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MSA students place second in National Sports Forum’s Case Cup Competition

Published: July 7, 2021 Author: Megan Bulow & Bri Schoepf

A second graduate student team competed in SportsPro Media’s Hackathon and received the Most Socially Sustainable Concept award. 

Two Ohio University sport administration graduate student teams won awards in recent industry competitions.

The Master of Sport Administration (MSA) team that participated in the National Sports Forum Case Cup Competition placed second. Will Schmitz, Carolyn Fishman, Hailey Hice and Sean Cain were the four MSA students who competed. 

“The National Sports Forum Case Cup Challenge gets more competitive each year and we have always been very well represented by our students,” Matt Cacciato, director of the MSA/MBA Dual Degree program, said. “This year is no exception. Carolyn, Hailey, Will, and Sean delivered excellent work that was at the level of professional sports marketing agencies.”

The annual case study competition takes place each year at the National Sports Forum, one of the largest gatherings of sport business professionals, with students using the skills they’ve learned in their courses to complete a hypothetical challenge. This year’s case required the team to develop a marketing plan for U.S. Bank’s gaming and esports strategy. Teams were expected to consider community and equity in gaming as they built their plan. 

“It was awesome to represent our program on the national stage against some of the best sports admin programs,” said Will Schmitz, the team captain. “The extended time frame allowed us to connect with multiple of our alumni in the esports industry and learn directly from them. Obviously, we wished we could have taken home the gold, but I’m really proud of the work our team delivered and couldn’t have asked for better teammates.”

OHIO was one of 12 teams that competed in the Case Cup. In the preliminary round, the team went up against Grambling State, University of Oregon, and University of Texas at El Paso, and they were named one of three finalists along with University of South Florida and University of Massachusetts. The University of South Florida won the overall competition. 

SportsPro Media’s Hackathon Competition

In addition to the MSA team’s placement in the Case Cup Competition, a group of five Master of Business Administration (MBA) and MSA Dual Degree students earned the top award for the Most Socially Sustainable Concept out of 14 competitors in SportsPro Media’s Hackathon competition, which took place April 9-11. 

The Hackathon unites students from around the world to participate in a three-day-long competition, sponsored by SportsPro Media, a leading sports business trade journal based in London, England. This year’s competition topic was the triple bottom line, with participants challenged to create innovative solutions to drive social, financial, and environmental sustainability in sport. The goal of the competition is to create new solutions, products, or businesses that can make a positive contribution to the world.

Participants can engage with industry mentors and share their concepts with the industry. The students on OHIO’s team included Dominique Del Prete and Valentina Ibaseta from the Dual MSA program, Karma Armani and Jessica Mehr from the Dual MBA program, and Yen Chung Chiu from the MBA Exclusive program. 

“We are very proud of our MBA and MSA students for their stellar effort in this inaugural case competition,” Cacciato said. “Competing in a truly international field, with a culturally diverse team (that represented four continents) was a new experience for us, and an important initiative in activating our No. 1 global ranking for postgraduate sports administration studies. SportsPro Media ran a great event, and we look forward to making this an annual effort.”

The OHIO team’s winning SportLight concept presented a dual-purpose digital platform that includes a sports activity planning tool, making sports more accessible and inclusive for youth in underserved communities by generating sports, games, and activities based on resources that can be found at home, outside, or in the local community. Users select what resources they have access to, the number of people involved, the equipment on hand, and the space available. Based on this information, the website generates an activity that the users can try.  The platform also helps the user repurpose and recycle sports equipment. 

“Our team is passionate about making sports more accessible for everyone, and that a lack of equipment shouldn’t be a barrier to play,” said Dominique Del Prete, an OHIO team member. “It is a huge honor to win the Most Socially Sustainable Concept, especially considering how incredible some of the ideas were from the other competing universities. All the hours we put in were worth it and this is definitely an experience that none of us will ever forget.” 

The competing universities included Coventry University, United Kingdom; De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom; SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan, Italy; Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland; Sheffield Hallam University (three teams), United Kingdom; University of Liverpool (two teams), United Kingdom; Bilgi University, Istanbul, Turkey; Adelphi University, New York; Columbia University, New York; and Syracuse University, New York.