Warsaw team wins national marketing competition

L to R: Swangard, Van Wyen, Swaim, Early, Wang
L to R: Swangard, Van Wyen, Swaim, Early, Wang

The sports marketing world moves fast – but not too fast for students in the University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center.

A team of four UO MBA students associated with the center bested teams from seven other schools for a first-ever win in the National Sports Forum’s Case Cup Competition, which challenged graduate students to create a successful marketing campaign for a client in just 24 hours.

The National Sports Forum, Jan. 27-29 in Orlando, is an annual gathering of 800-plus sports marketing, sales and event entertainment executives from teams and leagues across North America. Participants convene for three days of breakout sessions, panel discussions, networking events and keynote speeches, providing a setting for decision makers in the sports industry to review successes and shortcomings of the past year and plan for 2013.

During the Case Cup, teams in a school’s sports masters or MBA program are given a multidisciplinary case study from a client seeking a marketing campaign. The teams hunker down in hotel rooms for a 24-hour blitz to draw up a campaign and then present a proposal to judges using PowerPoint slides.

The UO team – Matt Van Wyen, Gary Wang, Jennifer Swaim and Christina Early – beat teams from the University of South Carolina, Wichita State University, George Washington University, Florida State University, Canisius College, Temple University and Ohio University.

The team’s campaign included a marketing proposal for Chobani Greek Yogurt, which has a sponsorship agreement with the U.S. Olympic Committee and is seeking to target teens and men. Among the components of the campaign, the team created a motto – “Chobani: Good Makes Great” – and developed a digital sales strategy in which the players of a mobile video game on skiing and snowboarding are introduced to the Chobani brand.

"Our challenge was to come up with ways for Chobani to use the sponsorship in non-Olympic years to sell more products, become a lifestyle brand, tout health benefits, reach the male demo and reach a younger demo to increase brand loyalty," Early said.

In an interview with media at the forum, team leader Van Wyen said the Warsaw program teaches students to “flesh out ideas that can be implemented right away” and always “stay true to the brand.”

“We’re hard on each other in our group – not in a mean way but we want to present the best ideas we can,” Van Wyen said. “That was the hardest challenge – just figuring out what were the best ideas and what fit with Chobani.”