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Inside the Deal
Published June 26, 2000
GMAC Financial Services Group becomes co-title sponsor of the GMAC Mobile Alabama Bowl.
Jerry Silverstein, president, GMAC Mobile Alabama Bowl; Dave Bender, director of marketing, GMAC Southeast Operations; Dick Lane, marketing manager, GMAC Southeast Operations; Bud Ratliff, executive director, GMAC Mobile Alabama Bowl
Co-title sponsorship of event for GMAC.
GMAC receives signs at the event, commercial spots on ESPN2 (which will televise the game), prominent mention in all bowl publications and programs, a hospitality suite and tents at the game.
GMAC will host the annual Mayor's Luncheon.
After successfully sponsoring the Mobile Alabama Bowl last year and hosting its Mayor's Luncheon, in which Pete Rose was the keynote speaker, GMAC decided to step up its involvement and become a co-title sponsor with the city of Mobile, Ala.
"It was a chance [last year] for us to make a hit with the consumer and our local area dealers," said Dick Lane, marketing manager for GMAC Southeast Operations. "The relationship developed well. Both sides were very pleased, so the bowl people offered [the sponsorship] to us."
The deal was finalized in May after approval from GMAC's Detroit corporate office.
"College students, graduates and their parents are our focal points," Lane said. "It's just a real good target market for us. Our dealers in particular enjoy sports. Plus, it's within our regional area."
The Dec. 20 game kicks off the 2000-01 college football bowl season of 25 NCAA-certified games. The Western Athletic Conference champion or its second selection faces off against the Conference USA second selection in this game.
GMAC has more than $1.2 billion of annual business in Alabama and nearly $14 billion in the Southeast region, which includes Tennessee, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, according to the company.
GMAC will use this event partly to reward employees and entertain clients, and partly to promote its various financial entities.
"Most people know us as the financial arm of the auto business, but we also have a mortgage company, GMAC Insurance, GMAC Home Services (which includes relocation services) and a commercial finance group," said Dave Bender, director of marketing for GMAC Southeast Operations. "We hope this fall during all of these events to advertise and spread the word about our family of GMAC financial products."
Attendance at the game last year totaled about 34,600. Organizers are expecting a sellout of more than 41,000 fans this year.
"GMAC is a monster to be a co-title sponsor," said Jerry Silverstein, president of the GMAC Mobile Alabama Bowl. "It's a multibillion-dollar operation. [Having a big title sponsor] is something that we didn't anticipate for five to 10 years. You have to prove what you can do. These guys liked what they saw from day one."
This arrangement will be successful if GMAC takes advantage of the television audience this game will receive. Although it is one of the smaller bowls, the event will be carried live on ESPN2 on Dec. 20.
The deal is also beneficial to GMAC because there are events planned throughout the year in support of the game and the sponsorship. This helps both GMAC and the bowl to keep their names before the public.