SBD/November 29, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Belk Solicits Chick-fil-A For Advice On How To Be Effective Bowl Title Sponsor

Taking over for Meineke Car Care as title sponsor of this year's college football bowl game in Charlotte, department store chain Belk has begun "soliciting advice from Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A on how to be an effective bowl sponsor," according to Erik Spanberg of the CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL. So far, 40,000 tickets have been sold for the game on Dec. 27, and the participating schools have yet to be announced. Chick-fil-A President & COO Dan Cathy last week "spoke to Belk employees and told them how the bowl game became a catalyst for making the company a nationally recognized brand." Belk has 300 stores "spread across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic," and the store in recent months has "taken its first steps to make the Charlotte bowl more prominent." The company has launched a social-media campaign that "includes trips to the bowl game awarded to fans who send in pictures demonstrating their team loyalty." It has included the bowl "in newspaper and magazine ads." It is sharing a Twitter campaign with ESPN, and Belk has created a pregame concert "with Edwin McCain and Daughtry as headliners as part of a revamped fan festival." Current agreements with the ACC, Big East, Bank of America Stadium, Belk and ESPN "end after the 2013 game, but negotiations with all of the parties on an extension will start by next summer." Execs at Belk and Charlotte Collegiate Football "believe they can attract higher-ranked teams by upping the ante to secure a loftier position in the selection order for schools in the ACC and either the Big East or another conference that commits to the game for 2014 and beyond." Belk Exec VP/Sales Promotion, Marketing & E-Commerce Jon Pollack offered no specifics, but made it "clear the company would consider a large investment if it could lead to increased visibility" (CHARLOTTE BUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/25 issue).
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