Primary File

The Big Ten Heads East

Michael A. McCollough, John J. Lawrence
January 1, 2015
North America
Strategy & General Management, Marketing & Sales
20 pages
Cooperative Alliance, Branding, Segmentation Strategies, Segmentation, marketing
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.72)
Average rating: 

This case focuses on the Big Ten athletic conference’s fall 2012 decision to add Rutgers and the University of Maryland to the conference. When the expansion was announced, it was largely panned by sportswriters, fans, and pundits. The case describes the recent history of the conference, the decision and motivations to add Rutgers and Maryland, and the reactions to the move. The case also describes the Big Ten’s TV deals with major networks and through its Big Ten Network, and the possible financial implications that the two new schools could provide. The case concludes by asking students whether the Big Ten should move quickly toward a 16 team super-conference structure that many believe is likely in the near future. This combination descriptive/decision case provides an excellent opportunity to discuss cooperative strategies, branding, and market segmentation issues in a nontraditional and fun context to which many undergraduate students will readily relate.

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. Identify where the value lies in a cooperative alliance.
  2. Determine the value of market expansion strategies using segmentation concepts.
  3. Explain branding (and rebranding) challenges unique to joint ventures, including potential conflicts between individual member brands and the overarching joint venture brand and maintenance of the joint venture brand as the joint venture expands in scope or members.
  4. Determine appropriate criteria to strategically select partners for a joint venture.