Lessons in Global Sports Marketing

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Recently SMBA ’15 was fortunate to have Ben Philyaw, president of Lightmaker USA, come to our class and share his knowledge of the global sports marketing industry. Lightmaker helps its clients –  which include the USGA, the ATP and world-class athletes, such as Maria Sharapova – market events and athletes. Much of the company’s work has a focus on digital and social media platforms.

In preparation for Ben’s visit, several groups within the cohort used their creative minds and presented suggestions for the ATP Tour Fan Engagement and and Gamification Platform.

It was great to hear so many different ideas and suggestions about enhancing and improving the ATP’s mobile and social media platforms. Students came up with potential sponsorship partners as well as strategies and possibilities that existing sponsorship partners could use to improve their image on social media platforms.

Ben gave us valuable feedback on our pitches. Some students are still in touch with him and currently working on a project, which mainly consists of creating an educational app that focuses on making tennis more attractive for the general public and helps people better understand the rules and techniques necessary to play the game.

Since Lightmaker is currently assisting ATP in building its next generation of digital media products, including the implementation of its Fan Engagement & Gamification strategy, this exercise was extremely valuable for all us. We had to think outside the box and come up with original and creative solutions that Lightmaker could implement.

Experiences like this are what make this program unique. The presentations to Ben and our discussion afterward showed how the class takes advantages of challenges presented to us. The variety of experiences and guest speakers is incredibly useful for the class and helps expose us to a variety of potential career paths.