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Ryan Snelgrove and Laura Wood

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Lindee Declercq, Keegan Dalal, Megan Piché, Nicholas Burton, and Michael Naraine

In this case study, students will explore how sport sponsorship can be used to drive business development. They will follow the fictitious story of Amazon, developing a plan to expand its operations into the Middle East through the eSports platform Twitch. Twitch, a video game livestreaming site has contributed to the rise popularity of eSports. Thanks to its appeal to the youth demographic, it is revealed Twitch offers a unique platform that can give Amazon a competitive advantage. This aligns with the Middle East’s increasing interest in becoming a global sport leader. After further exploring the Middle East market, the potential value of this sponsorship will be determined. In addition, business-to-consumer strategies will be consulted to justify the plan put forward by Amazon. Learning objectives include understanding the role of new media and being able to understand the early phases of a sponsorship plan.

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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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Emily K. Romano, Kyle A. Rich, and Dennis Quesnel

In this case study, learners are introduced to Sloane, a diversity and inclusion officer who is working to create more inclusive sport and recreation opportunities in her community. A national-level sport event will be hosted in her community and provides an opportunity to elevate and accelerate the work she is already doing with sport and recreation organizations. Learners will develop an understanding of two key themes: LGBTQ2+ inclusion and event leveraging. Working through the case will require learners to think critically about sexuality and gender identity in the context of sport participation and organizations. Furthermore, learners will have the opportunity to think creatively about how they can support innovation in organizational cultures and practices with a view to fostering more inclusive, welcoming, and safe sport organizations.

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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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Keegan Dalal, Lindee Declercq, Megan C. Piché, Craig G. Hyatt, and Michael L. Naraine

While many teams face difficult decisions regarding their branding, this case emphasizes how external factors can dictate marketing strategies. The Montreal Expos returning to Major League Baseball poses many threats and opportunities for the Toronto Blue Jays. As a result, the Blue Jays must reconsider their use of national identity in their branding—and whether it is appropriate to transition from being Canada’s only team to now sharing the market with the Expos. Nevertheless, the Expos’ return to Major League Baseball provides the Blue Jays with an opportunity to explore new marketing strategies. Case participants are tasked with repositioning the Blue Jays’ marketing strategy in response to the Expos’ return.

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Vinu Selvaratnam

In early 2020, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred, announced the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal after months of investigation. It was one of the biggest scandals in baseball since the steroid era. After the fallout of this scandal, Major League Baseball’s reputation has suffered as stakeholders have increasingly lost faith in the organization’s ability to function ethically. This case study focuses on Manfred’s newly appointed Chief Communications Officer, Bhavna Krishnamurthy, who is tasked with repairing the organization’s reputation. The case presents a real-life incident as a backdrop to discuss crisis communication, particularly from a North American professional sport organization perspective.