Blog of the GREITM resarch group, with a focus on generation and dissemination of knowledge in Innovation, IT Management and Entrepreneurship. 

27 April 2022 | Posted by Editorial Team GREITM


Interview with Marcela Garza, PhD student at GREITM, in the last stage of her research process.

Marcela Garza, a Ph.D. candidate, started her research process right after finishing her Master's degree in Technology Management at La Salle-URL. It was during the elaboration of her “TFM” in ICT Management, focused on Marketing, that Marcela had the chance to collaborate with Dr. David Riu, Director of the Department of Business and Technology who pushed her to start the Ph.D..

"When I started my PhD I met Dr. Chris Kennett, specialized in Sports Management, who is my thesis director. Having a background in event organization, we decided to focus on the field of technology applied to the sports industry," says Marcela.


The research process started with a literature review, during which they analyzed the possibility of doing a case study with Euroleague. In 2018, together with Dr. Chris Kennett, they pitched the thesis project to Euroleague staff and told them about a possible case study on their digital transformation process. Euroleague agreed and after several approaches, they decided to focus on the digital transformation in relation to their marketing strategies.  She analyzed how digitalization is affecting the different decisions of Euroleague in relation to the use of new technologies in marketing strategies.

"In 2018 I had the possibility to accompany them in the Final Four to Belgrade, being able to follow them from a few days before the event, entering the different meetings and press conferences. The weekend of the games I saw how the work was done, especially from the media area, having Full Access to the event."

The Euroliga case study is longitudinal: after the 2018 final, Marcela Garza, in 2019, followed them to Victoria in the other Final Four and this time she went with four students who helped her in the collection of surveys inside the stadium and in the fan zone. At the end of this event they managed to collect more than 400 surveys.

The 2020 Final Four was not held because of COVID-19, while in 2021 it was held behind closed doors. However, in 2021 she had the possibility to do a round of interviews with Euroleague staff and follow the whole event on the different platforms and social networks.

In June 2022 the idea is to conduct other interviews and close the data collection process, which will be followed by the analysis process.


"The presentation of my research is a process that is not yet finished, I have had the opportunity to publish a literature review with Dr. Chris Kennett. It’s an article that talks about the impact of technology on sponsorship strategies and was published in the Journal Annals of Applied Sport Science." In the article, the authors propose a research agenda on the digitization of sponsorship strategies.

In addition, they had the opportunity to publish a paper at the Marketing Identity conference held in Slovakia in November 2021. This article analyzed the digital strategy that the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four adopted in 2021 to attract fans to a digital event, being the competition behind closed doors. To give exposure to its sponsors, a comparison was made with the results obtained in the surveys conducted in the 2019 Final Four.

Another paper on digital transformation in Euroleague is already accepted and Marcela will present it to EMAC, the most important marketing conference in Europe, in May 2022.


"I started with the idea of doing a monograph, but throughout the second year we decided to do it by compendium. In these years we have collected data and because of this we have done a couple of conference papers, published another one in an indexed journal and with the idea of publishing this case study in another journal to form this compendium."

Marcela considers research an iterative work and believes that, as Ph.D students, you can plan where you want to go and the results you want to obtain. However, you have to deal with new literature and changes in the world.

"In our case came the COVID-19 pandemic, then the whole sporting events industry had to look for solutions and in this case it was an opportunity for us to study technology and its use. You have to be open to change, always have an open mind."

Marcela is currently teaching the Major Sports Events Management course and we hope that she will soon complete her work with the presentation of her research. We are proud to share her journey. She can be contacted at

Authors: GREITM Editorial Team


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