By Abigail Loop
Four Baylor students were named winners Thursday in a Fox Sports University program competition that will utilize their marketing research and data for the network.
Nashville, Tenn., senior Tod Zhang, Austin junior Darolyn Pierce, San Antonio junior Ashley Malik and Houston junior Kyle Koch are sports, sponsorship and sales (S3) majors who won the competition.
The students competed in the competition as part of a class project for Dr. Kirk Wakefield, who teaches a consumer behavior course. Wakefield said this is the second semester Baylor’s S3 program has partnered with Fox Sports University program, a program that forms partnerships between Fox and academic institutions to address marketing, research, technology or strategy challenges that the businesses face.
Students in Wakefield’s class were split into 11 groups and had to develop a communications strategy to increase consumer awareness of the different FOX Sports networks in the marketplace.
“It makes me proud to see the kids have worked so hard,” Wakefield said. “What they learned in concept, they could use in major media companies. Each presented research and stats for Fox Sports that would bring in more fans and supplied a marketing strategy. I’m amazed at their progression.”
Wakefield said last year’s winners had their project brought to life in a commercial aired by Fox Sports Southwest. While the winning team’s presentation was described as excellent and thorough, Mary Hyink, director of marketing for Fox Sports Southwest, said it was still a difficult choice to make.
“We were very impressed. There was such a high degree of difficulty with this project and they all showed commitment,” Hyink said. “It was a difficult decision for us to make. Out of the 11 groups, there were six very strong ones.”
Marc Sommer, senior director of consumer research programming at Fox Sports, agreed with Hyink and said the presentations were phenomenal.
“Every part of every single one of them was impressive,” Sommer said. “They all had great ideas.”
Sommers told the group of students that some of them had research and prep work like they’ve been working for Fox for two or three years.
He was also stunned that they covered almost 70 percent of the goals that Fox Sports had themselves talked about.
“When we started off this program-developing marketing procedures- some of you were skeptical,” Wakefield told the group of students. “But I’m proud with the results. There are many things we liked from each time.”