Last fall, students in the Sports Marketing course at Loras College were placed in groups to create a comprehensive marketing strategy for a non-profit organization that basketball legend Jo Jo White planned to implement. White is a former professional basketball player and current executive with the Boston Celtics.
Each group created a proposed organization appropriate for White to launch, based on the book Make It Count
by Mark Bodanza. Students did research and put together a plan and marketing documents including posters, brochures, a newsletter, a complete year-round calendar of events and meetings, a website, and a 30-second commercial using live footage. The project was very competitive; out of the five groups, one would win.
“It being a sport management class and class filled with athletes, it was just as competitive as us being on the court or field. It’s a great feeling representing Loras and the sport management program by doing big things such as this,” said Kyle Kirchhoff
(’13) (Hanover Park, Ill.).
"This was a great opportunity for the students to partner with NBA legend Jo Jo White. The assignment forced a competitive atmosphere that simulates the sport business industry and also exposed students to many of the necessary technologies they will need to succeed," said professor of physical education and sports studies, Matthew Garrett, Ph.D
Students in the winning group were Molly Bolibaugh
(’12) (Epworth, Iowa), Beth Miller
(’13) (East Dubuque, Ill.), Kyle Kirchhoff, Mark Villas
(’12) (Bolingbrook, Ill.), and Kevin Jachim
(’13) (Ever Green Park, Ill.).
The winning proposal was chosen for its readiness to implement.
“This project was a pretty cool because not a lot of people in the sports business can say that they were a part of organizing such an event on behalf of Mr. White, especially at such a young age. I think it was a great way for us to learn about the business because this was something where there were really no guidelines and we had to start from scratch. Dr. Garrett did a great job setting this up with Mr. Bodanza and Jo Jo White. I’m very grateful for the opportunity that we had because very few people get to do something like this while they’re still in college,” Villas stated.
Jachim added, “This was a great project because it was something different from your ordinary group project. Getting the chance to work with a fixture in NBA history like Jo Jo White was an opportunity that many students don’t get. We thought that our idea was something creative and we ran with it. Putting together the program that we created was definitely a learning experience because we got a chance to interact with a real professional business in the world of sports and receive feedback from them.”
The winning project consists of a program where the Boston area elementary schools would have students author and illustrate a book. “There would be competition at the school and district level to choose the top stories, and at the end White would go to the school and read the story. The group is revising their work at White's request and if it is accepted it will be taken to Celtics management,” Garrett added.