SportsBiz Madness: 2022 Case Study Tournament Final Four Results
SportsBiz Madness: 2022 Case Study Tournament (Opening Round Results)
OPENING ROUND RECAP
The opening round results are in for our sixth annual SportsBiz Madness case study tournament. Tasked with building a ticket sales and promotions plan for a Minor League Baseball franchise in Madison, Wisconsin, students came up with a lot of creative ideas. However, the students who will be advancing in this year’s competition did the best job concentrating on ideas for ways to fill the ballpark, recognizing the importance of a sound ticket sales plan to the bottom line of a new minor league franchise. While many teams submitted unique ideas for branding the new team, only a select few focused on ticket sales packages, theme nights, group sales, premium seating and/or creating unique ticket spaces at the ballpark (like hot tub seating or dugout boxes). We also found some of the promotions calendars to be lacking. Minor League sports teams need to consistently offer promotions to incentivize fans to come out to home games, and only offering a handful of promotions during the season isn’t enough. The teams moving on to the Elite Eight round recognized that and submitted ticket and promotions plans accordingly.
Thank you to all the schools who participated. There were a lot of really creative ideas in this opening round of the competition. While only eight teams can advance, you should be proud of the work your students put forth in this tournament.
Here are some highlights from the groups who will be advancing to the “Elite Eight” bracket round of our competition.
Madison Sugar Maples (Pinelands Regional HS, NJ)
Ultimately, the goal of a promotions plan is to draw people to the ballpark. The emphasis is on ticket sales, a vital function for any minor league sports team with aspirations of succeeding financially. No group put together a better ticket sales strategy in this year’s competition than students at Pinelands Regional High School in New Jersey. Many submissions in the first round missed the mark by not establishing season ticket offerings, group ticket sales packages, premium seating options and mini plans. The Sugar Maples front office addressed ALL of those options, including lawn seating, General Admission and special events.
In addition, the Maple Leafs’ promotions plan for the season was fantastic, with a number of on-brand promotions that would most certainly draw crowds in Madison. The team’s promo calendar offered a great mix of community related events (slumber party at the ballpark), causes (“Love a Tree”) and unique (“Hottest Day in History”).
Overall, really good stuff from Pinelands Regional students. Nice job!
Madison Cheeze Curdz (James River HS, Virginia)
Impressive showing from first-time participants in the competition from students at James River High School. Love to see the research into the local “cuisine” to help come up with a team name…area fans I’m sure will love Cheeze Curdz branded merchandise!
Really smart to offer a variety of packages, including full and half season tickets, but the group ticket FLEX package (and including parking) will be a great way to attract fans to the ballpark. Some really good ideas for promotions on the calendar as well. Kid’s night (sponsored) with giveaways, in-game promotions and entertainment will surely be a big hit with families and then appealing to an adult crowd by partnering with local breweries and food trucks (including a t-shirt cannon launching event and team-themed shirts into the crowd) offers a little something for everyone.
We also thought the sponsored Curdz-branded, U.S.A. themed sunglasses giveaway would be a popular promotion with fans on the 4th of July. Last but not least, closing out the season with a Fan Fest event by bringing in legendary Milwaukee Brewers star Robin Yount to throw the first pitch and announce the game (along with other promotions) would be provide an excellent way to finish the year strong and provide momentum heading into the team’s second season (potentially selling season ticket packages along the way).
Great job Cheeze Curdz front office!
Mad City Mastodons (Downers Grove North, Illinois)
Interesting branding concept from students at Downers Grove North, not sure we have seen a “Mastodons” team name in this competition before! A couple of things that stood out in the ticket sales and promotion plan here: 1) Offering both full season and individual game-day promotions 2) Offering some kind of promotion at EVERY home game and 3) Providing fans with a unique seating option like the hot tub seats in the outfield.
As for the season long promotions, we love Friday Night movies after the game in the outfield on the Jumbotron and bratwurst for $2 at every Saturday game. Both are sure to be big draws. As for the game day promos, here were a few favorites:
- National Cheese Day promo – free cheese hat giveway, $2 cheese dogs, specialty cheese related items on the concessions menu like curds, Mac & Cheese and nachos
- Christmas in July promotion
- In alignment with the team’s brand, an “Ice Age” theme night is a great idea, along with a showing of the film on one of the team’s movie nights
Madison Porcupines (Flower Mound High School, Texas)
Some really good ideas from students at Flower Mound High School, surely some promotions that will pack the stadium on game days. Some highlights from the Porcupines ticket sales and promotion plan include:
- Opening Day: First 2,000 fans get a free Porcupines hat and all fans receive a magnet schedule
- College Night: Wear a t-shirt representing your college and receive a free hot dog at the game
- Milwaukee Bucks Night: Nice cross promo, fans buying tickets in the yellow section (these are the most expensive seats on the team’s color coded seating map), receive a ticket to a Milwaukee Bucks game and first 1,500 fans get a co-branded Bucks/Porcupines shirt
- Back to School Night: A kids in attendance receive a free Porcupines backpack
- Porcupines beach ball giveaway: This was one of the more unique giveaways in this year’s competition
Another excellent idea is to offer benefits to season ticketholders. Very few teams touched on this with their plans, so props to the Porcupines’ front office for recognizing the importance of building value for your biggest supporters. Season ticket benefits for Porcupines fans include early admission to the park, exclusive promotional offers, and field access after Sunday home games.
We also love to see create spaces at the stadium, and a sponsored area no less with the Harley-Davidson Deck. Offering rentals of the space on non-game days is a great way to generate incremental income.
Overall, really well done Porcupines front office. Way to go!
Madison Serpents (Green Run High School, Virginia)
One of the things that never ceases to amaze in these competitions is the amount of research students put into learning about the cities they are representing. In this case, students at Green Run managed to uncover something about Madison, Wisconsin (my home town) that I had never heard before. Apparently an urban legend suggest a legendary serpent-like lake monster once lived in the depths of Lake Mendota. Hence, the Madison Serpents. Good stuff!
That said, this case study wasn’t a branding challenge, rather, the focus is creating a promotion and ticket sales plan to fill the stadium. The Serpents’ front office provided plenty of ways to do just that. Some highlights include:
- Unique venues and stadium amenities almost always provide a bump at the box office, and a partnership with Nintendo to design “Maple Stadium” (home to the Serpents) in a way that resembles the Maple Treeway map in Mario Kart will most certainly help to sell tickets!
- Turn Back the Clock promotion with discounted concessions items in honor of the “early days” of baseball
- Some great concessions promotions also designed to draw fans to the ballpark, including a pretzel item shaped like Winnie (the team’s mascot) will certainly be a hit with kiddos coming out to the ballpark
Also, great idea to put an emphasis on premium seating by installing 15 luxury boxes along with featured premium areas like Maple Stadium’s “dugout boxes.”
Great job Green Run High School!
Madison Mountain Gorillas (Grant High School, Oregon)
Lots of great ideas from students at Grant High School for game day promotions at Mountain Gorillas games, many of them very “on brand.” A few highlights include:
- Opening Day: The first 500 fans to show up to our inaugural game get a free banana smoothie
- Deluxe tickets: A promotion where seating in a premium area of the stadium (“Deluxe Tickets”) include all you can eat banana sundaes, access to a rooftop garden and hot tub seats, along with free admission to the stadium’s rock climbing wall for kids
- Farewell Game Jersey Giveway: The final home game of the season will provide fans with a chance to win the team’s star player game-worn jersey
- Monkey Meet and Greet cross promo: Season ticketholders are invited to a meet and greet with monkeys at the local Henry Vilas Zoo (a team sponsor)
- In-game promotion: “Gorilla Tag” which encourages two fans to try to tag someone wearing a gorilla suit
- Select fans have an opportunity to be shuttled to the game via a boat ride to the team’s “Jungle Stadium”
Well done Mountain Gorillas front office!
Lake Mendota Muskies (Downers Grove North, Illinois)
Another group who went “all in” by offering a jam-packed promotions calendar for every home game was the Lake Mendota Muskies’ front office. Students from Downers Grove North were also wise to include season long promotions along with a ton of game day promos along with a commitment to creating flexible ticket sales packages that would appeal to all types of fans. There is no doubt the Muskies will be playing to capacity crowds in their inaugural season.
Here are a few highlights:
- After every shutout win, every fan in attendance gets a coupon for a 5% discount at Bass Pro Shops
- National Donut Day promotion: Muskies branded donuts will appear on the concessions menu in celebration of “National Donut Day”
- After every home run that the team’s star Tim Givens hits, the section where the ball was hit will receive free cheese curds from the concessions menu (great way to add value to the outfield seating sections)
- “Star Wars” Night: Co-branded Star Wars x Muskies jerseys given to the first 2,000 fans in attendance, along with other promotions tied to the Star Wars theme throughout the game
- Any grand slam throughout the season results in every fan in attendance getting a free scoop of ice cream
- “Bucks Night”: For one night, the team will rebrand as the “Lake Mendota Bucks”, a Milwaukee Bucks player or coach will throw out the first pitch, a post-game jersey swap promotion and more
- Paying tribute to one of Madison’s quirky cultural phenomenon, the plastic yard flamingo (also the city’s official bird), the Muskies will host a “Flamingo Night”, with players sporting pink uniforms for the game and fans encouraged to wear pink in a “pink out” to raise breast cancer awareness
Overall, a really well developed ticket sales and promotions plan from the Muskies front office. Nice job Downers Grove North students!
Madison Capitals (D.C. Everest Senior HS, Wisconsin)
As part of the their promotions and ticket sales plan, students from D.C. Everest included a nice mix of in-game promotion, event promotion, and game-day promotion to draw fans to the ballpark for the team’s inaugural season in Madison. Including a featured promotion at every home game will help ticket sales both through ticket packages and walk-up sales on game days. A few notable promotions from the Capitals’ case study response:
- Introducing different theme nights for every home game
- Offering live music performances after every game
- Annual “float” to the stadium (this was a popular promotion theme from many participants in this year’s tournament)
- Food truck options at tailgate areas, including a “Battle of the Food Trucks” promotion
- Fun in-game promotion with a “duck toss” where fans donate $1 to get a rubber duck with a number, between innings they all throw them on the field with the closest to hitting the pitcher’s mound wins a percentage of the donations
Overall, a great response from the Capitals’ front office as D.C. Everest advances as first time participants in this tournament. Nice job!
Here are a few highlights from the “bubble” teams that were so close to advancing but didn’t quite get over the hump.
Wisconsin Muskellunge (Connor, Devin, Michael from Mountain Ridge High School in Arizona)
Newcomers to this competition, students from Mountain Ridge High School offered several interesting promotions ideas. The Muskellunge front office, in particular, had a few of the most creative, including:
- “Elon Muskie Night”: Fans in attendance on June 7th are eligible to participate in a raffle to win stock in Elon Musk’s company, Tesla (the promotion offers a number of ways to get even more creative, including a game day sponsorship)
- “Cutest Pet Night”: A unique spin on the classic “Bark at the Park” promotion that has become a staple at ballparks around the country, Muskellunge fans will have an opportunity to win a $50 Petsmart gift card if their pet is voted the “cutest” of the night
- “World Record First Pitch”: A popular promotions strategy with minor league sports teams, the Muskullenge will open the stadium early to try to break the world record for the highest number of “first pitches” thrown in a day…if successful, any participating fan will be rewarded with 50% off food items at the concessions stand for the next month’s home games
Good stuff from the Muskellunge front office!
Madison Cheeseheads (Matthew and Tom from Tappan Zee High School in New York)
Nobody celebrated more food-themed holidays as part of their promotions plan than the Cheeseheads front office:
- National Mac and Cheese Day, Everyone gets free Mac and Cheese in the stadium
- National Root beer float day, all fans get free root beers at any concession stand
- National Potato day, all fans get 1 free fries basket and free potatoes at any concession stand
And check out this mascot!
Wisconsin Muskies (Jordyyn, Caila, Jayden, Dawson & Cameron from MVCTC in Ohio)
Students from Miami Valley Career Tech Center in Ohio offered one of the most unique in-game promotions in this tournament with the “baseball shuffle.”
As described in the team’s case study response: “There are 3 hats. One baseball will be placed under one of the three hats. The hats will then shuffle around for three rounds. After each round, the hat with the ball will rise and the screen will reveal which hat the ball was under. Then the hats will re-shuffle. There will be no winner, this is simply just a way to have interaction within the audience.”
Good stuff from the Muskies front office!
Madison Cheese Wheels (Sam, Braeden, Dom, Lucas, Ian from MVTC in Ohio)
One of the best demonstrations of a targeted promotion came from the “Cheese Wheels” front office and a group of students from Miami Valley Career Tech Center in Ohio with “Adults Only Night” at the ballpark. The team also partnered with Tipsy Cow, a local X, and Lyft, to make the event both fun and safe.
As described in the team’s case study response: “This night is all about the adults and baseball. Adults can come and try wines and beers from all over the world, all while we are having a deal with Lyft to make sure that no one is driving home under the influence of alcohol.”
Another great promotion idea was “Around the Wheel” Night (the stadium is known as the “wheel”), sponsored by a local brewery and Wisconsin Cheese Mart, where “the night is a chance for everyone to try all different types of cheese along with having a craft beer service come in with samples of beer that is made locally.” Very cool idea to support local businesses and build a brand that establishes roots throughout the community.
Nice job Cheese Wheels front office!
Madison Pikes (Kellam High School Virginia)
Several groups were smart to submit seating charts aligned with ticket prices, like this one from students at Kellam High School in Virginia. Great idea to add “The Lake” seating area with an emphasis on promoting group ticket sales. That section of the stadium is sure to be a hit on game days!
The Pikes’ front office also clearly did their research, serving up some of the most promotional promotional events at Minor League Baseball stadiums around the country like:
- 4th of July Fireworks
- Mother’s Day Game
- Bring Your Dog to the Park Day
- Back to School Night
- Jumping on the Star Wars promotion craze for a “May the 4th Be With You” promotion on May 4th, giving out bobbleheads to the first 1,000 fans and outfitting players in Star Wars-themed uniforms
In addition, Kellam HS students were one of two groups to offer a “turn back the clock” promotion, with the Pikes selling concession items for just 50 cents. Great job Pikes front office!
SCC’S 2022 SPORTSBIZ MADNESS TOURNAMENT BRACKET
The eight teams advancing in the tournament will compete in a head to head style format for the opportunity to be crowned champs of the 2022 case study tournament. Teams were not seeded, the bracket pairings are drawn at random. Good luck to our participating students in the “Elite Eight” round!