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L-r: Eric Machens (WIU student), Billy Friess (Brewers manager of season ticket sales), Chad Olson (Brewers manager of ticket phone center), Jim Bathey (Brewers asst VP of ticket sales), John Drea (WIU marketing professor and chair), David Lueck (WIU student) and Franz Josef Kampa (WIU student).
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WIU MBA Students Go to Bat for the Brewers

March 22, 2006

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MACOMB, IL – There’s more to the game of baseball than just the hitting and fielding the ball.

Fourteen Western Illinois University graduate students recently got a glimpse of just what it takes to market a major league baseball team when the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club gave the students the opportunity to perform a marketing analysis to predict and analyze the success of past and upcoming ticket sales and promotions.

John Drea, marketing professor and department chair, along with three students, traveled to Miller Park in December to present their findings to BrewersÂ’ front office personnel. Presenters included Franz Josef Kampa (Germany), Eric Machens (Peoria, IL) and David Lueck (Macomb, IL). After the presentation, the group was given a personal tour of Miller Park.

“The most exciting part outside of the presentation was seeing the ballpark and its facilities,” said Kampa. Originally from Germany, Kampa knew very little about American baseball before the project. “I’ve studied at a German university for three and a half years and I’ve never had an opportunity like this.”

“Western’s marketing and finance department has a history of providing unique learning experiences for its students,” said Drea. “We’ve made a commitment to providing more hands-on learning. During the past year, our students have worked on class projects in areas like health care, banking, sports marketing, publishing, real estate and transportation. This type of learning really pulls together and reinforces what we do in the classroom.”

The BrewersÂ’ project provided practical information to the teamÂ’s marketing executives, including developing a system to predict walk-up ticket sales, evaluating the effectiveness of a recent promotion, the effect of a ticket price increase in ticket revenue and an analysis of early season attendance.

“I think the projects were exciting for the students. It’s a fun way to apply the material covered in class,” Drea said. “Jim Bathey (senior director for ticket sales) and Billy Friess (manager of season ticket sales) of the Brewers were terrific to work with. We hope to work with them again in the future.”

BrewersÂ’ ticket sales executives added they were pleased with the studentsÂ’ work.

“We were presented with many beneficial ways to judge walk up ticket sales on a game by game basis,” said Friess. “Each of the presentations were very detailed and well thought out. We appreciate the hard work they put into their projects.”

Other graduate students participating in the project were: Caryn Morgan, Nikki Sera, Ming-Che Lin, Jan Junker, Nick Kryda, Bojan Medanovic, Kort McCulley, Ben Geringer, Angie Fransk, Jason Orris and Keith Hill.

"Working with a professional sports team is a rare opportunity that few graduate students are able to experience,” Lueck added. “Because of this experience, I have a much better understanding of the level of administrative support that goes on behind the scenes of a major sports team.”

Posted By: Darcie Shinberger (
Office of University Communications & Marketing