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HOST MARRIOTT BECOMES NCAA PARTNER THROUGH AMEX UNDERWRITING
Published September 10, 1997
Host Marriott is "close to signing as official sponsor of the NCAA, a million-dollar a year deal that's actually being paid" for by fellow NCAA sponsor AmEx, according to Terry Lefton of BRANDWEEK. AmEx is using dollars "earmarked for co-op marketing to underwrite the first year" of the deal, but with AmEx's NCAA deal in its final year "it is unclear whether Marriott's affiliation will last beyond the first year." Lefton's sources say the "real value" for Host Marriott will be "trying to tie in all their properties from Ritz Carlton to Fairfield Inns for teams that travel by bus." Marriott's in-house event group will also run the NCAA's Final Four Fan Fest. One AmEx agency source told Lefton that "renewing [its own NCAA deal] is a low priority on their shopping list" (BRANDWEEK, 9/8 issue).