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Suzannah Armentrout, Jen Zdroik, and Julia Dutove

The COVID-19 pandemic changed not only the way professional sports were played in 2020, but also changed the way sport-related organizations had to operate. An example of this is a fictional sports app, FanStand, that primarily offered opportunities for sports teams to engage fans through team information, in-game trivia and contests, services at games, and the purchasing of tickets and merchandise. The primary use of the app was inside arenas and stadiums, meaning that when COVID-19 stopped all play, the app was not used. Even as professional sport returned to play, fans were not attending in-person games and were not using the app. The purpose of this case study is to consider how apps like FanStand can generate revenue during the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond, using strategic and operational planning, as well as stakeholder theory, to account for various groups and individuals who are impacted by the decisions FanStand makes during this time.

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Ryan Snelgrove and Laura Wood

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Victoria Kabetu, Ryan Snelgrove, Kimberly J. Lopez, and Daniel Wigfield

Steve Kroger, president and COO of Hockey Canada, is contemplating how to attract and retain more young people who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in minor hockey (ages 4–18 years). Hockey Canada the governing association for amateur hockey in the country has created programs that make the sport accessible for more people to try, yet Steve recognizes there is still a lot of work that needs to be done to increase participation rates among Black, Indigenous, and People of Color athletes. Drawing on a policy paper for anti-racism in Canadian hockey, Steve tasks his team with developing strategies aimed at making the sport more inclusive and boosting participation.

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David Pierce, Geoffre Sherman, Kyle Mechelin, and Bryan Kryder

Youth sports is facing a crisis that threatens the ecosystem of youth sports. Innovation—the ability to generate and execute new ideas—is needed to stem the negative tide of a declining and aging officiating pool and improve the recruitment and retention of sports officials. Without creative problem solving and innovation by many different stakeholders in youth sports, the benefits that children receive from participating in sports are threatened by the lack of qualified officials to referee competitive games and matches. This case pushes students well past the news headlines of angry parents yelling at officials and deep into several problem spaces that emerge from the application of design thinking. Students are introduced to design thinking and prompted to innovate solutions to problems framed using the design thinking process. Students can select a preidentified problem space, then work through an ideation session facilitated by the instructor.

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Kerri Bodin, Georgia Teare, Jordan T. Bakhsh, and Marijke Taks

Youth sport participation preferences are evolving and shifting toward unorganized, nontraditional types of sport participation. This trend has left more traditional sports with decreasing participation numbers. Baseball Canada noticed a similar trend and therefore implemented an innovative approach to increase interest and participation in baseball. This case study follows Alex, the Manager of Sport Development at Baseball Canada, as they develop and evaluate Baseball5, an innovative street version of the traditional sport of baseball. This alternative form of baseball needs to be tested and evaluated in five pilot programs throughout Canada. Alex collects survey, interview, and focus group data following each of the pilot programs to determine whether the approach is viable for increasing interest in baseball long term. After reading the case, students are tasked with analyzing the collected data and designing the Baseball5 program for long-term implementation. The case is ideal for upper year undergraduate students who have the skills and knowledge necessary to execute program evaluations and build holistic program implementation plans, and for undergraduate courses in research methods or data analysis.

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Nathan Baer, Claire C. Zvosec, Brent D. Oja, and Minjung Kim

Ben Davis has recently been hired to take over as the president of business operations for Major League Baseball’s newest expansion club, the Nashville Comets. He is faced with a challenging task: filling out the rest of his senior management staff. Ben knows he needs to meet certain initiatives set by the ownership group. Of these, the most important is that the ownership team wants to build an organization that will set itself apart in the crowded Nashville entertainment market, allowing it to flourish in the long term. While consulting with some of his industry colleagues, Ben has honed in on innovation, job crafting, and meaningful work as a means of doing so. Ben is seeking to develop an organization that inspires innovation in its employees, maximizing his staff as a resource for change. Using concepts like meaningful work and job crafting, students will be tasked with assisting Ben in fleshing out the Comets’ front office in a way that fosters creativity and innovation among their employees, contributing to the success of the organization.

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Brody J. Ruihley and Heidi Grappendorf

Fantasy Sports Collection, Inc. (FSC) is a fantasy sport organization offering fantasy play since 2005. Having plateaued in consumer growth, FSC is faced with difficult financial decisions. In a brainstorming session regarding new initiatives, Molly Brinkmeyer suggested an idea to purposefully market to and recruit more women to preestablished offerings. Molly’s reasons driving this idea were the fact that only 14% of their consumers were women and, after an evaluation of FSC’s marketing campaigns, employees of FSC quickly saw that advertisements were overtly produced for men. FSC’s management team felt that this was an idea worth pursuing. They charged Molly with acquiring information about women’s fantasy sport participation and gave her a 3-week window to learn more and report back. She found that women’s top perceptions of the activity were that: (a) the activity was time consuming; (b) the activity required research, surveillance, and information; (c) they had no interest or understanding of it; (d) they felt the activity was too competitive; (e) they thought it wasn’t real; and (f) they still had a positive opinion of fantasy sport. With this new information, marketing decisions could now be made to address existing concerns by women regarding fantasy sport participation.