SBJ/January 15 - 21, 2001/This Weeks Issue

Naming rights for college league?

The Central Collegiate Hockey Association hired General Sports and Entertainment to develop a sponsorship package that will include rights to the conference name itself.

The move is part of a league initiative to expand its corporate partner list to include companies outside the hockey industry, said Commissioner Tom Anastos.

"We're at a point where we want to look at every possible revenue opportunity out there," Anastos said. "Our sport is one that doesn't have a national television package, so I think we have to try to find ways to be creative."

The conference's current corporate partner list includes Bauer-Nike Hockey and Perani Hockey World. The league also has a regional 20-game television package with Fox Sports Net Detroit.

The deal that General Sports is designing could include either a title sponsorship, which would put a sponsor's name in front of the conference name, or a presenting sponsorship, in which a company's name would come after the conference name, said Andy Appleby, CEO of General Sports.

To some in the collegiate community, the move may seem too commercial, said Marc Kidd, president of Host Communications Inc. But the "deal is not really much different from selling a title sponsorship to a conference championship game," Kidd said. "I think this is something that you're going to see a lot more of, especially in emerging sports and leagues."

The CCHA comprises 12 schools: Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Miami (Ohio), Alaska-Fairbanks, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Lake Superior State, Nebraska-Omaha, Northern Michigan and Western Michigan.

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