NACOGDOCHES, Texas — Students in the sports business program at Stephen F. Austin State University prevailed in an annual competition against their counterparts at Sam Houston State University to sell tickets to the annual Battle of the Piney Woods football game.
The group of students, under the guidance of Dr. Jason Reese, sports business program director and assistant professor at SFA, sold tickets by phone, online and in person for several weeks leading up to the rivalry game between the two teams on Oct. 5 at NRG Stadium in Houston.
The competition between the two groups started in 2018 as a friendly venture designed to teach marketable skills to students that will help them throughout their careers. Reese partnered with SFA Athletics, which provided the students with access to better resources and customer relationship management software.
“The competition goal is to sell the most tickets,” Reese said. “The real goal from an educational standpoint is to provide students with real world sales training. We can talk about sales methodologies and theories all day in the classroom, but students can better understand those things if they are able to actually do it.”
Students involved in the competition learned the skills necessary to conduct a sale, namely making an introduction, asking questions, presenting product solutions, overcoming a prospect’s objections and obtaining a commitment, Reese said. They will continue to hone these skills while working to sell tickets to SFA basketball, baseball and softball games throughout the year.
“Selling is a very important skill in business and something everyone should get experience in,” said Brett Holland, an SFA junior involved in the competition. “Getting real hands-on sales practice showed me that communication skills are very useful.”
The competition was an initiative of Lone Star Sports and Entertainment group, a third-party event marketing company in partnership with the Houston Texans.