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SBD/July 26, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship
Learfield Not Currently Looking To Restructure Penn State Contract Amid Sanctions
Published July 26, 2012
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STATE FARM SHIFTED INVENTORY: The most immediate fallout from the NCAA’s penalties this week was State Farm’s decision to pull its advertising out of PSU football. Brown said it was incorrect to say that State Farm dropped its sponsorship. Instead, the insurance giant shifted its inventory out of football to other sports. But as long as fans continue to fill Beaver Stadium on Saturdays, Brown said Learfield will have a legitimate product to market. The Nittany Lions’ attendance has dropped over the past three seasons from an average of 107,008 in '09 to 104,234 in '10, and 101,427 last season, none of which can be attributed to the Sandusky scandal. But Brown said he expects fans and alumni to rally around the program now, even as the football team moves into an era of reduced scholarships and bowl bans. “Can they build a team that will be successful and continue to attract a large audience? I don’t know,” Brown said. “That’s just something that can’t be answered right now. But I can tell you that we’re in constant contact with Penn State and we’re always talking. If something needs to change, we’ll figure it out. We’re partners with Penn State and we’ll deal fairly with them, just as they’ve always dealt fairly with us.” Brown said that Learfield’s new ownership group will not impact the way the company handles the situation. L.A.-based Shamrock Capital Advisors bought a majority share of Learfield in December, after the Sandusky scandal already had broken, and has been aware of the developments.