SBJ/September 17 - 23, 2001/Marketingsponsorship

INSIDE THE DEAL

THE DEAL:

Alltel signs sponsorship deal with the Big South Conference


ESTIMATED VALUE:

$100,000 - $125,000


LENGTH:

One year with option to renew



DEAL MAKERS:

Ric Crane, vice president marketing, Southeast region, Alltel; Kyle Kallander, commissioner, Big South Conference; James Companion, associate commissioner, Big South Conference


KEY ELEMENTS:

Status as official corporate partner of Big South Conference

Exclusivity in wireless and telecommunications category

Courtside signage during men's basketball championship game telecast on ESPN2

Minimum of one 30-second commercial during 15 regional telecasts of men's and women's basketball games plus in-broadcast billboards

Virtual advertising during broadcasts of five games. Alltel logo will be visible in basketball lane area for about one-quarter of game.

On-campus promotions at the six conference schools in North Carolina and South Carolina during key events like homecoming and back-to-school week.

Two 30-second radio spots during broadcasts of men's basketball games of six Carolina-based schools

In-arena signs during men's and women's basketball games of six Carolina-based schools

Banner ad on bigsouthsports.com

Signs at conference "Olympic sports" championship events

Title sponsor of the league's "Youth Day"

Use of Alltel services by conference office


BACKGROUND:

The Big South Conference comprises Birmingham-Southern College, Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, Elon, High Point, Liberty, UNC Asheville, Radford and Winthrop. Some elements of the deal include only the six schools based in North Carolina and South Carolina because the deal was funded by Alltel's Southeast regional office, which covers the Carolinas but not Virginia or Alabama. (Other conference sponsors include Advance Auto Parts, Delta Air Lines, Phillips 66, USPS Priority Mail, Pontiac, Gatorade, Hardee's, Le Bleu bottled water, Amtrak and Nabisco.)

Alltel has more than 10 million communications customers in 24 states and provides information services to telecommunications, financial and mortgage clients in 55 countries and territories. The company has an extensive portfolio of sports sponsorship deals, including those in auto racing, golf, college sports and the naming rights for the home of the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars.


ANALYSIS:

It's curious when a sponsor like Alltel, with many high-profile deals in its portfolio, signs a deal with a mid-major conference like the Big South. But this deal isn't just about maximizing exposure. The well-designed package will net new business for the company. The conference has a history of facilitating deals between conference sponsors and member schools. (As a result of its sponsorship deal, Le Bleu water is now on all conference campuses.) The deal smartly extends beyond the sports arena, and there's no doubt Alltel will benefit from its on-campus exposure during key school events like homecoming and new student week. There's tremendous value to a company in reaching young consumers when they're forming brand preferences, so Alltel will reap the value of this deal for many years.

Alan Friedman (alanf100@earthlink.net) is the founder of Team Marketing Report.

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Marketing and Sponsorship

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