Culp said that he'd participated in case competitions before, but that analyzing a leading sports product presented a unique challenge. Ryder agreed, emphasizing that he and his teammates benefitted from a variety of backgrounds and viewpoints.
"Our process was basically getting together in a conference room and working through some of the data, trying to divide and conquer some of the analysis," Ryder said. "And then regrouping and trying to do that again couple times."
Once they'd reached their conclusions about how to improve marketing and profitability for MLB.TV, which has provided users with more than 1.5 billion live game streams since launching in 2002 and saw 40 percent growth in subscribers during the 2012 season, it was off to Boston to present the findings.
Judges selected the Tuck submission as the winner over finalists from the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and the Columbia School of Business based on business feasibility, technical feasibility, creativity, originality and presentation.
Although the three Booth students are each pursuing post-MBA plans outside of the sports world, they were grateful for some experience in the field.
"I like the way that sports is evolving and that other people are using quantitative techniques," Culp said. "This was more a way for me to stretch my brain outside of school than something I necessarily want to use to move into a career in sports, although I would never rule one out."
Like their graduate-level counterparts, Hoffman, MacMurray and Petras spent several late nights hashing out strategies to improve the in-stadium experience for fans with At The Ballpark.
"We knew that it would be competitive," MacMurray said. "So we wanted to come up with a creative and out-of-the-box idea. We were pretty passionate on the subject, so we had some pretty fun meetings putting the submission together."
Ultimately, the judges decided their case was the strongest in the undergraduate track's first year. Teams from Laurentian University and Ohio University placed second and third, respectively.
"We worked on this for so long and only knew our ideas, so it was nice to see what other people thought about the case, said Hoffman. "And it was thought provoking to see new ideas and different perspectives some teams had taken on the case."