Wilfrid Laurier University is a public University located in Waterloo, Ontario. The University offers a full range of undergraduate and graduate programs in a variety of fields, with more than 17,000 full-time undergraduate students.
The school’s Varsity athletic program competes under the name, Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks. The Golden Hawks football program has regularly been one of the best in the conference, winning Vanier Cups in 1991 and 2005. Since 2003, the Golden Hawks have not finished lower than 4th (of 10) in their conference, making them a perennial contender to represent the OUA in the National playoffs.
Like many Canadian University athletic programs, the Golden Hawks were faced with the challenge of finding new ways to generate revenue from their programs. With students already contributing to Athletics & Recreation through student fees, as well as receiving free tickets, the Golden Hawks needed to identify new strategies of attracting paying customers from the Waterloo community. They recognized that their Football program represented their strongest option to do so. With a 4 home game regular season, the Golden Hawks didn’t have many chances to maximize ticket revenue. However, the opportunity to create demand through scarcity was there given the limited inventory of football tickets each year.
Understanding the challenges that the Golden Hawks faced, Cosmos assembled a team of it’s experienced consultants to draw on their expertise. The solution that was identified was for Cosmos to provide a Strategic Action Plan that would lay out the strategic and tactical elements the Golden Hawks could use to reach their goals. Cosmos would subsequently provide education/training to the key members of the Golden Hawks staff who were tasked with implementing the new strategy.
Working under the economic reality of a Canadian University Athletic program, the option of building out an internal sales team was limited. Further, with only 4 home games to sell, the short season was prohibitive to hiring staff. This meant that Cosmos needed to identify the most strategic areas where the Golden Hawks could focus their ticket sales efforts. These would need to be areas where there was the greatest potential upside, that could also be implemented given the current staffing structure.
The Cosmos consulting team first focused on reviewing and understanding everything that the Golden Hawks were currently doing to generate ticket sales. This would give the team a clear picture of areas that were working already, and others that simply needed to be dropped. The Cosmos team also examined other comparable OUA/U Sports institutions to seek best practices for selling University Football in Canada. Lastly, Cosmos drew on its industry knowledge of best practices to identify where the best opportunities for the Golden Hawks were.
Upon completion of all the background research, Cosmos then developed a Golden Hawks specific Strategic Action Plan, and met with key members of the Golden Hawks staff to educate them on implementation. This plan was designed to carry a 3-5 year horizon.