Matchups Matter

By Phil McCarn, Director, Property Consulting, Career Sports Entertainment

The 2011 Final Four matchup was something out of a Hollywood storyline, a perfectly balanced David- and Goliath-type showdown. While UConn defeated Butler to win the tournament, giving people across the country a chance to take home their winnings from their office pools, the real winners were the fans.

Whether they tuned in to cheer on their favorite school or to potentially watch history in the making, the drama was palpable.

While bracket events like the Final Four don’t allow property owners the ability to guarantee a Cinderella story like this one, there are times when you can in fact be strategic in selecting matchups.

Properties such as pre-season college basketball events, Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) Classic football games and others have the advantage to pre-select the teams, guaranteeing a matchup fans want.

For the Nation’s Classic, an HBCU football game designed and negotiated by Career Sports Entertainment (CSE) in conjunction with the Washington Convention and Sports Authority (WCSA), we used our analytics to determine the teams fans would be most compelled to come out and see.

Howard University and Morehouse College were ultimately selected based on research that showed fans wanted to reignite this longstanding historic collegiate rivalry.

Once announced, the response was overwhelming.

These types of fan-anticipated events benefit not only the teams but their sponsors, vendors and host city, in this case Washington, D.C.

Elements we consider when assisting clients in the selection of teams for these types of properties include:

1.     Understanding the intent of the event.

2.     Creating selection criteria to ensure the teams align with the event’s positioning and what they stand for.

3.     Fully examining and understanding the economics involved.

4.     Researching the marketplace demand for the matchup recommended.

While the final act won’t play out until the selected teams take the field, having a strategic and thoughtful approach will ensure the success of your event.

About Career Sports Entertainment:
With a list of clients ranging from Aflac and the state of Arkansas to the Outdoor Channel, Versus and Town House, Career Sports Entertainment provides a range of services including helping sponsoring brands navigate, activate and measure their sponsorship investment; production; and individual sports client representation. More info: