SBJ/September 5-11, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

BMW bringing preferred parking program to Big Ten

Fans arriving to this season’s inaugural Big Ten football championship game in a BMW will have their own reserved parking close to Lucas Oil Stadium.

Through a new partnership created with Big Ten Sports Properties that will make BMW the conference’s official luxury automobile, the German automaker will establish a preferred parking program at many of the conference’s championship events. The program is similar to BMW’s preferred parking for customers at golf tournaments on the PGA and European tours.

The 2011-12 agreement will cover football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, and Olympic sports. BMW is still working on deciding which events it will activate against.

BMW signage also will appear in Big Ten stadiums and arenas where the conference has inventory. BMW expects to use scoreboard messaging and promotions at the football championship on Dec. 3 in Indianapolis. One of the promotions is expected to be through text messaging so that BMW can collect leads for potential new consumers.

Some auto brands have activated with preferred parking programs in the professional ranks, but this is the first time an auto partner has brought this program to the Big Ten. The conference previously partnered with Infiniti, which left last year when it joined the NCAA’s Corporate Partner program.

“This will be an innovative way for BMW to connect with alumni and other fans in a VIP type of program,” said Scott Bailey, general manager of Big Ten Sports Properties. “BMW owners will be notified by email, social media or other correspondence that this is available to them.”

Big Ten Sports Properties is managed by Learfield Sports, which sold the BMW sponsorship. Terms of the arrangement were not available, but conference deals typically range from the low six figures to high six figures, depending on the assets.

BMW’s deal also includes a commitment to buy advertising on the Big Ten Network for football and basketball broadcasts.

Any ad buys on Fox’s broadcast of the conference championship game would have to be a separate conversation.

Fox owns the rights to the championship game broadcast and any TV-visible signage, such as goal post nets. Big Ten Sports Properties has the rights to promotions, scoreboard messaging, on-field promotions and the national radio broadcast.

Dr Pepper, title sponsor of the championship game in the ACC and the SEC’s Fanfare, has signed on as presenting sponsor of the Big Ten’s championship game fan fest through Big Ten Sports Properties as well.

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