Reflection from a Sports Enthusiast

By: Shannon McCormick

I’ll never forget the feeling of presenting the integrated marketing plan my team and I had painstakingly prepared for FOX Sports University. On presentation day, my nerves were running high, but I was proud regardless. Proud of the extensive research our group conducted to ensure a successful plan. Proud of every idea we considered and developed along the way. Proud of the countless hours spent delving into our report altering, scrapping and elaborating on every detail. But mostly, I was proud that my Marquette education had prepared me for this moment and for my future.

Photo courtesy of FOX Sports University

It all started in Doc Pok’s Sports Promotion class last fall. Those who know Doc Pok, know that he loves sports, so students like me with an interest in this subject truly benefit from taking his course. Doc Pok went above and beyond early in the semester when he welcomed professionals from FOX Sports University to our classroom. They explained that we were representing Marquette in the FOX Sports University program, in which classes from academic institutions around the country collaborate with a FOX Sports Media Group to address challenges in their field.

My class’s goal was to create an integrated marketing campaign that FOX Sports and the United States Golf Association (USGA) could incorporate around the 2017 U.S. Open in Erin Hills with the goal of stimulating excitement and awareness of the U.S. Open on FOX and FS1. Each team would present their campaign to a FOX Sports University panel to conclude the semester, and the most applicable plan would be chosen as the winner. In addition to recognition and bragging rights, the winning team won the possibility of their ideas becoming implemented and incorporated into FOX Sports’ strategy leading up to the 2017 U.S. Open. Avid sports fans in the room like me were completely in awe of this amazing opportunity in front of us, and being a senior, I was eager to translate the skills I learned in the classroom into the real world.

A highlight of the semester was our trip to Erin Hills golf course, the site of the 2017 U.S. Open and the focus of our efforts. We toured the clubhouse and rode golf carts through the course to spark inspiration for our plans. As the semester continued, my team and I solidified our vision, and through an extended period of trial-and-error and late nights, our campaign was complete.

Photo courtesy of FOX Sports University

Before we knew it, we were presenting to the panel. We were grateful and relieved to hear the FOX Sports and USGA professionals liked our ideas. The rest of the afternoon was spent listening to other groups’ plans, and in that moment, I truly realized what we had accomplished that day. Even though my team did not win, we were able to collaborate on a project with tasks and deliverables for actual clients. We were able to use information we learned in the classroom and see for ourselves how we can apply our knowledge to real campaigns. It was gratifying to realize that our education at Marquette has prepared us for our future careers.

Photo courtesy of Laura White

I am grateful to Doc Pok for providing our class with an incredible opportunity to showcase our skills in a real-world setting. In addition, our campaigns would not have been as impactful without the guidance and advice from the FOX Sports and USGA professionals who helped us along the way. We appreciate the time they spent listening to our plans, the chance they gave us to showcase our skills, and showing us how to improve our campaigns. Most of all, we are excited to put what we learned to use in our entry-level roles as communication professionals.