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Students win case study competition at sport business conference

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Posted on Monday, May 1, 2023

Three Westminster College sports management students attended the 2023 Alliance for Sport Business (ASB) Conference in Columbus, Ohio, where they were selected as winners of a national case study competition.

In advance of forthcoming national events being held in Columbus—the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in January 2024 and the NCAA Division I Women’s Final Four in 2027—the Westminster teammates Tom Howell, Gia Francisco and Kim Cora were charged with creating innovative marketing strategies and action plans to generate revenue. A special emphasis was placed on incorporating women and minority-owned businesses into their study.

The team presented their case study to the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, a group that aims to bring some of the biggest events in sports to Columbus.

While attending the ASB conference, the students networked with industry leaders; toured the Nationwide Arena, the home of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets; and visited with Dr. Maura Murphy, senior associate athletic director of development for the Ohio State University Athletic Department. Additionally, the students attended professional workshops about pursuing graduate school, building networks, growing their brand and the value of experiential learning in sports sales.

Howell, senior business administration and marketing and professional sales major from Pittsburgh, was recently named the Sports Management Student of the Year in the Westminster College School of Business and has been accepted to graduate school at the University of Michigan. He attended the 2022 Michigan Sport Business Conference and competed in the 2020 Pittsburgh Business Analytics Case Study competition. He volunteered at the 2021 NCAA Division III Men’s Golf Championship in West Virginia and the 2022 NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship in Pittsburgh.

A dean’s list student, he also helped launch the Titans for the Kids student organization to raise awareness for the fight against pediatric cancer. He assisted the men’s basketball program, worked in Westminster’s Office of Alumni Affairs, served as an orientation student leader and wrote for the school newspaper, The Holcad.

Francisco, a sophomore marketing and professional sales and sports management major from Canfield, Ohio, competed in the 2022 Pennsylvania Sports Business Conference Case Study competition and attended the 2022 Michigan Sport Business Conference.  A dean’s list student, she is an all-conference member of the women’s tennis team, writes for the school newspaper and is active with her sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha.

Cora is a first-year student early childhood education and sports management double major from Wexford, Pa. A dean’s list student, she attended the Robert Morris University Sport Management Career Summit during the fall semester. She is a member of the women’s soccer team and Alpha Gamma Delta sorority.

The ASB Conference is annually ranked one of the premier programs in sports management. To learn more about it, visit

To learn more about Westminster’s Sports Management Program, go to

Above from left, Gia Francisco, Kim Cora and Tom Howell.