Students in the sports marketing class at North High School in Downers Grove (DGN) competed in the 2022 SportsBiz Madness Case Study Tournament with more than 100 schools across the nation. After completing the first marketing case study, DGN qualified for the “Elite 8.” Upon completing three more case studies, the DGN class qualified for the championship round and earned first place.
In the championship round, DGN and Flower Mound High School (Texas) were asked to research the popularity of pickleball and create a strategy for long-term growth of the sport. Students had one week to develop the written plan with example tactics including videos, tweets and other marketing materials. DGN submitted their plan to the contest sponsor, Sports Career Consulting, and marketing professionals judged both schools’ plans, who deemed DGN the winning team.
A few of DGN’s unique marketing ideas included encouraging colleges to offer pickleball as an intramural sport, offering youth camps during the summer months, partnering with clothing brands and television channels to attract younger audiences, and repurposing other sports venues to host pickleball matches.
“We’ve entered this competition with Sports Career Consulting for the last few years and this is our first national championship,” says North High School Career & Technical Education teacher Drew Himes. “I’m incredibly proud of our students for working together to find a variety of really creative solutions to put together an effective marketing plan. Our students were extremely motivated and did a really great job.”
In District 99’s sports marketing class, students learn marketing principles through researching techniques used in college and professional sports as well as in the movie and music industries. Specific topics of the course include target marketing, sponsorship, promotions, events, advertising, public relations and social media.