By Elly Spencer
Baylor marketing students will directly impact communications strategies for major network FOX Sports University this week, after partnering with the FOX Sports University program for a second year.
This semester’s winning marketing team will be announced after presentations at 5 p.m. Thursday.
Kirk Wakefield, executive director of the center for sports sponsorship and sales, and his students partnered with FOX Sports this semester to create a new communications strategy to increase awareness of the various Fox networks.
“Specifically, our goal is to develop a communication strategy that will draw more viewers to Fox Sports 1,” Wakefield said.
The FOX Sports University program was put into place six years ago with two institutions, the University of Florida and the University of Southern California, to give students real-world experience to lessen the gap between education and career.
“It’s a way for us to get involved with the schools that we cover,” FOX public relations director Ramon Alvarez said.
Now the program involves 27 universities nationwide.
The program institutes a competitive atmosphere in universities by proposing themes and goals to students and allowing their teams to compete for the chosen implemented strategy, according to their website.
“It provides students with what they’re going to face,” Alvarez said. “We’re proud of winning teams, but some of the projects that other teams have presented have had parts incorporated into our work as well.”
Following the program’s outline, Wakefield’s two classes split into two competing teams, with two communications plans. The two competing teams will make their final presentations to FOX Sports executives from the network’s Los Angeles corporate office.
“Fox Sports will implement the best elements of the winning campaign, as well as good ideas from the other student campaigns,” Wakefield said. “So not just the winners, but other students could see some of their ideas come to life on the Fox Sports network of channels.”
Members of the top three teams will also receive incentive in the form of special guest invites of Fox Sports Southwest at Mavericks, Stars and Rangers games.
This is the second year Baylor and FOX Sports University have partnered to give students working experience for the network.
Last semester, students came together in a competition to create a commercial to promote Texas high school sports on the network. The winning commercial was aired this summer and is still being aired on FOX Sports Southwest.
“It was probably the most extensive and in depth project I have ever done in school since the final presentation was to real members of FSSW’s board,” O’Fallon, Ill., senior Dan Knight said.
The intended purpose of the program held true with last semester’s winning team, in line with giving them experience in the field, Alvarez said.
“Fox Sports Southwest kept us in the loop with what they were doing via conference calls, emails and meetings which we were responsible for attending and being a part of which also gave us a lot of real-world business experience,” Knight said.
Alvarez said FOX Sports has even hired some of the competitors from schools across the nation for full-time jobs after their graduation.
While the pride and gratification the students get from having full implementation of their ideas, the overall prize for students is the knowledge they receive, Wakefield said.
“The competitive nature of the project also helps students understand that business is competitive—not everyone gets the blue ribbon or a trophy,” Wakefield said.