Aspire honored with SMA’s inaugural Mullin Award

November 29, 2017

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ATLANTA, GA – Chairman & Founder Dr. Bernie Mullin and The Aspire Sport Marketing Group LLC were recently recognized at the 2017 Sport Marketing Association’s (SMA) Conference in Boston.

The Mullin Award was named in honor of Dr. Bernie Mullin’s career as a professor and practitioner in the industry and his emphasis on building an education-first culture for all employees. This Award will be presented annually by the SMA to the organization who best exemplifies outstanding commitment to sport marketing education.

mullin award

Dr. Bernie Mullin accepting the inaugural Mullin Award at the SMA Conference in Boston, MA.

Aspire was presented with the inaugural Mullin Award for its on-going dedication to developing the future leaders in the sports industry.

“Bernie Mullin personifies the mission of the Sport Marketing Association (SMA) so it only makes sense to name an award in his honor. Although he has been one of the leaders in the sport marketing industry for decades, Dr. Mullin began his career in academia and he never forgot his roots. As such, SMA’s Mullin Award acknowledges an organization from the sport industry that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to sport marketing education,” said Joris Drayer, President of the Sport Marketing Association.

Now with The Aspire Group, Dr. Mullin and his team have done great work with students across the country and has created a partnership with SMA’s undergraduate case competition. However, rather than just sponsoring the event, The Aspire Group manages the entire event, from the creation of the case through the judging of the competition.  The Aspire Group has even hired a student who participated in the competition.

Through activities such as this, The Aspire Group has demonstrated that they are indeed the most deserving recipient of the inaugural Mullin Award. Congratulations to Dr. Mullin and his team!”

“I am very honored and humbled – first to have this award named the ‘Mullin Award’ is a huge recognition from my peers for which I am truly grateful,” said Dr. Bernie Mullin, Chairman & Founder of The Aspire Group. “Second, for Aspire to be the first recipient of this prestigious award – well, that’s just an even bigger honor.”

Aspire has been partners with the Association and sponsor of “The Aspire Group Case Study Bowl” at the annual SMA Conference for the past four years.  The Case Study Bowl is an undergraduate case study competition featuring teams from universities throughout the United States. Aspire leverages real-world sport properties to develop complex cases that dive into fan engagement, ticket marketing, ticket sales, and ticket service.


About the Sport Marketing Association

Founded in 2002, the Sport Marketing Association has led the effort in developing and expanding the body of knowledge in sport marketing by providing forums for professional interaction among practitioners, academics, and students dedicated to the sport marketing industry.

The SMA has over 350 active members, the majority of whom are university professors of sports marketing and management who conduct leading-edge research as well as educate and advise the hundreds of students who enter the sport industry each year. The annual conference also attracts undergraduate and graduate students seeking to network with industry professionals through the annual Career Fair, as well as industry leaders who attend and share their experiences and provide insights the membership can take back to their classrooms.

For more information, visit


About The Aspire Group Case Study Bowl

The case study is delivered to undergraduate teams the day before the start of the conference. Each team is given 24-36 hours to prepare a 20-minute recommendation presentation, followed by a 5-minute Q&A session with judges that are a mix between industry practitioners and academics. The top three teams present the following day to the featured property for the case study and Aspire representatives.

Over 150 students have competed in the case study bowl over the 4-year period. In 2017, the competition featured 11 teams.

Loras College is the reigning champion and has won four consecutive years.

For more information, visit


About The Aspire Group

The Aspire Group is a sports and entertainment marketing firm recognized by Forbes as one the Top 10 ‘Best Organizations To Work For In Sports.’ At Aspire, we do what we love and love what we do. Our skilled team is committed to developing long-term relationships and providing strategic expertise and resources that will take our partners to the next level. What unites Aspire’s 160+ employees and has produced one of the most unique cultures in sports and entertainment is our core values: Act with Integrity, Strive for Excellence, Achieve Through Teamwork, and Always Be Learning. As the fastest growing company in outsourced ticket sales, Aspire is always recruiting the future sports industry leaders. To apply or for more information, visit


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