Written by Kyle Anderson, assistant dean for academic programs Indianapolis and faculty chair of the Evening MBA Program
Professional volleyball is coming to Indianapolis next year, and the Kelley Evening MBA program is helping the team get launched. In November, Kelley students worked with Indy Pro Volleyball as part of the Kelley Evening MBA Case Competition. Students had one week to work with the start-up franchise, learning more about the vision and goals of the team, in order to make recommendations about the launch strategy and marketing strategy for the new team.
Indy Pro Volleyball co-owners Jim Schumacher and Don Hutchinson shared their vision for the franchise, as well as the challenges associated with launching a new team in a new league. They asked the Kelley MBA teams to help develop a marketing and launch plan to help drive awareness and team ticket sales. As part of the recommendations, students were asked to identify a name and branding for the new team.
Twelve student teams presented their recommendations to Kelley faculty, alumni, and the team’s ownership. While only one team was crowned champion, there were many great ideas presented.
In January, Indy Pro Volleyball announced their team and logo design as the Indy Ignite.
- The Indy Ignite logo features an emblem of a blazing torch with a volleyball alight in the center of the flames. This iconography is a tribute to the golden torch on Indiana’s state flag, which represents liberty, enlightenment and their far-reaching impact on the world around us.
- The torch also harkens back to Indy’s iconic statue of Victory—a bronze sculpture that stands atop the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the very heart of Indianapolis. From her vantage point, Victory holds her torch high above the city, serving as a constant reminder of the courage it takes to fight for progress.
Many of the themes of the team launch were developed by the Kelley teams. Team 12 (Paul Akhimien, Vikram Deshmukh, Tylar McNulty, Olivia R., and Sivakumar Vinayagam) recommended the Ignite name, and the idea to connect to the Indiana flag:
Team 2 (Shawnna Ajeigbe, Jayia Alexander, Luis De Cristofaro, P.E., Todd Deloney Jr., Seth Luke) recommended a team name of the Indy Blaze, with a mocked up logo that has similar design and thematic elements as the final choice:
The winning team, Team 9 (Annie Ghosh, PhD, Tonya Gilbert, Catherine Gillespie, Andrew Itsede LL.B (JD), B.L, LL.M, Jacob Ivey, Joshua Posley), chose a different theme for their presentation. The Indy Roar indicates the power of the team, the noise of the crowd, all with a nod to Indy’s racing history and the roar of the engines.
While their logo or team name were not chosen, Team 9 hoisted the Lady Victory trophy based on the strengths of their recommendations for the launch strategy.
Congratulations to all of our students in the November 2023 Evening MBA Cohort for making a difference on the Indianapolis sports scene! And congratulations to the Indy Ignite on their launch. We look forward to watching them become another great Indianapolis sports team.