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Sport Management student marketing partnership overcomes pandemic challenges

West Virginia University sport management students have learned firsthand how to combine data analytics and technology within sports. The students partnered with  Athstat, an international application service, to compile data analytics and technology in the sport of rugby during the virtual marketing project.

College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences SM 387-Issues in Sport Studies and SM-167 Intro to Sport Management students met with Athstat representative and team leader Kisset Chirengende through Zoom presentations. Chirengende provided a behind the scenes look into the sports industry while introducing the class to the company’s sport-related analytics technology. He selected students to lead the project marketing team: Daniel Yoo, Jake Ours, Konnor Davis, Broc Glover and Joseph Beutel.

Sport management senior Daniel Yoo explains how the mobile application works. “Users collect real time data at the professional, collegiate, club and high school levels. Teams can grasp a better idea of how an athlete can improve their game by applying the data through collection, charts, visualizations and graphs,” he said.

As marketing interns, the students’ objective is to compile a list of clubs and teams from the professional, semi-pro and amateur levels. As the application is getting ready to launch, students had the roles of collecting contact information for teams across the globe. Their goal was to establish 2,000 minimum contacts to distribute information about the application as it prepared to launch on February 4, 2021.

As the launch date nears, students developed a plan for a possible giveaway to participating contacts to encourage more users and teams to use the new technology.

“It's been a pleasure having five WVU students intern with us at Athstat. When the pandemic hit the world, we had to pivot and that's when Athstat was born in May 2020. It's been a long road but our team, including the interns, have made the process smooth,” Chirengende said. “We launch on February 4, 2021 and we are excited to see how the market reacts to the product. We are looking forward to seeing how the interns interact with customers,” he added.

Though the pandemic has caused challenges, students have used Zoom and Google video calls to continue their work. The students shared resources such as Google sheets and Google docs technology to work simultaneously on the project.

According to Yoo, from Clarksburg, Md., the group overcame challenges in developing an effective marketing strategy to bring attention to the application. “Although we were unable to meet in person due to the pandemic, we established ideas that worked within the virtual setting instead of a physical setting. This forced us to become imaginative as we developed new ideas prior to the application launch,” he said.

“As a student, this project has given me an entry within the sports industry. This experience helped me understand what goes on behind marketing strategies in the sports industry. Since this is one of my first internships, I’ve been able to add this to my resume to highlight my real-world knowledge as I continue to strengthen my career opportunities,” Yoo said.

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