Sports management students develop marketing plans for a professional sports team
In a unique hands-on project, students in a college “sports marketing” class created a marketing plan for the Connecticut Sun and had the opportunity to present their plans to a group of executives of the WNBA team.
July 6, 2022
Joshua Hammond ’23 and his classmates in his “Sports Marketing” class had the opportunity to apply what they learned in class over the duration of the spring semester as they developed marketing plans for a professional sports team. He and several of his classmates were also able to showcase their work to staff members of the Connecticut Sun, a WNBA team based in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Hammond and teammate Emily Bogdanowicz ’23 met with the Connecticut Sun’s vice president of business operations, who outlined the team’s needs and goals for the marketing plan. Specifically, the students were tasked with creating a plan that would attract millennials and Gen Zers to gaming. They applied what they had learned in class – including target market analysis, advertising and promotions – when developing their plan.
While working with Connecticut Sun staff throughout the semester, students had the opportunity to network and learn more about the team. Hammond and Bogdanowicz, both majoring in sports management, were on one of two teams that pitched their plans to classmates as well as Connecticut Sun staffers.
“It was a great opportunity for me because it gave me the chance to pitch our ideas in front of the executives of a professional sports team,” Hammond said. “We wanted to make sure that our ideas and presentation were polished. I knew leaving a good impression would be beneficial, as it would prove that all the hard work and ideas were great in some way. It also gave me the opportunity to get in touch with these sports executives, because they already have an idea of the quality of the work I can do.
“One Foot in the Door”
Hammond and Bogdanowicz came up with a written plan that included an attendance point system that would reward fans for going to games and buying food and drink. Fans would earn points which could be redeemed at Mohegan Sun Arena.
Bogdanowicz says the project helped her get a better idea of the many details that need to be anticipated when developing a sports marketing plan. She is grateful to have gained a better understanding of what a good plan entails as well as what is expected in the industry.
“I expect this skill to be a big help in my career.”Joshua Hammond ’23
“Being able to present in front of leaders before you or even in the industry gives you a foot in the door and showcases your skills and industry knowledge,” Bogdanowicz said. “We knew our PowerPoint had to be top-notch and professional, and it was by far the best presentation I’ve ever given.
“After our presentation, one of the team executives contacted us and asked if we would like to follow someone from their marketing department for one of their home games,” she continued. “We’ll keep in touch as they try to incorporate our ideas into their organization.”
“Time management is a very important skill”
Cameron Corey ’23 and teammate Aldayr Ochoa ’23 also had the opportunity to present their plan to Connecticut Sun leaders. They created a series of drafts of their marketing plan during the spring semester, receiving feedback from their professor, Ceyda Mumcu, Ph.D., chair of the university’s sports management department. While Corey says he was nervous doing such a presentation for the first time, he says it helped boost his confidence.
“It was one of the most rewarding opportunities after all the hard work we put into this marketing plan,” said Corey, a sports management major. “I was able to learn a lot about sports marketing, especially with professional teams. I also learned a lot about myself and my determination to do something that I am 110% passionate about.
Students say they enjoyed brainstorming creative marketing ideas for the Connecticut Sun. During class presentations, they had the opportunity to learn what their classmates had envisioned when creating their plans.
For Hammond, the project has been a great hands-on learning experience. It helped him learn important skills, including time management, which he will apply for the rest of his time as Charger – and beyond.
“Time management is a very important skill to have and learning how to balance such a project with non-school related work is essential,” he said. “With various projects happening in the final weeks of the semester, it can make or break the quality of work. I expect this skill to be of great help in my career.