Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

The Utah Summer Games Marketing Research Project

Academic journal article Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies

The Utah Summer Games Marketing Research Project

Article excerpt

CASE DESCRIPTION

The primary subject matter of this case concerns the development, implementation, and analysis of a real market research project. Secondary issues examined include the link between research objectives and questionnaire development, sampling and non-sampling error, and practical problems and issues that affect marketing research projects. The case has a difficulty level of four. The case is designed to be taught in one to two class hours, and is expected to require 2 to 3 hours of outside preparation by students.

CASE SYNOPSIS

In 2004 the new director of the Utah Summer Games, an athletic event modeled after the Olympics that draws almost 7500 athletes, is concerned about the lack of any data other than anecdotes and annual registrations. No one was sure how satisfied athletes and their families are with the athletic events, the opening and closing ceremonies, and the products, services and environment of Cedar City. They also do not know how people learn about the events. The case depicts the planning, implementation, and some results of a marketing research project developed to measure satisfaction levels regarding the community and the opening ceremonies, and to assess what other activities participants do in conjunction with the games. Manageable in scope, the case illustrates marketing research steps, has some shortcomings for students to identify, and has enough results to permit them to reach some tentative conclusions. The case is simple enough to be used in a marketing principles course. Its value is probably greatest in a marketing research course, where it can also be used as an illustrative project in the beginning, and referred to throughout the course as sampling and non-sampling error, questionnaire development, and data analysis topics arise. It could also be used as a model for semester-long student projects.

INTRODUCTION

Every year thousands of people participate in athletic events sponsored by members of the National Congress of State Games. Forty states conduct summer games, and 14 conduct winter games. Started in 1978 in New York, more than 90 sporting events, ranging from basketball to arm wrestling to bass fishing, are offered across the country during the summer games, which are modeled after the Olympics.

In Utah, the Utah Summer Games (USG) were started in 1986 by Gerald Sherratt, then president of Southern Utah University (SUU) in Cedar City. Sherratt's belief was that if young athletes and their parents visited the campus and the surrounding area they would be more inclined to consider attending the university. The USG office is maintained on SUU's campus, and the university supports the games financially. The office has a small staff, which is supplemented by roughly 1000 volunteers.

In January of 2004 Kyle Case, a recent MBA graduate, was hired as the director of the Utah Summer Games. He has a strong interest in athletics, and has also participated as an athlete in the USG. Case has a strong interest in seeing the summer games expand and develop.

The total budget for the Utah Summer Games is roughly $375,000. Approximately $165,000 comes from athlete registration fees, and sponsorships account for another $135,000. The rest comes from city, county and state contributions. In addition to donating office space and most utilities, Southern Utah University allows the summer games to use their facilities for free. The total value of SUU's contribution is roughly equivalent to $25,000.

THE 2004 GAMES

For the 2004 USG there were 44 different competitive events. Soccer, as usual, was expected to be the most popular by far, with roughly 2600 participants. Basketball, the second most popular event, was expected to have around 400 to 500 participants. In total almost 7500 athletes were expected to participate. An abbreviated event schedule is provided in Table 1. Most events were to be held in the Cedar City area, but a few were to be held elsewhere. …

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