SBJ/Dec. 6-12, 2010/This Week's Issue

‘Big Chill’ a hot seller for UM, IMG College


Arby's is top sponsor for the game at Michigan

The University of Michigan and Michigan State, the two schools that originated the sensation of big-time outdoor hockey matches, reunite Saturday for the first hockey event in Michigan Stadium.

“The Big Chill in the Big House,” as it’s been labeled, has been a marketing bonanza for the Wolverines’ marketing partner, IMG College, which has sold a presenting sponsorship to Arby’s and supporting deals to Michigan Healthcare, Buick, Delta, Meijer and Caesars Windsor Hotel and Casino. At least 11 sponsors are paying to be a part of the event, which has been in the works since January.

The sponsorship and licensing revenue for the stand-alone event is expected to reach $500,000 to $600,000, and Arby’s presenting sponsorship is believed to cost around $100,000, industry sources say.

Nearly 40 companies have been licensed through Michigan’s licensing agent, Collegiate Licensing Co., to produce “Big Chill” merchandise with event logos, 19 of which are apparel and 18 non-apparel. Adidas, Michigan’s equipment and apparel partner, also has produced special throwback jerseys for the Wolverines to wear, which are being sold online at the school’s official site,, and on campus.

A sellout crowd of more than 111,000 is expected and Guinness World Records officials will be on hand to make the attendance record for an outdoor hockey game official.

The Wolverines and Spartans began the outdoor series in 2001 when 74,544 fans watched at Spartan Stadium.

The event marks the first time sponsors have had a presence inside the iconic stadium, which does not offer signage opportunities for companies during the football season.

“We want to be respectful of the tradition, but in this evolving landscape of integrated sponsorship packages, this is a unique opportunity in the Big House,” said Lawton Logan, IMG College’s senior vice president of collegiate properties. “This is access to a place that sponsors traditionally haven’t been able to sniff, so we’ve looked at some creative ways to use this as a sponsorship platform.”

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