Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Maxwell Kahn

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Spring 2020

Research Project: Developing New Methods to Evaluate Professional Sports Expansion Franchise Success 

Project Description: The United States’ major American sports leagues are turning to franchise expansion to increase their presence in the economic and media markets along the West Coast, including the NHL’s expansion to Las Vegas for the 2017 season and future expansion to Seattle for 2021. Currently, no universal metric exists to determine whether or not expansion franchises were successful, and it’s becoming increasingly harder to convince leagues to expand when they can’t evaluate the likelihood of success for potential candidate cities. This research analyzed four major factors I identified that contribute to overall success for a team in any sport: financial prosperity, quality of national media coverage, public and local governmental support, and in-game accolades. 

What have you learned throughout your project?

Besides learning about the geographic and business factors that influence decision-making, the most important things I learned throughout my experience was about the research process. I learned how to write a proposal and a methodology, how a research topic and question evolves over time, the process of submitting to IRB and for funding, and most importantly, how to give and receive feedback about my project and others’. Conducting my own research project also allowed me to better critique and analyze other academic research as I continue in my graduate education.

What piece of advice would you give to future Mary Gates Scholarship applicants?

The biggest piece of advice I would offer to future MGH Research applicants is to pursue a research topic that you are truly passionate in! Having the opportunity as an undergraduate to conduct my own research allowed me to find a niche in a field topic area that wasn’t taught in undergraduate courses and inspired me to continue on with a graduate education that was otherwise not part of my plan. Even if you aren’t an expert in your field yet — that’s okay. Conducting your own research as an undergraduate allows you to build that framework and will help you continue to find research opportunities in your field in the future.