Sports Marketing students hit a home run with baseball project
By Peter Corbett
GCU News Bureau
It turns out that a Lope-rechaun and a St. Patrick’s Day theme trumped spring break in drawing fans to Grand Canyon University baseball games last month.
Teams from a Sports Marketing class, MKT-373, in the Colangelo College of Business competed to lure as many students as they could to two Antelopes games against the University of New Mexico.
Team 1 relied on the all-things-Irish holiday to promote the March 15 evening game at Brazell Stadium.
Team 2 used spring break as a promotional hook for a March 16 afternoon game.
Call it the luck of the Irish, if you will, but Team 1 drew 690 students to the game, 16 percent more than Team 2, which attracted a respectable 593 student fans. Each team had 19 student members.
“They had to work on a team with no captains assigned, but some natural leaders emerged,” said Christina Wagner, CCOB adjunct professor of marketing and GCU Arena director of marketing. “We kept our mouths shut and let them do it, and they did a good job of sorting things out.”
Both teams had to work within a modest budget to promote the game, come up with a creative theme, design shirts and fliers, work with sponsors for donated items, and develop a social media campaign, she said.
Wagner joined Assistant Athletic Director Renee Gonzalez and Marketing Manager Matt Newhouse in critiquing both teams’ marketing plans a few weeks before the games.
Finally, the teams had to activate their plans on game day, passing out pizza and T-shirts to fans.
Team 1 landed Coca-Cola and Papa John’s as sponsors while Team 2 got support from Raising Cane’s restaurant and Papa John’s.
Team 1 had a wild card with Lopes soccer player Shawn Spitzer dressed as the Lope-rechaun.
Wagner said both teams wanted the St. Patrick’s Day theme, but Team 1 had first choice.
Team 2 was granted a larger promotional budget, $2,000 compared to $1,200 for Team 1, because it was promoting a day game and many students have classes during that time, Wagner said.
The Athletics Department was pleased with the higher turnout for the games, she said.
The overall attendance was 1,071 on March 15 and 838 on March 16.
New Mexico won both games, 10-6 and 6-5.
“We couldn’t control everything,” Wagner noted.
Contact Peter Corbett at (602) 639-7588 or firstname.lastname@example.org.