(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: Matt Bustillo, Drew Derda, Nick Lowenthal, Edan Michener, Max Santos)
BRAND FOOD UNIVERSITY CHALLENGE:
How can a mid-major leverage a tournament run to build brand awareness amongst high school basketball players?
SECOND PLACE CONCEPT:
A March Madness Cinderella run wraps up every member of a sports audience in its excitement – players, students, and fans of an underdog team. The immense visibility and coverage an unknown team receives is a perfect launching pad for improvements to their program.
A team that has a surprising run should create a showcase tournament during Spring Break for high school sophomores and juniors. This event would appear to be like the Jordan Brand Classic, The Under Armour Elite 22, or McDonald’s All-American Game. College campuses can host these events and increase their image by positioning themselves next to these top-tier recruits. By leveraging their March Madness success, high school recruits will be more inclined to visit these mid-major schools and play in their gyms and campuses. It also provides them the chance to become more familiar with the school and take it into consideration for their commitment. For their own futures, high schoolers will also be incentivized to participate to increase their desirability to college scouts.
An event like this would drive attention from top recruits, basketball fans, and locals of the area. It also keeps the school’s basketball program in conversation even after its Cinderella Run has ended.