Mullin Award Honors McCormack Partnership with Octagon
November 11, 2020
In recognition of the “Octagon Bowl” experiential-learning partnership between the McCormack Department and Octagon—a linchpin of the graduate sport management curriculum—the Sport Marketing Association (SMA) has named Octagon the winner of its Mullin Award.
The award, presented in a virtual ceremony hosted by the SMA on Wednesday, November 11, 2020, is named after Bernie Mullin, a former UMass sport marketing professor. As the award description notes, "Throughout his illustrious career as a sport marketing practitioner, Dr. Bernie Mullin has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to sport marketing education and providing opportunities for the next generation of sport marketing practitioners. This award exemplifies the very spirit of Dr. Bernie Mullin by recognizing sport organizations that have also demonstrated an exemplary commitment to sport marketing education."
Associate Professor Matt Katz, who oversees the Octagon Bowl (pictured with 2019 participants), represented the McCormack Department at the award ceremony, while Octagon was represented by UMass sport management alum Christine Franklin.
Since its inception in 2007, the Octagon Bowl has remained a jewel in the department’s portfolio of experiential-learning based projects. Students work in small teams, beginning at the start of the fall semester, to respond to Octagon's "brief," and the experience culminates with presentations to Octagon executives at Octagon's headquarters in Stamford, CT, after which the executives crown the winner of the Octagon Bowl and provide valuable feedback on both substance and presentation styles.
The end result is a partnership that, in the true spirit of the Mullin award, bridges the gap between the sport industry and academia, providing McCormack students with a unique experiential learning based opportunity that also allows students to network with industry professionals.
"The Octagon Bowl provides students a chance to think about sponsorship in a whole new light," explains Katz, who teaches the grad sport marketing class for which the Octagon Bowl is the culminating project. “The challenges provided by Octagon have always been multi-dimensional and highly strategic. Most years, the deliverable includes creating comprehensive activation strategies, utilizing brand and event assets, bolstering brand-consumer relationships, and driving preference and engagement."
Over the past several years, the client projects provided by Octagon have included: Bank of America and its marathon sponsorships, Doosan and Major League Baseball, MasterCard and the Open Championship, MetRX, Amway, and Dick's Sporting Goods.