Case Studies –

Add a real-life perspective to business education.

A large part of the teaching at the Center for Sports and Management takes place through the case study method of the Harvard Business School (HBS) in Boston/USA. In recent years, the CSM team has written several case studies in collaboration with HBS, which have since been used in higher education all over the world.

NBA Superstar Dirk Nowitzki was unsure whether the 2018-19 season would be his last as an NBA player. He had not faced such uncertainty since 1998, when he had navigated a difficult decision regarding the timing of his move to the NBA. He also did not know what he would do when he ultimately retired, as playing basketball was all he had known for his entire adult life. His foundation in Dallas and in Germany provided grant money and strategic support to youth programs; he could become more directly involved in the foundation’s work. The Dallas Mavericks had made it clear that they would be open to Nowitzki transitioning to a role as some type of executive or coach, helping the Mavericks make decisions and/or develop their young players. Nowitzki was also intrigued by the idea of becoming an independent mentor for young, amateur players; after all, his mentor, Holger Geschwindner, had been instrumental in his development, and he liked working with young people. Keeping his various options in mind, how should Nowitzki plan for the next phase of his life and career?

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After a long and snowy day in January 2017, Christian Seifert left the annual New Year reception of the Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He had just reported the league’s record revenues of the past year, highlighting the new national media rights contract, which was the second highest national broadcasting deal of a footballa league worldwide. As CEO of the DFL—the governing body of the German Bundesligab—Seifert had also been engaged in active discussions with several representatives of Germany’s top football clubs during the day, internationalization being the overarching topic.

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On a sunny day in mid-March 2018, Tim Reichert, Chief Gaming Officer at FC Schalke 04, met with Managing Board member Alexander Jobst (Marketing) for a strategy meeting to make fundamental decisions about the future of FC Schalke 04’s eSports activities. They were in a generally positive mood. The club’s football team was well positioned in the Bundesliga and their League of Legends (LoL) team recently returned to the first division, i.e. the European LoL Championship Series (EU LCS).

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In 2015, German football club Bayern Munich considered how to enter the Chinese market. Should it build its own infrastructure or rely on third-party partnerships to reach this massive football fan base? Supported by Prof. Dr. Sascha L. Schmidt from the Center for Sports and Management in Düsseldorf, Harvard Business School has looked more closely at this question.

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Teaching Note

After years of ups and downs, Germany won its fourth World Cup Championship in 2014. This case examines the national team's recent history and the changes they made to set themselves up for success.

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TSG Hoffenheim - Football in the Age of Analytics

In 2015, Dietmar Hopp, owner of Germany's Bundesliga football team TSG Hoffenheim and co-founder of the global enterprise software company SAP, was considering how to ensure long-term sustainability and competitiveness for TSG Hoffenheim. He wondered if the "moneyball" approach-when a smaller team competed with wealthier teams by using statistical analysis to buy undervalued assets and sell overvalued assets-could work in football and if investments in technology could lead the team to financial independence.

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