SBD/March 3, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Cover Me: Fans Able To Pick From Four Players For EA Sports "NCAA Football" Cover

Either Fairley, Murray, Ingram or Locker will grace "NCAA Football 12" cover
EA Sports will be conducting a consumer voting effort to select the cover athlete for its upcoming college football title, "NCAA Football 12," repeating a successful effort first used last year for "Madden NFL 11." Beginning tomorrow, users will be able to go to Facebook.com/easportsncaafootball and select between Auburn DT Nick Fairley, Alabama RB Mark Ingram, Washington QB Jake Locker and Oklahoma RB DeMarco Murray. Voting will close April 4 and the winning choice will be announced April 19 on ESPN2's "First Take." Much like the "Madden" effort, predictably yielding Saints QB Drew Brees as the ultimate cover choice, the latest move is designed to drive consumer awareness to the title, set for release this summer, and build buzz. "We do this on the gameplay side all the time, getting as much feedback as possible from fans. So now we're doing more of this on the marketing side, too. It's the right thing to do," said EA Sports Senior Product Marketing Manager Randy Chase. "We're looking to build off what happened last year with 'Madden,' but do it in even more of a grassroots way and incorporate more social networking." Coke Zero will be a key sponsor for the fan voting effort. EA Sports will additionally stage a booth at NCAA Bracket Town fan festival at the Final Four in Houston where it will hold on-site voting for the cover athlete (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). Fairley and Locker appeared on ESPN2's "First Take" this morning, and both made their case to be the next cover athlete by holding up campaign-like posters featuring their images asking fans to vote for them. Locker: "It's great that the fans get to be involved in this process and will be able to as fans of college football, determine who's on the cover for next year. So it's cool to make them a part of this process" ("First Take," ESPN2, 3/3).
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