Eberhardt students take a shot at national marketing competition

students give presentation in front of panel of judges

Eberhardt students present their ideas in front of a panel of judges.

Sport management and analytics students from Pacific’s Eberhardt School of Business tested their marketing chops in a unique challenge with a real-world client: the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association.

Ben Baker ’23, Michael Binney ’23, Marissa Fabian ’23 and Emily Jarrell ’24 competed against 20 college teams from across the country in the Sport Marketing Association’s Case Study Bowl in Charlotte, N.C. 

“It was an opportunity unlike any other,” Baker said. “For sport management students, we truly could not ask for a better way to prepare for the real day-to-day operations in the industry.”

Students were tasked with developing innovative ideas and strategies to increase revenue and engage a younger audience through the metaverse—a virtual space where people can interact. They presented their proposal in front of two executives from the Hornets and two professors.

“We had two days to come up with the presentation and practice presenting it,” Fabian said. “One of our strategies was for a metaverse zone inside the stadium where people could play one-on-one against their favorite player or sit courtside.”

Associate Professor of Sport Management Pete Schroeder, who traveled with the students, said the judges were impressed.

“We got good feedback,” Schroeder said. “They liked the way the students assessed the data and used analytics to interpret what the Charlotte Hornets should be doing.”

Baker attributed the strength of Pacific’s team to the student-centered learning at Eberhardt and the collaboration with his teammates.

“There were many aspects of our marketing plan that could not have been done well by an individual,” Baker said. “Having a variety of perspectives allowed for a more comprehensive thought process in the planning and research stage.”

The event was also an opportunity to meet peers from other universities and listen to expert panels. One highlight was a reception at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in downtown Charlotte.

The trip was made possible through the newly created Zuckerman Sports Analytics Program Endowed Fund in honor of Doug Eberhardt ’59.

The gift from Gordon and Anne Zuckerman expands experiential learning opportunities for students, brings professionals to teach and guest lecture and enhances curriculum and professional development in the sports analytics program.  

“I am really grateful we had the opportunity to do this and get a taste of what the real business world is like,” Fabian said.