Marketing College Sports Teams – A Portfolio Approach

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Gary Brunswick
Brian Zinser


Sports Marketing, Higher Education Marketing, Product Portfolio, Product Management


The case involves an athletic director at a fictitious mid-sized university (Northwestern Midwest College) who is thinking about how to enhance the productivity of the investments in the various sports programs on his campus. Using concepts from marketing, this athletic director develops a series of ideas, which could be used to reshape the allocation of resources within the athletic division at his university. Faced with the need to effectively manage enrollments, endowments and the branding of their institutions, colleges and universities are looking to successful sports programs as one way to further differentiate their institution in the marketplace. For smaller and some medium-sized institutions, it is becoming increasingly difficult to field a cadre of successful sports programs which both generate both positive revenues and national exposure for the institution. As a result, some of these schools are beginning to think more critically about the portfolio of sports teams which represent the institution, in an effort to increase the efficacy of those institutional investments.


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