SBJ/September 30 - October 6, 2002/This Weeks Issue

Host shrinks NCAA role

Host Communications will no longer be the sponsorship sales agent for the NCAA.

In an agreement reached last week between Host and CBS Sports, CBS said it will assume all corporate partner marketing sales and servicing responsibilities for the NCAA.

CBS, which holds NCAA television and marketing rights under its new 11-year agreement with the association, which began Sept. 1, subcontracted marketing rights to Host for $575 million for the duration of the deal. The first year of the deal called for $40 million in payments, $10 million of which was due Sept. 1. No one on either side would say whether Host was able to make that payment.

Under the new agreement reached late last week and approved by the NCAA, Host will continue under a two-year deal to administer the NCAA's domestic and international licensing programs, publication of NCAA championship game programs and production of Hoop City fan fests at the men's and women's Final Fours.

CBS, Host and NCAA officials were not immediately available to comment on why the agreement had changed.

Industry sources, however, said that the original agreement, which had CBS and Host jointly selling marketing rights and media for the NCAA, was too complicated. As of press time, only one corporate partner, Coca-Cola, had been signed under the original CBS-Host arrangement.

"With two companies selling the same thing, there becomes a point where lack of communication can lead to a lot of he-said, she-said type conversations," said one source.

The changed agreement marks an end to Host's long-standing relationship with the NCAA as its sponsorship sales arm.

Prior to the $575 million CBS/Host deal, Host had contracted directly with the NCAA for marketing rights. Host has had a relationship with the NCAA since 1975 and established the corporate partner program for the NCAA in the early 1980s.

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