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Columbus Crew SC hosts second annual Ohio University Night on Sunday, Sept. 25

Monday, September 12 2016 12:00am

Ohio University students receive discounted game tickets to a Columbus Crew SC match at MAPFRE Stadium

By Marshall Payne

In Ohio University’s MBA/MSA dual-degree program, students gain real-world experience to prepare for careers in professional sports, including the two-year partnership with Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew SC. Jim Kahler, executive director of the AECOM Center for Sports Administration, initiated the partnership in 2015 by reaching out to Columbus Crew SC’s marketing team.

Through this partnership, College of Business students gain practical experience by marketing a professional soccer team, and Columbus Crew SC gets to work with a dedicated team of Business Bobcats. Together, they are increasing the team’s brand awareness in an area of Ohio where professional soccer isn’t as popular as other sports; a true win-win situation for both.

“We are really looking forward to seeing the continued growth of this partnership. As it expands, it also provides more of a challenge: more people, more events,” said Harrison McIntire, MBA/MSA '17. “This requires a higher level of organizational and leadership skills. It is a great way to gain practical experience.”

The student team is comprised of four MBA/MSA dual-degree students and six College of Business undergraduate students. To build brand recognition in Athens, OH, the team promotes Columbus Crew SC at local events, gives away promotional items, and helps spread the word about Ohio’s only professional soccer team. The biggest initiative for the year is called Ohio University Night, where OHIO students receive discounted game tickets to a Columbus Crew SC match at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, OH. This year’s game is on Sunday, Sept. 25 against the New England Revolution. Students can purchase discounted tickets on the Columbus Crew SC website.

McIntire and Francesco Marini, MBA/MSA ’17, were involved with the partnership last year and are leading the efforts this year. McIntire and Marini both aspire to work in professional soccer after graduation, and both acknowledge the valuable experience that this partnership creates. But like any new program, there were initial challenges.  

“The two main challenges I saw in the first year of the partnership were transportation to Ohio University Night in Columbus, OH, and finding local events in Athens, OH where it was appropriate to promote the team,” said Marini. 

This year, there will be bus transportation to and from Columbus, OH for Ohio University Night, which will help with logistics and allow more students to attend the game. Additionally, the knowledge they gained from promoting the team at local events last year will help the student team choose relevant events to maximize their marketing efforts.

The MBA/MSA dual-degree program and the AECOM Center for Sports Administration prepares students for successful careers in the sports industry. In addition to receiving the technical and theoretical knowledge of the industry, students are exposed to real-world experiences that can’t be duplicated in a classroom.

For more information about Ohio University Night, visit business.ohio.edu/ohio-university-night or download the event flyer