A team of four Western University students came in first place at the University of Michigan’s inaugural Sporting Event Bid Competition last Friday.
UM professors created the competition to get students to think about the process and obstacles of hosting major sporting events.
During the competition, participants sent in proposals planning a hypothetical major sporting event in a city of their choice. The event would have to accommodate over 20 sports teams, thousands of athletes and hundreds of thousands of attendees. Further, teams had to create a detailed budget and administrative plan too.
Of the 12 North American schools competing, three teams contestants made it to the final round — the University of Texas at Austin, Ohio University and Western University.
Western’s team consisted of two undergraduate students, Nicole Baranowski and Aryan Eftekhari and two masters students, Swarali Patil and Kerri Bodin. Laura Misener, associate professor in Western's school of kinesiology at Western, was the team’s supervisor.
As proud Canadians, the Western team chose Toronto as the host city in their proposal.
“It wasn’t a big surprise, but we were worried that because this is a [U.S.] competition that we would have a political disadvantage,” said Baranowski. “But when they called up our names, we very happy to hear that we had won.”
For their efforts, the Western team snagged the $5,000 grand prize.
Stefan Szymanski, a University of Michigan professor of sport management, created the competition along with other UM professors from the Faculty of Sports Management who study the economic impact of sporting events.
Szymanski pointed out the academic discussions about major sporting events don't tend to support these events' economic benefits. Without discouraging the continuation of major sporting events, they look for a realistic impact assessment and find better ways to make them happen.
“All of the competing bids had a great vision for the city of their choice but what was really striking about the Ontario bid was the detail to which they’ve gone in analyzing the administrative cost and budget required to do it,” said Szymanski. “They [also] got the endorsement of city officials in Toronto which was a nice touch.”
Going forward, UM is reviewing the competition for future continuation. Szymanski said the response to the competition was positive and that they hope that this will be an ongoing event.