Published on December 1, 2021 by Morgan Black
Samford University student-athlete Peter Renkoski, an economics major with concentrations in sports marketing and data analytics, has been selected to present his senior sports marketing thesis at the 2022 National Council on Undergraduate Research. The event, to be held virtually in April 2022, is the premiere conference dedicated to the celebration and promotion of undergraduate research and student achievement.
His thesis, “The Effect of Fantasy Baseball on Sponsorship Effectiveness” focuses on the success of sponsorship-linked marketing in fantasy sports. Specifically, his research seeks to determine if fantasy sport participation influences the participants’ awareness and purchase intent of sponsored brands of the players on his/her fantasy team. Sponsorship-linked marketing has been one of the fastest growing marketing channels over the past decade with U.S. based companies spending over $17 billion a year in 2020 alone. It’s also one of the most important revenue streams for sports teams and leagues. For example, Major League Baseball will generate over $1 billion in revenue from sponsorships in 2021.
Renkoski’s research is one of the first studies to look at how fantasy sports influence these important partnerships between brands, players and teams.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an explosion of people participating in fantasy sports. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates that there are now over 60 million people playing fantasy sports in North America. Its particularly popular amongst Generation Z and millennials with over 23% of them engaged in fantasy sports,” Renkoski said. “Companies like Nike, Coca-Cola and Adidas spend hundreds of millions to sponsor athletes every year and they want to know if these relationships produce positive ROI results with fantasy fans in the same way they do with regular fans.”
Professor of Marketing Darin White, executive director of Samford’s Center for Sports Analytics and Renkoski’s thesis chair said, “Peter’s research is an important contribution in our growing understanding of how sponsorship-linked marketing can be effectively leveraged to assist brands in achieving their marketing ROI goals.”
The Council on Undergraduate Research is an organization of members from around the world who focus on providing high-quality and collaborative undergraduate research, scholarly, and creative activity opportunities for faculty and students. The conference will provide examples of research and scholarship and will also offer student career readiness development exercises. During the event, Renkoski, a member of Samford’s football team, will have the opportunity to present his thesis alongside research from students at schools such as the University of Notre Dame and the University of California, Berkeley.
Renkoski said, "I am so thankful for this exciting opportunity to present my study on a national stage. Being a sports fan and fantasy sport participant for many years, it has been fascinating to study these behaviors. I would like to give thanks to Dr. White for all his guidance throughout this process."
Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.