By Emma Alley — The Kansas City Chiefs are expanding their kingdom, with the help of a partnership with DraftKings and William Jewell students. DraftKings, a fantasy football league that is played online, is able to use this partnership to increase awareness for their brand. This is a golden opportunity for the company, which has been operating for 18 months, to get more people invested in the game. Even more so, it is an opportunity for students at William Jewell who interested in getting first hand experience with sports business and marketing.
Establishing an activation team with Jewell students required navigating some potential hurdles. The first step in securing the partnership with was to make sure that it would be a positive one for William Jewell. Shelly McVay, a professor and key advisor to the project for Jewell and the students, said that one of the biggest issues they had to consider was the reputation that could come from working alongside DraftKings. “We had to make sure it wasn’t gambling,” said McVay. Instead these online fantasy football leagues are considered “a game of skill”, an important distinction that has allowed the project to gain approval for a partnership with William Jewell students and faculty.
Another issue considered was whether or not the project was appropriate for student-athletes. After consultation with NCAA officials it was decided that it would be best if Cardinal athletes refrained from participating. With student athletes unable to take part, the originally large group of interested students was narrowed down to nine. These remaining students make up the activation teams and travel to venues around the Kansas City area to attend away-game tailgates.
At these tailgating events, which help to drum up spirit and interest for the team when they are playing away from the city, the students are gaining experience in true guerilla marketing. They typically work in teams of three or four, giving away promotional activation cards that allow people to try out the online fantasy football league for free. Participants are also entered in drawings for promotional prizes, further developing loyalty and interest in the Chiefs.
Students in this program are gaining valuable, first hand experience in sports business and marketing. This pilot program is still in its early stages, and Jewell students are the only college students participating at this point. The currently participating students will continue to work through December 20, with a possibility that this partnership project will be available in future seasons.