Research & Publications

At the Wharton Sports Business Initiative, one of our principal goals is to lead in conducting cutting edge research which can provide practical benefit to the sports business industry globally. Wharton faculty conduct research in areas such as General Management, Marketing, Finance, Statistics, Business and Public Policy, and more. Wharton Faculty have also published articles and books which have been widely read and utilized by other academic institutions, including “The Business of Sports”, written by Prof. Scott Rosner and Prof. Ken Shropshire.

Check Out Our Latest Case Studies:

The Bafokeng: Using Sports to Develop a Nation

Prepared by Eileen Friedberg and David W. Hauck Professor Kenneth Shropshire

This case focuses on how a developing tribe in South Africa used sports and additional community-based investments to increase economic wealth that would lead to long-term financial prosperity. Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) sits on the world’s largest deposit of platinum and receives annual royalties totaling billions. They have chosen to use sports as a primary vehicle for development of their 300,000 person community. This ranges from youth sports programs to monetizing a stadium that was used during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The case puts the reader in the position of the Bafokeng King, deciding how to best implement sports programs at the recreational, school, and elite levels and monetize the sports infrastructure that was already in place. The reader is taken through the Bafokeng Sports Investment Portfolio and exposed to the benefits and detriments of using sports in community development. The reader is asked to evaluate what role sports should play in developing a community. Questions are posed to the reader on how should wealth be dispersed in developing nations? Should the Bafokeng have built the Royal Bafokeng Stadium? Was it a good investment of community resources? What are some ways to monetize the stadium? How can the Bafokeng’s investment in sports be measured and how can they evaluate progress?

The Philadelphia 76ers: Innovation at the Forefront of a Sports Business Turnaround

Akshay Khanna, Wharton MBA/College of Arts and Sciences MA, 2015, prepared a Case Study on the Philadelphia 76ers, in collaboration with Practice Associate Professor Scott Rosner

Abstract: In March 2015, the Philadelphia 76ers sat at a historic crossroads, both on the business side and the basketball side of the organization. CEO Scott O’Neil and the management team under CRO Chris Heck had led the organization’s business operations to new historic heights by focusing on innovative and creative solutions to business problems created by the team’s disappointing on-court performance. Questions are posed to the reader about the viability of many of the team’s latest business initiatives, which includes focusing on ticket pricing, sponsorship deals, and unique marketing and fan engagement platforms conducted by the team in the last three years. Will these strategies set the organization up for success as the on-court team rebuilds?

To request permission to use a case for teaching purposes, please contact the Wharton Course Materials Initiative.