The Outcome: Haas took first place in the finals Feb. 14 at the NFL offices in Culver City, Calif, in front of a panel of NFL and university judges. Each member of the winning team received an Xbox One console and a copy of Madden 25.
The Teams: The winning Haas team consisted of Brandon Doll, Steffanie Johnson-Magnus and Natalie Rudd, all MBA 14. A second Haas team that competed in the the finals was composed of Lindsey Schatzberg, Robert Shaye, Sarah Walker, and Vishal Shah, all MBA 14.
The Field: Nineteen teams from Berkeley-Haas, USC Marshall, UCLA, and San Diego State University entered the competition. Fourteen Haas teams applied to be in the finals, winnowed down to the two teams that competed. The two Berkeley MBA teams competed against one finalist from USC, one from SDSU, and two from UCLA.
The Challenge: Students were asked to recommend a new program or product that would drive growth for NFL Media. The winning Haas team proposed a behind-the-scenes documentary called The Grind: Road to the International Series, to be produced by NFL Films and broadcast in the UK, which has hosted the American football games since 2007. The documentary would feature teams, fans, families and others involved on the road to London’s 2014 International Series Kickoff game: Raiders vs. Dolphins. The documentary promised “a unique storytelling experience by taking viewers deeper into the worlds of the two teams and their fans as they prepare to meet on the field in London,” according to Rudd.
What made them winners: During Q&A feedback, George Scott, general manager of NFL Club Sites for the Media Group, said: “Halfway through your presentation, I’m hitting myself in the head, thinking, ‘How are we not doing this already? We need to do this!”
In announcing the winning team, Tom Brady, VP of content for the NFL Media Group, said: “If you’re selling something, you have to tell a story. And when it came down to it, one group told their story just a little bit better.”
Johnson-Magnus added, “We faced an outstanding group of teams. I think what ultimately set us apart from the competition was that we not only had a great story, but we also had a great plan for taking it from concept to consumption through the intended distribution channels, the promotional strategy, and expected revenue streams.”
The H Factor: Johnson-Magnus says the team drew from two Haas courses in particular: Core Strategy with Assistant Professor Ned Augenblick and Brand Strategy Boot Camp with Lecturer Bill Pearce, former chief marketing officer of Del Monte.
Gratitude: “We’d definitely like to thank Keith Smith aka Crusader Raider, of London, England, for sharing his 30-year journey of being Raider fan in the UK with us, especially while recovering from knee surgery in the hospital,” Rudd says. “We’d also like to thank Eyal Gutentag, BS 97, a Haas alum and NFL’s VP of business intelligence and user acquisition, for inviting us to this competition and flying all the way to Berkeley to kick off the competition in person.“