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Sports organizations often seek to manage their brand and improve brand equity. Within the ever-growing business of college sports, collegiate athletics programs often focus on strategic branding and marketing initiatives for the goal of improved brand awareness and brand associations for a stronger brand equity. The purpose of this case study was to investigate one university's strategic marketing efforts to enhance its brand via a 10-year marketing campaign. This study assessed Syracuse University and the strategic management of the "New York's College Team" branding campaign. Primary and secondary data sources were utilized to ascertain main foci of the branding campaign, execution of the branding initiatives, and positive and negative results of the efforts. Specifically, an interview with an athletic department marketing staff member, a content analysis of Syracuse newspaper articles (N = 132) during the period, and a review of university related documents, websites, and social media, revealed that successful execution of the strategic marketing plan occurred in three areas: (1) trademarking, (2) consistent online marketing and messaging, and (3) market penetration into the New York City market via advertising, strategic partnerships, and game promotion/hosting sporting events. Application of the resulting thematic findings will be discussed.


First published in Journal of Contemporary Athletics: Collegiate Branding Special Issue, 13(2), 103-122. 2019.

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