“Life opens up opportunities to you, and you either take them or you stay afraid of taking them.”
Jim Carrey

Last Wednesday, myself, five other Masters in Sport Administration (MSA) students, and Dr. O’Rourke, our director of sport administration, returned from Dallas, Texas where we attended the 19th annual National Sports Forum (NSF).   We flew into Dallas Friday, February 7th, and almost immediately after we reached our hotel, we were off to our first meeting and dinner.  Little did we know, we were touring Toyota Stadium, the home of FC Dallas that night which was only one of five stadiums/arenas we toured throughout that week.

Canisius College NSF Case Cup participants and Dr. O’Rourke visiting the AT&T Stadium.

The following day, myself and three other MSA students who volunteered took part in what is called the NSF Case Cup.  The Case Cup is where ten schools have four MSA students representing their school as they compete against each other by preparing and presenting a marketing plan within 24 hours.  This year’s Case Cup was on increasing the group ticket sales and walk-up ticket sales for FC Dallas by 2,000 people per game.  After putting our heads together and creating a marketing plan in the time constraint we were given, we presented to four professionals, one of which happened to be a representative from FC Dallas.

Once we finished presenting, the waiting began to find out who made it to the finals.  Unfortunately, Canisius did not make it to the finals, but what a learning experience this Case Cup was.  Did I mention that that FC Dallas gave us a real life case study?  In the follow-up meeting, we were informed that FC Dallas will most likely piggyback off some of the ideas displayed in the Case Cup marketing plans.  So, we may not have made it to the finals, but we did learn a lot from this once in a lifetime experience.  You never know, one day we may be in the same situation as professionals.

The rest of the conference allowed students and professionals to network with each other and learn from one another.  I attended six sessions in two days where I was able to hear what professionals were and are doing to increase ticket sales, renew season and group sales, effectively brand and advertise in sport venues, execute their sponsorship ideas, and grow positive fan experience.  The opportunity to network with these professionals and learn from them was a surreal experience.

After participating in the Case Cup and attending the speaker sessions at the National Sports Forum, I could not help but think how lucky the six MSA students, including myself, are to be in a program that gave us the opportunity to attend and participate in this conference.  I recommend that every student take opportunities like the one Canisius College MSA program gave us.

Until the next opportunity that comes my way,

Calie Bloom