Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis



First Advisor

Matthew B. Shaner

Relational Format



Existing literature suggests that while many people, especially business owners, believe that their local economy suffers when the nearby sports team is not performing well, that is not the case. Student enrollment can take a dip when this occurs in college towns, but economic growth and prosperity is not dependent on a successful sports team. Studies have explored these effects in large cities, but less attention has been paid to the cities that would be more affected by the performance of sports teams, which is small college towns. This research explores the relationship between college football team success and small towns’ economic growth; this study takes a deeper focus into how college town business owners and managers make marketing decisions with this belief in mind. In Study 1, we identify common practices among small business owners by conducting one-on-one interviews with business owners and managers in Oxford, Mississippi. In Study 2, we explore those practices among ten NCAA Division I college towns with less than 65,000 in population. Results suggest that business managers who make decisions based on the performance of the football team see a positive effect on business performance. We also found that managers who focused their marketing decisions on new product or service offerings reported increased profitability compared to competitors. This paper concludes with recommendations for managers and opportunities for further research.

Included in

Marketing Commons



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