Opening Round Recap
We received 72 entries from student â€œteamsâ€ participating in our inaugural case study competition and couldnâ€™t be more impressed with the submissions.Â 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.Â 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 teamâ€™s ability to sell.
We had a number student teams that submitted particularly impressive responses to the first case study.Â Unfortunately, only eight could be selectedÂ to advance to our â€œelite eightâ€ round of the competition where the tournament shifts to a â€œhead to headâ€ format. Â Of course, selecting just eight teams from our pool of entries was extremely difficult.Â 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.Â For example, a number of teams named their franchise the â€œMadison Flamingosâ€, a reference to Madisonâ€™s â€œofficial city birdâ€, the yard flamingo.Â I grew up in Madison and didnâ€™t even know that!Â 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 metÂ the criteria establishedÂ in the assigned case study.Â One of the most critical elements (in addition to offering creative and unique promotion ideas) was to provide a clear strategic planÂ for how promotionsÂ would help the franchise bottom line, specifically by meeting attendance goals.Â Those who communicated the best and most viable strategies were the teamsÂ selected to advance to the “Elite Eight” round.
However, we did want to acknowledge a few teams that were on the outside looking in. Â We referred to that group of entries as our “Sweet Sixteen”. Â Eight of theÂ â€œSweet Sixteenâ€ 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.Â The teams were not seeded.Â Names were drawn from a hat and added to the bracket accordingly.Â We canâ€™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 offseasonâ€¦
* Our “Sweet Sixteen”Â teams did a fantastic job and submitted very impressive responses to the first case study, but unfortunately will not advance in this competition. Â They all, however, deserve a standing ovation for their efforts!
â€œMadison Mad Pikeâ€ â€“ Indian River High School (New York):
Nice job implementing pre-season promos to build excitement leading up to the season, not many other teams introduced a similar strategy.Â Also really liked the tax day promotion offering 15% off season tickets through April 15â€¦A number of pro sports teams offer similar promotional ideas, encouraging fans to spend their refund money on tickets and team gear.Â Great ideas!
â€œMadison Copper Dronesâ€ â€“ Kent CTC (Michigan):
One of our favorite logos submitted in this competition, good stuff.Â Also, appreciated the brand extension by naming your stadium â€œThe Hiveâ€, however, we would have liked to see some â€œthemedâ€ promos to extend the brand even furtherâ€¦Interesting idea to stage promotions that coincide with popular movie releases like Pirates: Dead Men Tell No Tales in May and Transformers movie in July. Overall, really nice job.
â€œMendota Muskiesâ€ â€“ Kent CTC (Michigan):
Nice job building a differentiation strategy by recognizing what sets the minor league product apart from major league sports.Â Also, being aware of the role fan experience has on the success of a minor league sports team is critical to any front office staffâ€¦glad you mentioned that in your promotions overview.Â Great job!
â€œWisconsin Walleyeâ€ â€“ Fruitport High School (Michigan):
Great job identifying a local company for your stadium naming rights partnership (Sargento Stadium).Â We enjoyed the logo as well, although the mascot seemed a bit â€œfishyâ€â€¦lol.Â Fun idea to extend the brand with the â€œFisherman Dayâ€ themed promotion as well.Â Nice work!
â€œMadison Capitalsâ€ â€“ Pine Island High School (Minnesota):
Nice job researching other Minor League Baseball team names to insure the name of your franchise would be unique…Overall, a really impressive list of diverse promotions that will appeal to a wide variety of fans.Â Glad to see the recognition of the importance of the fan experience as well, that will go a long way in not only drawing fans to the ballpark but also making sure they return for more games.Â Featuring a link to your franchise website was a nice touch as well.Â Good work.
â€œMadison Butter Churnersâ€ â€“ Merrimack High School (New Hampshire):
Very few teams in this competition offered full season promotions so you definitely scored some points thereâ€¦the creativity, however, behind your swiss cheese promotion is what helped propel your promotions plan into the â€œsweet sixteenâ€ round of the tournament.Â
We loved your idea: â€œAbove the center field back wall there is going to be a huge statue of Swiss cheese. If a player on the Butter Churners hits the ball through one of the holes in the cheese, five random seats will be chosen and gets a ball signed by all of the players at SWISS CHEESE STADIUM.â€Â Super creative and fun!
â€œMadison Pumasâ€ â€“ Little Elm High School (Texas):
Great strategy to leverage social media in a way that builds excitement and enthusiasm around the team in an effort to maximize ticket sales.Â Also, great plan on working with local youth baseball programsâ€¦fantastic way to get fans to games. Â Nice work!
â€œDane County Rhythm & Boomsâ€ â€“ Arlington High School (New York):
Excellent work developing a brand rooted in community prideâ€¦that strategy will most certainly help lure more fans to the ballpark.Â In addition to some fun theme night ideas, we really liked the development of ticket packages that included premium seating options (and the value you added for those seat buyers).Â Fantastic job!
ADVANCING TO THE â€œELITE EIGHTâ€:
â€œMadison Milkersâ€ â€“ Pine Island HS (Minnesota):
You offered our favorite description of a promotional strategy: â€œSome baseball games can seem to be just dreadful to a fan who does not find complete merriment in the sport of baseball. That is why one of our main purposes of this franchise is to cultivate a pastime that anyone can enjoy.â€ Â Loved it!Â
Really nice job recognizing the importance of catering to non-baseball fans to help reach a larger audience, that will definitely help you to sell more tickets.Â Positioning your franchise as â€œfamily friendlyâ€ is a great way to do that as well.Â Loved the slogan too. Â â€œMadison Milkers: â€œCome watch us, anyone can have an utterly grand time!â€ and your promotions list featured some really great ideas.Â Really impressive!
â€œLake Mendota Sturgeonsâ€ â€“ Westosha Central High School (Wisconsin):
Really nice job tying your primary sponsor (local business, well done) to some of your promotionsâ€¦adds value for both sponsor and fan.Â Great idea to build promotions that encourage fans to arrive early, helping boost your concessions and merchandise revenue in addition to selling more tickets.Â Well done.
â€œMidwest Badgersâ€ â€“ Memorial High School (Wisconsin):
Opening with a â€œmarket summaryâ€ really demonstrated how thorough the thought process was in creating a promotions plan for the Badgers franchise.Â The addition of a communications plan also suggests your message will maximize its reach, ultimately helping to boost ticket sales.Â Getting your team schedules and magnets in local restaurants will most certainly increase fan awareness, a critical step in reaching fans in a teamâ€™s first season within a market.Â Fun ideas for promotions as wellâ€¦nice work.
â€œMadison Muskiesâ€ â€“ Flower Mound High School (Texas):
Excellent job creating seamless integration between sponsors and team promotionsâ€¦We think Culverâ€™s will be very pleased with the results of their partnership with the Muskies. Â Also, great idea to offer seating options at every price level, catering to fans on a budget and corporate customers with the premium options.Â An â€œall you can eatâ€ section in the outfield is a super idea that provides a promotional opportunity all season long.Â Loved the logo too!Â
â€œMadison Frosty Pikesâ€ â€“ Wichita East HS (Kansas):
Interesting name, certainly unique but explanation makes senseâ€¦Fantastic job developing promotions plan that â€œcovers all the basesâ€, from themed promos like heritage and social media nights to promos that engage fans like â€œbaseball bingoâ€, your franchise will have the ability to target any demographic and encourage them to come out to the ballpark. Â Also, weâ€™d really like to try that â€œMac-n-Cheese Pizzaâ€ specialty concession item (but think you could get away with charging more than a buck a slice)!Â Excellent work!
â€œMadison Flamingosâ€ â€“ Kent CTC (Michigan):
A lot of teams in this competition included promotions featuring free ticketsâ€¦however, you were the only ones who explained how that will help the franchise reach its goal of 85% capacity in the inaugural season.Â Pairing a free ticket with a promotion that requires others in the group to purchase a seat is one of the most effective ticket sales techniques in sports business.Â Excellent job recognizing that.Â In addition, love the idea of some branded concessions offerings â€œFlamingo Strawberry Shakesâ€ and leveraging pop culture themes like â€œNational Tooth Fairy Dayâ€ to help draw fans to the ballpark.Â Nice job going the extra mile to do some price comparison to determine your ticket rates as well.Â Really good stuff!
â€œMadison Lake Monstersâ€ â€“ Merrimack High School (New Hampshire):
Your presentation style for this competition was totally unique.Â Great job â€œsellingâ€ the fun behind the promotionsâ€¦you had us wanting to visit your team website and buy season tickets!Â You also hit on every aspect of the fan experience that would encourage fans to come out to the ballpark: in-game promotions between innings, an active mascot, enticing concessions options, convenient transportation and parkingâ€¦you had it all.Â Great job instilling a sense of community as well, your â€œoutstanding citizenâ€ promotion was one of our favorites and having local youth teams play on the field before or after games is a very popular promotion with almost all professional sports teams.Â Fantastic job!
â€œMadison Pink Flamingosâ€ â€“ Fruitport High School (Michigan):
We loved how your team suggested it would make it a priority for all staff including front office and team personnel (â€œas a united frontâ€ in your words) to be actively engaged in the sales process in an effort to reach organizational goals.Â No other team in this competition deployed that strategy, which just so happens to be one of the most important characteristics of a successful sports team.Â Promotions list was also on pointâ€¦you provided a great breakdown with a lot of good ideas.Â Brilliant job!
Best of luck to our “Elite Eight” teams as we move into the head to head stage of the competition!