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Compaq Computer has signed a five-year, $10M-plus sponsorship deal with the NCAA, "a rare venture by a computer industry player investing in sports and event sponsorships," according to Terry Lefton of BRANDWEEK. As the "Official Computer for the NCAA Championships," Compaq has bought ads across a package of NCAA media and "will have an initial promotion ready" for March Madness '98. Compaq's media package includes an NCAA football highlights show and the NCAA basketball playoffs radio network and championship game programs from Host. Compaq is the latest NCAA deal signed by marketer Host Communications, which has inked NCAA sponsorship pacts totalling more than $40M. Lefton adds that while IBM is the "only major tech giant heavily involved into sports," Compaq's current sports sponsorships "could start a gold-rush by property sellers." In addition, sources tell Lefton that Microsoft has purchased a $10M-plus NCAA Playoffs TV package on CBS (BRANDWEEK, 12/8 issue).