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STHM graduate students participate in case cup competition at the National Sports Forum

By: Courtney Kubitza
First Published: March 18, 2015
Topics: Alumni Stories, STHM School

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Four students from the School of Tourism and Hospitality Management’s Master’s of Science in Sport Business program represented Temple University at the National Sports Forum (NSF).

The conference, held Feb. 6-10 in Cincinnati, is open only to top sport-industry executives from across the country, with the exception of a handful of graduate students from the nation’s elite sport-management graduate degree programs, for participation in its annual Case Cup Competition.

“NSF is roughly 1,000 industry professionals, along with 36 Master’s students from the Case Cup,” said Dr. Aubrey Kent, Associate Professor and Chairperson of STHM. “It truly is an unparalleled opportunity for networking access to the professional sports industry for the students that take up the challenge of the Case Competition. Many of the professionals are Case Cup ‘alums,’ so to speak, so they are treated very well and are welcomed and recognized by all of those in attendance.”

In the NSF Case Cup Competition, student participants have 24 hours to research and prepare a multidisciplinary case study presentation on an objective that rotates each year. The presentations are then delivered to a skilled industry panel of judges, which included representatives of the Sports Business Journal, Major League Soccer (MLS) and athletic administrators from the University of Northern Illinois.

This year’s case called for student participants to develop a marketing campaign aimed at attracting the millennial generation to the Kentucky Speedway.

“We pitched a partnership with FanDuel, a daily fantasy gaming site, and holding a 5K run during race weekend,” said Cody Rhoads, whose concentration is in sport marketing and promotions. “We also proposed putting a beer garden and entertainment pods in the infield, as well as providing barbecue cook-off stations and a Slip ‘n Slide for kids.”

Rhoads and the rest of STHM’s team, which included Taylor Mullens, Rosie Kays and team captain Nick Deludos, did not advance to the Case Cup Competition’s final round. However, team members expressed a level of pride in having established multiple ideas and delivering a strong presentation, given the obvious time limitations.

“We knew that we had to come together and get it done,” said Mullens, whose concentration is in recreation and event management. “You have to compromise because you are under such a time constraint and you have to think outside the box, and we did that. I think we performed the best when we had to present in front of the judges.”

“It was incredible to be able to watch a few loose thoughts develop into a full business plan including an in-depth comprehensive strategy, marketing initiatives and financial projections ultimately providing means to a return on the investment,” added Deludos, the team’s captain, whose concentration is in athletic administration.

Conference attendees, students included, networked and attended breakout sessions and presentations hosted by MLS, the Washington Nationals and Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball, Turnkey Sports & Entertainment and the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League, to name a few.

“We were able to connect with the industry professionals over various lunches, dinners, and presentations,” said Kays, whose concentration is in athletic administration. “Some of the presentations included sales, marketing and promotions, ticketing, and social media.”

The Case Cup is just one example of STHM students becoming real-world ready.