals

  1. Sell 100,000 jerseys within the first month of the 2021-2022 season by offering promotions for merchandise on the team’s online shop, along with advertisements for jerseys around the stadium.
  2. Increase social media engagement by 10% each week of the 2021-2022 season by posting at least 5 times a day on all social media, and at least 15 posts on game days.

Long-term goals

  • Obtain 1 million total social media followers across all platforms by staying active on social media accounts throughout the season
  • Gain 30 million dollars from corporate sponsors by the start of the 2022-2023 NFL season by maintaining a good public image while aligning the brand with local business and national corporations

Excellent job by the Ragers front office!

BFA St. Albans, VT (Portland Hurricanes)

We learn something new about a city every year from students as they develop their marketing plans for an expansion franchise in a new market.  This year, we learned the name Oregon is derived from the French word meaning windstorm or hurricane…fun fact and one that offers some validation for the selection of a team nickname.  As part of the Hurricanes’ front office marketing plan, BFA St. Ablans’ students clearly invested a lot of time and energy in researching the Portland market, identifying the city as a good option for sponsorship opportunities as it is home to various Fortune 500 companies such as Nike, Columbia Sportswear, Precision Castparts, Lithia Motors, and StanCorp Financial Group.  Really nice job from these “rookies” who are participating in this competition for the first time!  We look forward to seeing what the Hurricanes front office comes up with for the next challenge…

Green Run High School, VA (Virginia Stallions)

The data uncovered by Green Run students as they researched some financial information to aid in the development of the team’s marketing plan was really impressive.  For example:

  • The lowest paid NFL coach makes close to $5,000,000 a year
  • The highest paid coach makes approximately $20,000,000 per year

The Stallions’ front office used that data to establish an appropriate budget for hiring a head coach in the team’s inaugural season, suggesting they will seek to attract a young but successful new coach with a salary of $8,000,000 per year.

Rather than relying on hypotheticals, Green Run students went above and beyond to learn more about the industry and help them to make educated budget decisions as they created a marketing plan.  That type of attention to detail always lends itself well to finding success in this competition, and it feels like Green Run is well-positioned to challenge for a championship as they compete in SCC FFL for the first time.  Fantastic effort from the Stallions front office!

Grant High School, OR (Portland Pines)

Really like seeing some realistic expectations for establishing first year goals, and appreciate seeing the research that went into the development of those goals.  Some examples:

  • Our goal is to sell out all 60,000 seats at our home games
  • At just under the average number of seats in an NFL stadium, we will present a luxury experience for all fans.
  • For our stadium architecture we will hire the same architects who made the Carbon 12 Condos in Portland Oregon because they are made from new fire-retardant wood (also making the new stadium ecofriendly by using recycled wood, in line with the team’s marketing strategy of positioning the franchise as an eco-friendly destination).

We also loved to see the Pines’ front office create goals relating to viewership and recognizing the importance of streaming when it comes to the new landscape of negotiating rights deals, particularly when determining how the franchise will maximize revenues.  Great job from students at Grant High!

Mount Si High School, WA (San Diego Surge)

In the last three years, Jeff Bezos has been linked to at least four different NFL teams as a potential investor.  Choosing the billionaire as owner of the Surge seems like a great choice by Mount Si students, and those deep pockets could certainly help as the team invests in building the long-term success of an expansion franchise.

Fantastic breakdown of the impact the new team will have on the San Diego economy, and research from the Surge front office helps support those projections (according to the student response to this challenge, on average, each NFL team opens around 3,800 jobs for individuals that work directly with the team).

We also really liked some of the marketing goals established by the Surge front office, offering an advanced look at how an expansion football franchise might approach the development of a marketing plan, including:

  • Generate high-quality leads
  • Maximize consumer satisfaction
  • Develop brand partnerships
  • Increase customer value
  • Improve SEO

Quite a response from another group of newcomers to this competition…very well done Mount Si students!

Helena High School, MT (Salt Lake City Stingers)

Yet another new participant in this competition, Helena High School students knocked it out of the park with their response to the first sports marketing challenge.  Overall, the Stingers front office established some great goals as part of the team’s marketing plan.  Both measurable and actionable, the team has ambitious yet realistic goals for an expansion franchise in its inaugural season in a new market.  One of those goals was to build awareness for the team, with actionable items to generate and grow levels of support throughout the community.  The infographics provided a nice touch!  Great job Stingers!

SCC FFL 2021 STANDINGS AFTER CHALLENGE #1

SchoolTeam NameTotal Points
   
Waverly High SchoolToronto Thundercats250
Blacksburg High SchoolSalt Lake City Pioneers250
Lyman High SchoolRhode Island Ragers249
Green RunVirginia Stallions248
Miami Valley Career Tech CenterMiami Valley Aviators247
Helena High SchoolSalt Lake City Stingers246
Grant High SchoolPortland Pines246
Montgomery CountyMexico City Chupacabras245
Richardson High SchoolSalt Lake City Mountaineers245
Bigfork High SchoolBirmingham Bullfrogs244
Mount Si High SchoolSan Diego Surge243
Woodbridge High SchoolPortland Bears243
Little ElmPortland Racoons241
BFA St AlbansPortland Hurricanes241
Wichita EastWichita Wolves240
Chanute High SchoolAustin Rebels240
Hanford High SchoolSan Diego High Tides240
Elizabethtown High SchoolDover Divas239
Carl Sandburg High SchoolNew York Yorkers238
Lake TravisAustin Aztecs236
Victor J Andrew High SchoolPortland Lumberjacks235
Kellam High SchoolNew York Racoons235
Kent CTC 0
Cazedonia High School 0
West Forsyth 0
Landstown HS 0
Edison High School 0