SBD/March 26, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

ESPN Announces Dr Pepper As First Championship Partner For CFP

Estimates put the Dr Pepper sponsorship at about $35M per year
ESPN yesterday announced Dr Pepper will be the first official Championship Partner and a presenting sponsor of the College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy. The Championship Partner designation represents the highest level of sponsorship and activation for the CFP. The announcement also confirms Dr Pepper's renewal as an SEC official sponsor and a long-term commitment to ESPN and the new SEC Network. Dr Pepper will continue its title sponsorship of the ACC Championship football game and presenting sponsorship of the Pac-12 Championship. The deal also includes IP rights and category exclusivity for all marketing and promotional activities involving the SEC and its championship events, as well as a premier position with "SEC Nation," the SEC Network's traveling campus-based pregame show during college football season (ESPN). ADWEEK's Anthony Crupi notes while financials were not disclosed, "conservative estimates put the investment at around what one might expect to pay for a title sponsorship -- about" $35M per season. Dr Pepper Exec VP/Marketing Jim Trebilcock said, "This is the biggest sponsorship deal we've done. This will be our version of the Super Bowl." Dr Pepper had sponsored the BCS Championship trophy since '10, "so its alliance with the CFP trophy provides a sort of through-line between the old regime and the new." ESPN President of Global Customer Marketing & Sales Ed Erhardt said, "They've been with us a long time. This isn't the case where a brand manager suddenly woke up and said, 'hey, I want to get in on this.'" Crupi notes the CFP trophy is "still in the design process," but it is expected to "be unveiled later this spring." ESPN in scheduling the playoff semifinals for New Year's Day will look to "own the categories that are natural endemics to the annual tabula rasa." Erhardt said, "Auto, financial planning, weight loss, tax preparation: this is a great way to position ourselves at the beginning of the year" (, 3/26).
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