SFA students Erica Wiggins, Taylor DuRee, Gabrielle Jones and Marcus Brown at Fenway Park.

From left: During the Sport Marketing Association conference in Boston, Stephen F. Austin State University students Erica Wiggins, Taylor DuRee, Gabrielle Jones and Marcus Brown had the opportunity to visit local attractions, as well as attend a social at Fenway Park.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Stephen F. Austin State University students in the Rusche College of Business traveled to Boston to participate in the Sport Marketing Association conference.

During the conference, students competed in the Aspire Group Case Study Bowl where they were assigned a real-world client and tasked with solving the client’s marketing problem. This year’s client was a Division I basketball program in Boston, and students needed to address the program’s low attendance, low return of first-time attendees and poor fan experience at games. SFA competed against various universities from across the nation.

Dr. Jason Reese, sports business program director and assistant professor at SFA, led the trip and explained many of the SFA students who attended were members of the Sports Business Society.

“This was the first case-study competition students in the Sports Business Society, or any sports business student for that matter, have competed in,” Reese said. “They learned how to take a problem facing the industry and find realistic, innovative and effective solutions.”

To kick off the competition, students created a “war room” the day before the project was due to brainstorm and strategize. They submitted their project and presented solutions to a panel of judges who are professionals in the field.

Along with competing, students attended workshops and research presentations, as well as visited local attractions, including a social at Fenway Park. Students also received tickets to a Boston Celtics game and to the Harvard University versus Yale University men’s hockey game.

“As the leading association for sport marketers, the Sport Marketing Association is dedicated to developing mutually beneficial relationships between professionals, academicians and students around the world through the creation, distribution and implementation of sport marketing knowledge via networking, scholarly activities and career opportunities,” according to sportmarketingassociation.org.