SBJ/20101115/This Week's Issue

Nonexclusive auto category for NCAA?

Turner Sports and CBS have had discussions with automakers about creating a new nonexclusive category within the NCAA’s corporate partner program.

Each of the other sponsors in the NCAA’s corporate program enjoy category exclusivity, as did General Motors when it was an NCAA corporate champion, the highest level of sponsorship. The auto category has been vacant since GM exited in 2009.

But according to recent discussions between Turner, CBS and the NCAA, the automakers could become divided into different segments, such as the official SUV, official luxury car and official truck.

“There have been some conversations about nonexclusive rights that would be unique to certain categories,” said Chris Simko, senior vice president of sales and marketing for CBS Sports.

CBS has overseen the NCAA’s corporate partner program in the past and Turner Sports joined last spring when the two networks signed a 14-year, $10.8 billion media and marketing deal with the NCAA. IMG continues to serve as a sales agent for the NCAA’s program.

Bringing in multiple auto partners could be a method of generating more revenue than having a single partner. It’s not certain how the nonexclusive categories might be priced, but NCAA partnerships have sold for the high seven figures to low eight figures.

AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola are NCAA corporate champions, while the partner level includes Enterprise Rent-A-Car, The Hartford, Hershey’s, LG, Lowe’s, Kraft (Planters), State Farm and UPS.

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