SCC FFL Sports Marketing Challenge: 2023 CHAMPS!

Published by Chris Lindauer on

With the final scores tallied, we have a winner in the ninth season of SCC’s fantasy football sports marketing challenge. However, before announcing this year’s winner, we would like to express how impressed we were with the effort from all of our participating schools, and we hope everyone enjoyed the competition.

Without further delay, we would like to congratulate Robert Kelly’s class at Waverly High School in New York for winning our 9th annual fantasy football sports marketing competition!  Despite the most competitive field in competition history, the Louisville Stallions led wire-to-wire, securing the championship trophy that has eluded Waverly students for years. After two top-three finishes and a runner-up in previous competitions, the championship trophy will finally find its way to Waverly High School.

The Boise Rattlers front office, comprised of students from Capital High School in Montana (coached by Jessica Frazier) finished in a close second with a really strong finish. Blacksburg High School students, representing the Austin Diablos front office (coached by Jessica Catley), took third place after gaining the highest score possible in the sixth and final sports marketing challenge.

To celebrate the championship, Waverly students will receive a championship trophy to proudly display at school.  Both the Stallions’ front office at Waverly and the Boise Rattlers front office at Capital High School will be rewarded with a classroom pizza party. Congrats to both schools on a job very well done, and a shoutout to Blacksburg High School who narrowly missed a tie for runner-up.

We also have a few individual school shout-outs for the response to the digital marketing challenge below…

CHALLENGE #6 (DIGITAL MARKETING) HIGHLIGHTS:

Waverly High School, New York (Louisville Stallions)

Once again, the Stallions front office submitted an incredibly advanced response to our sports marketing challenge. This, the sixth, tasked students with developing a digital and social media marketing strategy. The Stallions’ plan was on-point, and demonstrated some really next level thinking, as they have consistently done throughout this year’s competition.

We really appreciated seeing this group prioritizing a premium on better understanding of their core fan base by learning as much as possible about fan behavior, preferences etc. The recognition of how digital and social can help provide the team with valuable fan data underscores how well Waverly students have applied key concepts from our curriculum to each of the sports marketing challenges. As a result, the Louisville Stallions set a record for the highest point total in the competition, earning 599 points of a possible total of 600. Really, really well done.

One of the really fun things about this competition is seeing the creativity from participating students, and every year we see lots of unique and clever ideas. However, what matters most is taking that creativity and applying it in a way that helps the team to reach organizational goals. Waverly students offered a very organized and balanced plan with strategies designed to meet very specific franchise goals. For example, one goal was to increase fan engagement. To reach that goal, the front office developed a gamification strategy, offering unique ways for fans to interact through the team’s app and social media with a variety of offerings like trivia, games, and more. Other goals included:

  • Brand positioning: The Stallions want fans to view the franchise as a “fun” brand, so they introduce games and stadium experiences like the “Virtual Reality Lounge”
  • Generate revenue: Waverly students recognize the importance of revenue, and enhanced digital offerings create opportunities to expand sponsorship inventory, including the opening of a FanDuel sponsored sportsbook lounge at the stadium, also demonstrating how much research they did on industry trends
  • Build brand loyalty: To help build a loyal fan base, the Stallions created a rewards program, offering a variety of perks to incentivize fans to not only sign up, but also regularly interact with the team on the website, through its app, and social media while also encouraging the purchase of game tickets and merch
  • Establish year-round connectivity: To further build a connection with fans and a sense of community, Waverly students made certain to expand programming beyond the regular season and into the offseason

The Stallions front office also included several very creative ideas. Again, kudos to the amount of research this group put into the project, recognizing Hawkeye Technology as a provider of digital and tech for stadiums around the world. Really cool idea to utilize the company’s tech to embed chips into first down markers and the goal line to provide fans using the app with a “Hawkeye View” of whether a player gains the first down or crosses the goal line into the end zone. We also liked the “Stallions All-Access” premium app exclusives that take fans behind-the-scenes with views from the player tunnel during pre-game, drone views of the parking lot to help find where friends might be tailgating, and locker room tours.

Congratulations Waverly HIgh School, you are SCC FFL champs!

Capital High School, Montana (Boise Rattlers)

The Boise Rattlers submitted a fantastic response to the sixth and final sports marketing challenge, as they have done all year. Capital High School students served up a variety of really great ideas, and again, while the creativity was superb, it was the execution of ideas that really helped propel them to a perfect score for the week.

For example, the Rattlers’ were one of just two teams to recognize the importance of push notifications, not only from a communications perspective, but also the marketing value in capturing fan information and the engagement required with a call-to-action like an opt-in. We also really appreciated the idea of creating a calendar to help organize the content the team will share on social media feeds. This is a technique used by lots of social media professionals in the industry, so we loved seeing an adaptation of that in our competition.

Last but not least, we thought the Rattlers’ metaverse plans were great. It isn’t enough just to say, yes, our team plans to have a presence in the metaverse. To score well in this competition, students need an implementation plan. The Rattlers’ front office offered a plan that included interactive games, simulations, behind-the-scenes content for fans, and much more. Well done!

Congratulations on a very close runner-up finish Capital High School!

Green Run High School, Virginia (Toronto Owls)

Kudos to Green Run High School for a really strong finish in this year’s SCC FFL. The Toronto Owls’ front office submitted a digital and social plan that was absolutely loaded with great ideas.

Highlights inlcuded:

  • A partnership with Netflix to provide a docuseries with the team, leading up to the first-ever NFL live game broadcast between the Toronto Owls and an opponent
  • Pop-up ads on the team’s digital platforms to remind fans about watch parties, ticket sales opportunities, and merchandise offers
  • Strong plan for establishing a presence in the metaverse
    • Loved the metaverse-based rewards and the “VR fantasy football draft” feature
  • Smart idea to incentivize fans to download the app, and exclusive merch offers (espeically the personalized heated stadium chairs) would most certainly do the trick!
  • Revenue-generating opportunity with microstransactions in the metaverse allowing fans to outfit their avatars with team-branded gear
  • Unique idea to offer digital trading cards, could be used as a game-day giveway (possibly sponsored?) and/or merchandise available in the team store…don’t think we have seen that idea in this competition before!

Overall, a fantastic effort from the Owls’ front office. Great job!

Blacksburg High School, VA (Austin Diablos)

Blacksburg students gave it all they had, that’s for sure. It is a bummer they came up just a bit short, as the digital and social plan they submitted was exceptional, probably the best one we have seen in the history of this competition. There is no shame in a third-place finish, however, especially with a loaded field like the one we had this season. Major props to the Diablos front office for a job well done.

There is so much to love here, and highlights include:

  • The creation of a live, functional website with lots of cool information and features (https://sites.google.com/mcps.org/austindiablos/home)
  • VR technology to aid fans in ticket buying decisions to preview seats before clicking “purchase” on the team’s app
  • An app with tons of features to improve the game day experience, like directing fans in real-time to find available parking areas, in-seat delivery etc.
  • E-mail newsletters to fans with a focus on building the team’s database for marketing purposes
  • A weekly podcast, both for the fans and a paid version to generate additional revenue with exclusive features like uncut content and more exclusives for subscribers
  • Hologram stations at the station for fan photos and to encourage the ever-valuable UGC content
  • Helmet-cams with footage being live-streamed exclusively on the app
  • A Fortnite skin collaboration, including an “Austin Diablos bundle” available in the Fortnite item shop, featuring the team’s mascot
  • Timely and relevant social media posts on every platform, like Instagram to showcase Diablos’ players’ “My Cause, My Cleats” initiatives (nice job weaving a current event in with your social strategy)
  • Custom Spotify playlist featuring some of the Diablos’ players’ favorite music

Overall, just a really amazing, and incredibly comprehensive, digital and social media marketing plan from Blacksburg High School students. Great job!

FINAL SCC FFL 2023 STANDINGS

Categories: Blog

Chris Lindauer

After working for nearly a decade in professional sports, Chris Lindauer, formed Sports Career Consulting to provide unique sports business education opportunities in and out of the classroom. In the eighteen years (and counting) that followed, Chris has inspired thousands of students to pursue their passions and explore the career of their dreams. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, two teenage daughters and their dog.