UNC Students’ Research Helps U.S. Olympic Committee

Sport Marketing Research Institute logo

Research conducted by UNC doctoral students may very well have an impact on the success of some U.S. athletes during the 2010 Winter Olympics, and in future competitions.

Doctoral students in UNC’s Sport Marketing Research Institute worked on a two-year membership and marketing study commissioned by the United States Olympic Committee for U.S. National Governing Bodies that oversee 32 winter and summer amateur sports.

According to Dianna Gray, SMRI founder and director, the project’s goal was to provide the NGBs with marketing reports to help their leaders better understand and respond to the athletes, coaches and officials who participate in their respective sports.

The research also provides the USOC with demographics it can use in securing and renewing corporate sponsorships by connecting potential sponsors with the sport’s primary consumers. Sponsorships are crucial in providing funding used in Olympic hopefuls’ training and development.

The institute landed the USOC project because of the students’ previous NGB work that was spearheaded by Gray and David Stotlar, director of the School of Exercise and Science.

SMRI’s reputation for conducting quality research at reasonable prices has also piqued interest among other organizations including the Ladies Professional Golf Association, UNC Athletics, the Greeley Stampede and the 2009 Women’s Walk and Race for the Cure.

Gray said the institute started in 1995 for Sport Administration students to conduct research that benefits the sport industry, primarily in Colorado, and for students to engage in early research before their dissertation.

It’s one of the first university institutes of its kind in the United States and the only one in Colorado, she added.

For more information about UNC’s Sport Marketing Research Institute, visit its website.

- Christina Romero

UNC Represented at Winter Olympics
Stotlar and Sport Administration graduate student Lisa Elson are among those from UNC attending the games in Vancouver. Stotlar will be conducting sponsorship research and taking in a couple of events. Elson will help distribute uniforms to athletes for the opening and closing ceremonies, and medal presentations.