UCCS Sport Management Student Finds Success in National Competition

Sport management student Courtney Bessell at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia, ready to compete in the National Collegiate Sport Sales Competition.

When UCCS College of Business senior Courtney Bessell was first told about the National Collegiate Sport Sales Competition (NCSSC), she had no idea how impactful it would be for her.

Sport Management Instructor Jay Martyn was the one to first suggest Bessel sign up for the NCSSC.

“He felt I would do well and told me it would be a great resume builder and networking opportunity,” Bessell said. “He could not have been more right.”

The NCSSC is facilitated by Baylor University and was hosted by the Atlanta Hawks. The national competition took place throughout the academic year, with the initial round in the fall and the finals in the spring. The first round takes place virtually over Zoom. Students or recent graduates are given a seller and buyer description, then have to make a sales pitch to one of the sports sales professionals serving as judges for the competition. Students were granted points for how well they achieved objectives like building rapport, delivering an agenda statement, asking probing questions, establishing a sales process, their ability to overcome objections and make an “ask,” as well as maintaining integrity.

After all student scores were assessed and submitted, the competitors were ranked and the top 64 were invited to Atlanta for the finals, which included a championship-style elimination bracket. Bessell, who made the cut as one of the 64 finalists, soon found herself in Atlanta, Georgia at the impressive State Farm Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks NBA franchise. The two-day NCSSC championship also included holistic Sport Management experience such as networking opportunities, panel discussions, speakers and tickets to a Hawks game.

For the championship round, finalists were given a new set of customer information and competed against one another until the ultimate winner was decided. Bessell placed sixth overall and was recognized in the awards ceremony where she was gifted a Hawks basketball jersey, the front of which stated her placement in the competition.

Courtney Bessell (sixth from the left) standing with fellow student competitors, showing off her jersey and placement in the National Collegiate Sport Sales Competition.

Highlights of Bessell’s adventure in Atlanta included more than just the sales competition.

“Getting to travel and having a glimpse of what life would be like as a ticket sales representative for a major team was one of my favorite parts,” she said. “I also enjoyed touring the State Farm Arena because I’m interested in sports facilities. The arena is very new and has so many impressive state-of-the-art elements.”

Overall, Bessell is thankful that she was able to participate in this unique experience. She gained several meaningful contacts and is already seeing the benefit of networking with others in the industry. She’s also happy to report that the competition provided her with multiple interviews and job opportunities and attested, “It’s a great way for anyone interested in sport to get their foot in the door.”

Bessell credits the UCCS Sport Management Program for the invaluable experiences she’s received.

“I think this program is the best there is and I’m so grateful for the vast experiences it offers,” she said. “I feel prepared to enter the professional world because of this program and because of the relationships I’ve built. With smaller class sizes and personal relationships with faculty, my education has been much more hands-on compared to a larger university. The professors are knowledgeable and get to know their students well. I wouldn’t trade my education with this program for any other in the country.”

About the College of Business

The UCCS College of Business was established in 1965 and has more than 1,300 undergraduates and 350 MBA students. The College of Business and Administration awards the Bachelor of Science in Business and Bachelor of Innovation degrees. The Graduate School of Business Administration awards the Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Accounting and Executive Doctor of Business Administration degrees. More than 10,000 alumni of the College of Business live and work around the world. For more information, visit business.uccs.edu.