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Sport & entertainment management students win national competition

USF Sport & Entertainment Management students win National Sports Forum Case Cup Competition

Luke Mohamed, Philicia Douglas, Brielle Buckler and Brendan Reilly Luke Mohamed, Philicia Douglas, Brielle Buckler and Brendan Reilly

Students in USF's Sport & Entertainment Management program won a national case competition this month, impressing judges with their plan to woo millennials to racing events -- at the USF program's first appearance in a national competition.

Four second year sport & entertainment students -- Luke Mohamed, Philicia Douglas, Brielle Buckler and Brendan Reilly -- represented USF against eight other universities at the National Sports Forum Case Cup Competition in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Feb. 6-9.

The students received their case Saturday morning and presented their solutions 24 hours later. The challenge presented: to create a marketing strategy aimed at increasing ticket sales, revenue, fan engagement, and media ratings for Kentucky Speedway.

"They presented us with a lot of problems," Reilly said. "Rather than presenting fragmented answers to several questions, we figured we'd answer the core questions as well as we possibly could."

The students pulled from online research, classroom lessons, and their residency experiences at companies throughout the Tampa Bay area to bolster their presentation. According to Reilly, the strategy had to target three specific audiences, one specifically being millennials. Their innovative approach was to split millennials into three individual target audiences: college students, single millennials, and millennials that regularly attend festivals. They recommended that Kentucky Speedway pair its NASCAR race with an electronic dance music festival to pull in a new audience.

"The judges said our victory was a result of our presentation skills and in-depth analysis, two components that our program at USF has emphasized," Mohamed said.

The University of South Florida faced Temple University and George Washington University's sport management programs in the first round before defeating University of Oregon's Warsaw Sport Marketing Center and the University of South Carolina in the finals to win the cup.

"For the four of us, this was about putting our program in the spotlight," Douglas said.

"Winning was truly a win for our entire program," Mohamed said. "My classmates and I are working endlessly to put our young program on the map. Bringing the championship home to USF was a reflection of our entire program's efforts."

"I am very proud of all of our students," said Bill Sutton, founding director of the USF Sport & Entertainment Management program. "The performance of our team demonstrates that the program we are building at USF, along with our lead partner the Tampa Bay Lightning, is progressing well and positioning us as one of the elite graduate programs in the country."

Made possible by a partnership with the Tampa Bay Lightning, the University of South Florida dual-degree program in Sport and Entertainment Management emphasizes the business fundamentals of sport: management, marketing, finance, analytics, creativity, and innovation. Collaborating with more than 15 sport and entertainment industry partners, the residency program provides graduate students real-world work experience. Learn more at