The Charger Blog

Chargers Finish in Top Three Teams Nationwide in Immersive Competition

A group of sport management students participated in the National Sports Forum Case Cup this semester, competing against schools across the country and capturing third place.

December 5, 2023

By Sam Kaplan ’24, Megan Sullivan ’24, and Nicholas O’Brien ’24

Left to right: Thomas Van Patten ’24, Nicholas O’Brien ’24, Sam Kaplan ’24, and Megan Sullivan ’24.
Left to right: Thomas Van Patten ’24, Nicholas O’Brien ’24, Sam Kaplan ’24, and Megan Sullivan ’24.

The National Sports Forum Case Cup Competition was an exciting opportunity for a team of Chargers to build their confidence and apply what they’ve learned in the classroom. Under the mentorship of Ceyda Mumcu, Ph.D., chair of the University’s Sport Management Department, students collaborated and built valuable skills such as public speaking and their confidence.

Below, three Chargers reflect on the experience.

Sam Kaplan ’24

This semester, I had the opportunity to participate in the inaugural National Sports Forum Undergraduate Case Cup Competition with a team of fellow University of New Haven students. We tackled a thrilling case study for Angel City Football Club. My teammates in this amazing competition were Megan Sullivan ’24, Nicholas O'Brien ’24, and Thomas Van Patten ’24. They were awesome teammates, as we put in incredibly long hours of hard work throughout this competition and succeeded through it all.

We also show what the students and faculty representing the University of New Haven’s Sport Management Department are capable of. With this competition, it wasn’t as simple as Google searches to help solve the case study. It took lots of time and hard work, and we as a group took the initiative to be able to be in constant communication and work together to complete this in exactly one week. We had to truly think outside of the box in generating unique and creative ideas for our marketing plan that we felt would benefit Angel City Football Club in their efforts to gain more audience engagement and attention.

"I am incredibly lucky to have been able to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime unique opportunity..."Sam Kaplan ’24

We finished as finalists in the competition, and we couldn’t have done it without Dr. Mumcu. She first and foremost came to all of us with this exciting opportunity. With us being the first undergraduate students at the University to compete in this competition, it was difficult for us to know what was to come. Still, Dr. Mumcu made it so that we were fully prepared for any case that was to come at us by having us meet once a week and discussing hot and trending topics in the sports business industry.

We also looked at presentations that occurred in the graduate version of this competition and saw what their slide structure looked like and how they could tell a story with their presentation. Dr. Mumcu’s mentorship and unwavering support were invaluable, and we couldn’t have been more lucky to have her guide us to success in this competition.

Personally, I am incredibly lucky to have been able to be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime unique opportunity. When Dr. Mumcu emailed me during the summer about this competition, I really wasn’t sure what to expect when saying, “Yes.” But, when we met weekly as a group, prior to the competition, I became more and more confident in myself, my teammates, and in what we were capable of achieving for this competition – and how this sort of thing was going to help us in the long run.

With the conclusion of this competition, I now know what quality of work is needed in this industry at the professional level. It has, by far, been the most valuable experience I have been involved in throughout my college career. Most importantly, I am now eager to SAY YES to new challenges in the future.

Megan Sullivan ’24

The National Sports Forum Challenge Cup Competition is an international competition among teams of students from universities, focusing on the sport industry and highlighting the direct impact of marketing, sales, sponsorships, and diversity within the industry. This year’s Cup Case was to develop a marketing campaign for Angel City FC, including identifying and sourcing influencers who can drive consumers to their brand by creating a promotional event that prominently focused on developing a team jersey sales campaign.

For the competition there was an initial presentation by each team to a group of judges, with significant related industry experience. From there, the top three teams were selected to proceed to the finals. In our team’s initial round, we had 15 minutes to present our campaign to the judges, followed immediately by five minutes of questions from the judges that the team responded to.

The following day, we were fortunate enough, with all of our hard work, to continue to the final round of the competition. We had just five days to make any adjustments, based on the feedback from the judges. As we prepared for the finals the committee presented a new challenge by making a change in certain facts in the campaign deliverables. Our team ultimately placed 3rd out of nine schools that competed in this competition, an accomplishment we will never forget.

"This competition was one of the best experiences that I’ve been a part of during my studies here at the University..."Megan Sullivan ’24

Personally, this competition was one of the best experiences that I’ve been a part of during my studies here at the University. Dr. Mumcu reached out to our team members in the beginning of the semester, asking us if we wanted to compete. At first, it was a little intimidating to do it because it was the first Case Cup for the National Sports Forum for undergraduates, coupled with not knowing what the case study was going to be on until the competition started.

My teammates Sam Kaplan ’24, Thomas Van Patten ’24, and Nicholas O’Brien ’24 and I were required to work together as a team during this competition, over the course of just one week. We worked diligently, spending long hours together, to brainstorm, develop, prepare, and practice our deliverables and presentations to the selection committee and representatives from Angel City FC.

Reflecting on this experience, I am so proud of our efforts, and I am glad I had the opportunity to be part of this amazing team that really provided a unique and insightful experience for our future in the sport industry.

Nicholas O’Brien ’24

When Dr. Mumcu first reached out to me about participating in the National Sports Forum Case Cup on behalf of the University, I was taken by surprise. I was nervous, yet proud that I was considered to be a part of the team. I was nervous, but I’m glad I decided to say yes.

The National Sports Forum Case Cup gave me the opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone and to challenge myself and my team. Given that the actual competition was only about a week long, Dr. Mumcu made sure that we all got the gears turning in our heads as we came off summer break. The team met with Dr. Mumcu one day a week, every week, until the competition began. Since we did not know the case study until the week of, we had to prepare for anything and everything.

"The National Sports Forum Case Cup gave me the opportunity to push myself out of my comfort zone and to challenge myself and my team."Nicholas O’Brien ’24

The actual case dealt with Angel City FC and tasked us with creating a new marketing campaign centered around an influencer of our choice. I was extremely anxious going into this, but the amount of preparation that the team went through with Dr. Mumcu allowed me to slow things down and take it step by step. Once our team got going, there was no stopping us.

I’m not a big fan of giving presentations, and I feared I would mess up in front of various judges who work within the sports industry, especially while representing the university. You could imagine the number of butterflies in my stomach. I was honored and ecstatic when we made it past the preliminary round and became a finalist, although this meant another crammed weekend to prepare our final presentation.

Unfortunately, we did not win the competition, but we did place 3rd overall, which was an incredible feat. I am so proud of the work my team put in throughout this entire competition, and I could not thank Dr. Mumcu enough for reaching out and allowing me to make an everlasting memory at the University of New Haven.

Sam Kaplan ’24, Megan Sullivan ’24, and Nicholas O’Brien ’24 are sport management majors at the University of New Haven.