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Game for a Business Challenge

College Park Scholars Students Propose Marketing Campaigns for Social Broadcasting Platform

By Carly Taylor ’19

Students make their presentations to Caffeine Studios and network executives

Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

Team members from the College Park Scholars’ Business, Society and the Economy program presented their marketing campaigns to Caffeine Studios and network executives Tuesday. They are, from left: Tyra Cannady, Tyler Trout, Alexandre Taylor, Anthony Qu and Zachary Imp.

We’re scrolling instead of unfolding the paper, barking commands at speakers to play music and now, turning video games from slacker pastime to competitive sport. What better way to navigate this new marketing terrain than Generation Z?

FOX Sports University teamed up with College Park Scholars’ Business, Society and the Economy program this semester to develop marketing campaigns for a new gaming-focused joint venture from FOX Sports and social broadcast company Caffeine: Caffeine Studios. The 21 freshman and sophomore participants made their presentations to Caffeine and network executives this week.

Jeff Miller, a senior lecturer in the Department of Logistics, Business and Public Policy who taught the course with Claudia Donnelly, assistant director of Business, Society and the Economy, said the opportunity for students to have a professional experience in a quickly growing industry is unique.

“Sports are something a student body can connect with,” said Miller, an avid video gamer and baseball fan. “It’s a fun topic, and it’s really relevant right now.”

Through the Fox Sports University program, students across the country design real-world projects for its business challenges. In previous years, University of Maryland students have developed marketing strategies to promote college football and basketball programming on FOX.

In this case, FOX brought its vision for Caffeine, which aims to create a community around video games, esports and live sports events through a social platform that allows the average fan to host livestreams. Users can watch their friends announce play-by-plays over a Fox Sports soccer game or broadcast themselves playing video games.

FOX Sports University officials met with the class twice: first to present the proposal and again to provide feedback on the team projects halfway through the semester. On Tuesday evening, four teams of students proposed ideas including live gaming tournaments on campus, interactive entertainment on jumbotrons at college sports games, and social media sweepstakes to encourage excitement and use of the Caffeine platform.

While FOX Sports will ultimately choose a single winning team in hopes of bringing its ideas to life, all of the presentations were impressive and showed progress from earlier meetings, said Cati Hance, associate manager of strategic partnerships at FOX Sports University.

The students’ professionalism impressed Michael Krider, Caffeine’s head of content and community marketing.

“We came into the room thinking we are going to get some interesting ideas, but what we really got were some comprehensive strategic approaches that surprised me considering they’re freshman and sophomore students,” he said.

Students, some of whom are interested in pursuing careers in sports marketing, said this experience helped them hone skills that they’ll need later.

“Knowing how to come up with an idea, research, analyze and put it together and pitch it in an effective manner is something everyone needs to work on,” said Tyra Cannady ’21.

Maryland Today is produced by the Office of Marketing and Communications for the University of Maryland community on weekdays during the academic year, except for university holidays.