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ACC FORMS ITS OWN PROPERTIES DIVISION WITH RAYCOM, JP SPORTS
Published November 2, 1994
The Atlantic Coast Conference, in conjunction with extending its men's basketball contract for four years with Raycom and Jefferson-Pilot Sports, has established ACC Properties -- "a free standing business unit to manage conference-coordinated marketing, advertising and promotional opportunities." ACC Properties' aim is to "offer the corporate community fully- integrated marketing programs and multimedia advertising and promotional opportunities on a year-round basis with the conference." Among the specific marketing areas ACC Properties will oversee: ACC Official Corporate Partner and Promotional Partner programs; licensing; championship merchandising; publications; and special events, including the 22 ACC championships. Raycom CEO Rick Ray: "This agreement represents a new direction for our company and a new look in sports marketing." Ray will sit on the ACC Properties Board, along with J-P Sports President Ed Hull, NC State AD Todd Turner and ACC Commissioner Gene Corrigan. In addition, the ACC announced Continental Airlines has signed on as the conference's fourth official corporate partner, joining Exxon, Hardee's and Discus Athletic. Yesterday, ACC Assistant Commissioner Rick Chryst spoke with THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY and provided more details on the conference's new venture. Excerpts follow: THE DAILY: What was the motivation behind this move? CHRYST: We've always been very cognizant of, and have valued, our television relationships. Television has made the ACC, so we have always had a very close relationship with Raycom and Jefferson Pilot. The events of this past year -- the CFA breaking up and a reconfiguration of how we were doing our football, combined with the extension of the basketball agreement -- provided the window to formalize our marketing into our relationship with Raycom and JP. THE DAILY: How will this affect the marketing efforts of the athletic departments of the ACC's schools? CHRYST: This relates to conference inventory. Our schools will maintain their marketing departments and we think this will facilitate -- at a minimum -- communication, and much more likely some incremental revenue streams to the institutions. But we are not necessarily out representing Carolina or Georgia Tech or Duke, because our schools have such varying philosophies in regard to marketing and corporate relationships. THE DAILY: So, it wouldn't prevent a Florida State or a Duke from signing a Michigan/Nike type deal? CHRYST: Not at all. And I think we will find that there may be certain product areas where it makes sense to work collectively -- but others, the shoe deals probably being the most visible, where the institution is going to drive that and we may be less likely to get involved. THE DAILY: Are there any other deals pending with potential corporate partners? CHRYST: We really haven't gotten much further down the strategic path at this point. But we are nearing the end of the basketball sales season and I think when that gets in place, we will be able to start our planning for '95 and '96. We are excited that we've got this type of structure to start down that road, because I think from the corporate perspective, it should take the number of phone calls from about thirty-eight to one. That is what we hope. Someone with this little slice of the ACC and that little slice of the ACC, hopefully it can become one integrated approach. THE DAILY: How will ACC Properties' approach differ from what other conferences are doing? CHRYST: The distinguishing feature we feel about this program is that syndicated media is the cornerstone of it. ... Television is so important to us, that it needs to be integrated. There have been opportunities in the past where the ACC and the athletic directors could have said, "Here, cut a deal just for your marketing rights." But often you would be in competition with your syndicator, and you could become an official corporate partner without ever spending a dime on the television. Those three-and-a-half hours on Saturday afternoon or the Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday nights in the winter -- that is where we market ourselves.