SBD/November 16, 2010/Marketing And Sponsorship

Talks Underway To Develop Nonexclusive NCAA Auto Sponsorship

NCAA Tournament Could Feature Different Auto Sponsors For SUVs, Trucks, Luxury Cars

Turner Sports and CBS "have had discussions with automakers about creating a new nonexclusive category within the NCAA's corporate partner program," according to Michael Smith of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Per the discussions, the automakers "could become divided into different segments, such as the official SUV, official luxury car and official truck." Each of the other sponsors in the NCAA's corporate partner program "enjoy category exclusivity, as did General Motors when it was an NCAA corporate champion." Smith notes the auto category "has been vacant since GM exited" in '09 (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/15 issue).

DEVELOPING A GAMEPLAN: Turner and CBS are broadcasting the NCAA men's basketball tournament together for the first time this season, and CBS Sports Senior VP/Sales & Marketing Chris Simko said some observers "just can't believe that two organizations can come together and work this closely in such a short amount of time" on ad sales. Simko: "Going into the marketplace together, there was the potential to have some hiccups along the way. It's the most unique thing that's gone on at CBS or any major media company I've come in contact with." But he added, "If there is a challenge, it's the perception about 'What's Turner's role? What's CBS's role? Which one do I speak with?' ... We've just had to get everyone familiar and comfortable with the process." SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Smith notes Turner and CBS "decide who takes the lead on certain calls by deciding who has the better contacts." Turner Senior VP/Partnerships & Branded Programming Will Funk: "The point person on a call depends on who has more in-depth knowledge of the client. There are relationships that we already have with clients, and CBS has its own set of relationships. In some cases, we go jointly to meet with clients" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/15 issue).

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