(This concept comes from Patrick Walsh’s Sports Management class at the University of Syracuse. The students who presented this idea as part of the “Brand Food University” Program are: Hannah Duncan, Nicole Kittay, Yong Hoon (Bryan) Lee, Jordan Novak, Austin Towns)
BRAND FOOD UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE:
How can a mid-major leverage a tournament run to build brand awareness amongst high school basketball players?
WHAT IF recruits could feel the experience of a Cinderella run in an empty arena? Mid-majors could use virtual reality to immerse recruits in the tournament when they visit the school at any time of the year. They could put on the VR goggles during tours and see what the March Madness run was like. They could hear fans cheering, see plays, and more. They could feel like they are already part of the team with a view from the bench. As they watch moments from the tournament in virtual reality, their interest in the school could increase dramatically. Even if they did not attend the March Madness games or they did not see highlights on TV, the experience would still feel real. The athletes would start to build brand awareness with the schools because each one would feel different. Each school has a different story, and each Cinderella tournament run is unique and memorable in its own way. Mid-majors could use virtual reality even without a tournament run, but a run would make it even more special. Virtual reality would be the closest thing to actually being on the team that the recruits could experience before they choose their school.