Academics and Research / Magazine Feature

Marketing students compete to draw new fans to Outlaws

From viral marketing on to hosting volleyball tournaments on Campus Green, students in Sandra Young’s Sports Marketing class are bursting with ideas to draw attention to collegiate and professional sports teams. 

Young developed two unique assignments for the graduate and undergraduate students in her spring quarter class, designed to give them a real-world learning experience.

Two teams of graduate students competed in an “Apprentice” style contest to sell tickets to the Denver Outlaws (major league Lacrosse) home opener on May 19. 

Each team (“F3N” and “The Inlaws”) was given a small budget, one player appearance and 10 free tickets to start its campaign. It was up to each team to decide how best to utilize the assets and choose complementing marketing strategies to help generate the most ticket sales.

The teams developed unique promotions to sell tickets in an assigned section at Invesco Field at Mile High. The teams used, viral networking and campus partnerships to spread the word. 

One team partnered with local elementary schools — the school that sold the most tickets received lacrosse equipment donated to the team by Halo Sports. Team F3N sold the most pre-game tickets, but The Inlaws edged out the competition by six tickets with game-day sales.

“We were able to share a real working environment with the class and help introduce some of the challenges those of us in the sports marketing world face every day,” says Chuck Olney, Denver Outlaws sales and marketing director.

While Young’s graduate students were working on the Outlaws competition, her undergraduate students in the same class worked with DU’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC) to develop marketing plans to increase student attendance at DU basketball and volleyball games. They presented their plans to the committee and fellow classmates on May 30.

Young’s class is offered as part of the Daniels’ sports management concentration. Rather than just learning about one particular sport, students are exposed to marketing, finance, accounting, leadership, information systems and other key business disciplines that successful sports professionals must understand.

Young believes that these sorts of hands-on projects and competitions give students the edge in navigating the tough world of professional sports. 

“The Denver Outlaws and SAAC provided the students with a challenging, yet fun opportunity to develop innovative and creative ideas for a real-life sports situation,” Young says. “That will certainly make a difference in their careers.”

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