The checkered flag has been waved, and there’s a declared winner in NASCAR’s 12-school collegiate sports-marketing competition:
The University of Miami, which only began taking part in the national contest this semester.
“The whole time, we felt very confident,” said the leader of UM’s five-student team, Justin Leiser (photo above), a School of Communication senior majoring in media management. “But we didn’t expect anything; we knew the competition was close.”
Students at the dozen participating schools — which also included the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida — worked through case studies and organized a promotional NASCAR viewing party. All of those activities factored in the final ranking.
Also on the UM team were Alex Bryant, Ethan Alpern, Luke Schutt and Matt Small.
Those taking part in the contest, which resembles an internship, tend to be majoring in sports administration or similar fields.
UM’s winning team, like those in previous years, receives a free VIP trip to a NASCAR event. The five UM students will next month travel to Charlotte, N.C. for an all-star race. They’ll participate in behind-the-scenes tours and also network with NASCAR marketing reps.
“We’re all kind of celebrating and talking about the trip,” Leiser said.
Finishing second behind UM was Oklahoma State University. The third-place finisher was Coastal Carolina University.
In an e-mailed statement, NASCAR Account Executive for Consumer Marketing Sarah Werden said the UM team had positioned itself as a “strong contender” from the very start.
“Their case study submissions were incredible and they hosted an outstanding viewing party,” Werden said.
~ By Michael R. Vasquez
The Miami Herald
Editor's Note: This story ran in The Herald's April 23 edition: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/04/22/2181087/um-declared-winner-in-national.html